Rackspace developer+ Program: For Developers, By Developers

I’m a developer – even if lately I spend more of my time in something other than a text editor. My amazing team and I – along with Rackers throughout the organization – focus on something called “Developer Experience.”

My friend and computer sciences PhD candidate Pamela Fox says Developer Experience is “the sum of all interactions and events, both positive and negative, between a developer and a library, tool, or API.”

That’s everything from signup, to documentation, to how an API is constructed, to if a backend system or call violates the principle of least astonishment. Getting it right is hard; getting it perfect is impossible. But like the related product design discipline of User Experience, all of us in the industry try our best and iterate over and over.

When Lew Moorman last year unveiled our “Fanatical Support For Your Code” – a new level of support created to help developers build atop our cloud – he significantly altered the course of my passions and focus, and those of Rackers across the company.

So when it came to time for Rackspace to create an offering focused on and made for developers, we didn’t want to give away garbage. It couldn’t be rate limited, or have a crummy amount of RAM. It couldn’t be something that bans you from fully experiencing a robust, Open Source powered platform. We wanted to build something that we – as developers – could get behind. Something that could help drive our continuing mission to completely overhaul the Developer Experience of Rackspace’s offerings.

We built developer+™, a monthly infrastructure credit and more that, combined with our new competitive infrastructure prices, helps provide developers the core of almost any scalable cloud application you want to build.

This infrastructure credit lasts for a full year after you sign up for a Rackspace account. That year is your window to explore our platform – to incubate your ideas. You get total access to our platform. All you pay for is the infrastructure you consume that goes above the credit, at industry competitive prices.

Why a credit and not something else? Because Rackspace doesn’t want to dictate what you do with your infrastructure. The credit is enough for you to spin up a single 1GB Performance Cloud Server with a Cloud Load Balancer, Backup, Storage and 40-plus gigabytes of Cloud Files; or two 1GB Performance Cloud Servers with a Load Balancer and some Cloud Block Storage. Want one Performance Cloud Server and almost a terabyte of Cloud Files? Want to throw up a CoreOS and Docker stack in multiple data centers? Done. You make the call and decide what you need to build and scale your idea.

Of course, we’re always here to help you make that decision, and to help you build something awesome on top of it. It wouldn’t be Rackspace without Fanatical Support®, but we know that developer support has to go deeper, and is fundamentally different in delivery than our traditional offerings.

Customers using the developer+ tier can reach a seasoned Rackspace software developer to help them answer questions – and we’ll watch those places you all frequent: IRC (#rackspace on freenode), StackOverflow, and more. We want to accelerate your ideas and help you build on top of the cloud.

In addition to the credit and the developer-to-developer support, we give you access to the same great no-cost offerings we make available to all of our customers: Cloud Monitoring, Cloud DNS, Cloud Networks, Orchestration and Auto Scale, plus access to services like ObjectRocket, Mailgun and the OnMetal. It’s the developer program that we as developers wanted.

The most exciting part of developer+ for Rackspace is the feedback we can gather. We believe true innovation comes from really listening to our customers and putting in the hard work to deliver what you need. This is never more true than with developers, who drive the industry forward and pursue every solution to perennial problems. That’s why we’re dedicated to being fully transparent – no smoke-and-mirrors, no hidden costs or complex product pricing, no contracts locking you in.

In exchange, we want you to be candid with us about what you love and what you don’t when it comes to Rackspace. We obviously want to hear the good news, but we’re ready to listen and act on criticism, too. This means we will reach out to you, via a short, plain text email, and regularly ask you for that candid feedback. Don’t hold back. We will also add a developer-focused mailing list where you can interact with other Rackspace developers and engineers, including other developers in the program.

Armed with these tools, developers now have the option to build the robust, complete application – web or otherwise – you desire while helping to make Rackspace better for everyone.

We even back this developer+ program with a service level agreement.

We feel this is the developer tier done (mostly) right. Why (mostly)? Easy – it’s not perfect. And just like our focus on continuously improving our Developer Experience (check out our new getting started guides on the improved developer.rackspace.com, for example) we will tune, adjust, add to and improve it based on your usage and feedback.

And if you hate it? Blame me! Otherwise, thank the enormous group of Rackers who helped make this real and who continually challenge our perceptions of the market and of our Developer Experience.

This is a step: sign up and join us!

Jesse Noller is a core developer and advocate of the Python language. Additionally he is a member, director, and officer of the Python Software Foundation as well as Python community organizer and heavily involved in PyCon US. He works for Rackspace as a Developer & Community Advocate, assisting in Rackspace's journey to becoming an even more developer focused and open community. You can find him on Twitter @jessenoller



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