The Fanatical Faces of Rackspace Private Cloud: Christian Foster

As one of the pillars of hybrid cloud, Rackspace Private Cloud started with a mission to build and operate private clouds powered by OpenStack in our data center, in a colocation facility or in a customer’s data center. In this weekly blog series, we’ll profile some of the key members of the Rackspace Private Cloud team to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of a team that’s helping to define and deliver the future of private and hybrid clouds.

Born and raised in Austin, Christian Foster joined Rackspace earlier this year as the Director of Private Cloud Marketing. During our last team outing to Austin’s TopGolf driving range, we realized that in addition to being a great manager, he’s also a super competitive golf ninja. When he’s not kicking butt on the golf course, he spends his free time working out and hanging out with his wife and two kids. I sat down with Christian to learn more about his journey to Rackspace and his thoughts on the future of cloud.

Tell me about your journey to cloud computing.
I’ve always had a passion for technology and computing since childhood. I graduated with an MIS degree in the late 90s and spent the last 15 years in the tech industry. I rode the PC and enterprise computing wave and now have the opportunity to be part of the cloud revolution.

How did you end up at Rackspace? 
I had a previous working relationship with both the “Godfather of OpenStack” (Jim Curry) and “the Professor” (Klee Kleber).  I stayed up to date on what Rackspace was doing out of curiosity, and Lanham’s 2012 Letter to Shareholders really moved me. In it, he talked about the servant’s mentality and how Rackspace would invest in customer loyalty for the long-term even if it creates a negative impact to our short-term results. I knew that once Rackspace founded OpenStack, I had a once-in-a–lifetime chance to be on the cutting edge of a complete technological revolution (hybrid cloud). The key decision for my move to Rackspace was that I wanted to be proud to tell others where I worked.

What do you love most about Rackspace?
The fact that we put customer loyalty above all — even it is means sacrificing short-term results.

What are the most important traits and skills you look for when bringing on new team members?
I look for self-starters; those with a pro-active drive and passion for the role.

What makes Rackspace Private Cloud so exciting to you?
I really enjoy being a part of an incubated business unit. It feels like a startup within a billion-dollar company. We get to work with cutting-edge technology that is revolutionizing computing, and I am excited to have the opportunity to shape private and hybrid cloud given the early stage it is in.

Where do you see OpenStack and private cloud in five years?
In five years, OpenStack will be more than twice as old as it is today. Undoubtedly, it will have greatly matured and should have cutting-edge features that make it THE choice for cloud computing.  Rackspace’s hybrid cloud should be humming (world-class interoperability, simple and intuitive single pane of glass for customer’s to manage their environment) and Rackspace Private Cloud should be present in hundreds of customer environments and connect back to Rackspace data centers to enable a true hybrid cloud computing experience.

You can follow Christian on Twitter at @csfos.

Check out more interviews in this blog series here.


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