What Does a Wiki Have to Do With Data Center Excellence?

For more than 15 years, Rackspace has been known for its delivery of Fanatical Support. Many call it our “secret sauce.” But while it might be secret, it’s not by chance.

For example, Rackspace has more than 500 processes and policies enabling the fabled support behind our data centers.

Once spread through word of mouth as tribal knowledge, these processes are now captured in a wiki I would wager is rivaled by few companies: neatly standardized, centrally located and accessible to all Rackers.

It is this source of truth, along with our adherence to lean manufacturing principles, that enables continuous improvement and helps elevate Rackspace data center operations into best in class industry leadership. After all, data center operations are the backbone of the fanatical, results-obsessed support Rackspace provides our customers.

Taiichi Ohno, considered the father of lean manufacturing, notes that “without standards, there can be no improvement.”

Our world-class, interconnected data centers are strategically located in the world’s most influential technical and financial markets to provide you with global reach, scale and organizational agility wherever you are and whenever you need it.

 The Rackspace difference

Many companies create and market a knowledge base with the intent to train employees and share information. That’s the easy part. The difference at Rackspace is how we continuously invest in, update and audit our wiki to create global standards and proven documented best practices in order to deliver consistent results and drive continuous improvement.

Think about when you purchase a product or service from a world-class company with a vast global presence. To become world class demands a level of consistency regardless of the region, location, or cross street. When you buy from the world’s most popular running shoe manufacture, top car company or the java giant with more than 20,000 stores in 60 countries, you trust that the quality, performance and/or the taste to be globally consistent.

For Rackspace customers, this global expectation is no different.

Our wiki enables Rackers to train for, execute and deliver trusted results to guarantee a repeatable and reproducible customer experience. It’s a point of pride that our Rackers are the source of these best practices; they are encouraged to access, contribute and refine each one. This gives every Racker a sense of ownership and responsibility. These processes are trained on, reviewed and signed off by each Racker — then reviewed again on a recurring basis for adjustments and improvements.

[Check out this video to see how we use Lean Six Sigma for physical data center migrations]

All world-class companies have solutions to address quality and performance across their global footprint. For Rackspace data centers, it all starts with our wiki. Learn more today. 

Jim Hawkins is the vice president of global data center operations and engineering at Rackspace, where he oversees the company’s worldwide network of data centers and other critical infrastructure and operations. Jim joined Rackspace in 2008, initially serving as director of operational excellence. Since then, he has held several positions, including director of U.S. data centers and senior director of global data center operations. Jim has brought a number of strengths to these roles, including a specialized knowledge of Lean Six Sigma methodology and operational discipline. While serving in each of his roles at Rackspace, he incorporated his knowledge of these principles into the design and daily operation of Rackspace’s critical infrastructure and teams transforming their performance. As Jim approaches his 10th year at Rackspace, he continues to make a significant impact on the performance of the company. Recently, he enhanced the operational rigor of Rackspace network operations through fleet management principles. When he’s not busy working towards his professional goals, he enjoys daily exercise, working on his landscaping projects, spending time with his wife and coaching his three sons on the soccer field. Before he joined Rackspace, Jim was a plant manager and North American fiberglass fabrics manager at Owens Corning, where he turned a struggling $40 million division into a very profitable business by leveraging his knowledge of Lean Six Sigma methodology. He earned his BS in marketing at Westminster College, graduating Summa Cum Laude, and received his MBA, with high honors, at Purdue University.


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