Microsoft Azure: Now with Pet Insurance from Rackspace

Rackspace now offers pet insurance.

No, not for your favorite puggle who sleeps on the couch all day long. I mean you can now get insurance for those fluffy, slobbery and persistent production workloads running on Azure compute, and feel comfortable sleeping at night.

As you may know, Rackspace now offers Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure. This game changing offering brings managed services to the Azure platform, allowing you to confidently transition from your datacenter to the cloud.

Pets vs. Cattle

Before we dive into specifics, I need to cover some background on pets vs. cattle, since that’s key to understanding how exciting this offering really is.

A pet is a virtual machine that you care about specifically. It might be a single VM running your favorite packaged application or it might be several VMs combining to create a solution like SharePoint. With either of these type of scenarios you need the VM to be monitored, patched, protected from viruses, backed up — and you need a human to call 24×7 if the VM gets sick.

If it does, you fix it — you pull out all of the stops to save its life. You don’t spin the VM up and down for off hours or to burst. You create them and the leave them running for years. A great example is the 20+ million Windows 2003 servers that are still running. Those are all pets.

Cattle refers to virtual machines that are transient in nature. These are VMs that are spun up and down based on demand. If these VMs have problems, they’re deleted and new VMs are created in their place. They’re a common component in applications that were written in a “cloud first” model and are commonly running Linux.

This is predominately what people think of when they talk about public cloud use. A great example is ecommerce websites. Online retailers use cattle to scale those websites. On Black Friday they programmatically (devops) add hundreds of cattle to deal with the spike, and in the middle of January they scale down all of those VMs. They don’t care what happens to a specific VM, so they don’t have backups, monitoring, antivirus, etc. If one of those VMs gets sick, you programmatically delete it and programmatically deploy a new one. If the system is architected correctly, you literally will not even know it happened.

Today Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure is 100 percent focused on your pets! But fear not, cattle lovers — we have you on our roadmap.

Why are we focused on pets?

Because we all love our pets! But seriously, we’re focused on pets because to this point, the public cloud has been only a green field for cattle — and no matter how much you wanted to move your pets to the public cloud, you couldn’t do it without help. We created Managed Cloud to give you that help. Why risk do-it-yourself when we can do-it-together?

Today we take the expertise we’ve built managing thousands of servers at Rackspace and apply it to Microsoft Azure.

What is Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure?

It’s an enabler. Here at Rackspace, we pride ourselves on taking the strain of daily infrastructure management off your plate, so you can focus your IT resources on your business — and not keeping the lights on for a server. Now, for a virtual machine running in Azure, Rackspace provides:

  • Planning and architectural guidance
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting VM event logs and status
  • Patching support
  • Configuring, scheduling and monitoring of backups
  • Support for Windows Server 2008, 2012 and CentOS

Additionally, we include support for other portions of Azure Compute including:

  • Azure Active Directory
  • Azure Backups
  • Azure Networks
  • Azure Storage
  • Azure Traffic Manager
  • Azure Express Route

Even better, with Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure, we offer Rackspace’s application support on those VMs. First out of the gate, our SQL DBA Services team will be available to provide their expertise for your databases, whether they’re running on an Azure VM or if you’re consuming Azure database as a service.

What else can I do with this offering?

I am glad you asked. My favorite answer to this question is hybrid cloud. I have been a Microsoft guy my entire professional career, so like the route my dog wants to take every night on his/her walk, I have a good feel for the journey in front of you.

I bet it goes something like this:

You want to move everything out of your datacenter and into the public cloud, but you don’t can’t just lift and shift tomorrow — you need to move to the cloud at your pace. For more information on that, download our white paper, “The Cloud at Your Pace.”

The great news is, now we can really help you. We can combine our Microsoft Cloud Platform (private cloud) solution and connect it to your Azure subscription (public cloud) via VPN or ExpressRoute to create a hybrid cloud. And it’s all backed, as always, by the power of Fanatical Support. With a hybrid cloud in place, you can then move your workloads along the path to a total public cloud solution.

Another valuable offering is mix and match supported VMs in your Azure subscription. Support charges are based only on the infrastructure you’ve elected to get Fanatical Support for — and that allows you to manage the number of notifications you get and your monthly bill. That means test/dev scenarios and production workloads can happily co-exist in your account on Azure.

After all, it just wouldn’t be fair to charge for support on VMs that you’re doing cattle activities with. You only want support for pets — and we get that.

If you’d like to learn more about the offering, or have specific workloads in mind, please check out www.rackspace.com/azure then give us a call so we can help you on your path to cloud. Your virtual pets will thank you.

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