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Rackspace - UKITA Cloud Vendor of the Month - April '11 - Cloud - UK IT Association (UKITA)

UK IT Association (UKITA)

Rackspace - UKITA Cloud Vendor of the Month - April '11

UKITA interviewed John Webb, Rackspace's Director of Cloud about the opportunities Cloud offers to SMEs.

1. What do you see as the business opportunities from Cloud for end-user small and medium sized companies?
Cloud is one the largest growth opportunities in all of technology. Cloud adoption is in its infancy, when cloud adoption becomes mainstream the market will increase by a 45.5% compound annual growth rate between 2010 and 2015 according to a recent IDC report. Cloud enables businesses to buy computing as a service over the Internet, avoiding the expense and hassle of owning and managing their own hardware. It’s a new, less expensive, easier way for businesses to do IT. Companies, large and small, are figuring out the best ways to use cloud as part of there IT strategy. Ultimately, the big opportunity is that all IT processing (server horse power) will be delivered from the cloud. Today, many organisations are moving their test and development into the public cloud as well as Websites and Web applications.

2. And for SME IT Suppliers?
Public cloud requires a large shared infrastructure and this is beyond the scope and budget of most IT suppliers. There is no need to build your own and much better to partner with a leading reputable public cloud provider and use this as a platform for cloud based services. The cloud market opportunity is huge for IT providers looking to build and integrate applications and solutions on the cloud for SME customers.

3. How would you sum up your company’s Cloud product and service range?
Rackspace is the world leader in the rapidly growing industry of IT hosting and cloud computing, with a major presence in the U.K and Europe. Our hosting services enable companies of all sizes to buy computing capacity over the internet, on a pay-as-you-go basis, so that they never need to buy another server or packet of software. Some customers buy all of their computing from us. Others use us to add extra computing capacity quickly and inexpensively. The latter approach is especially popular among the 30 of our customers who are members of the FTSE 100 list of the largest global enterprises. We expect that trend to continue throughout 2011. Today, there are over 130,000 organisations around the world that trust us to be their partner and run their mission critical IT applications. For more information, visit

Products include:
o Managed Hosting
o Cloud Files and Cloud Servers
o Email and Apps

4. Which are the ones which are particularly relevant to the small and medium-sized enterprise?

Managed, or Dedicated Hosting
Managed, or Dedicated Hosting is most suited to organisations looking for high uptime guarantees, security, the backing of a comprehensive support team and the ability to customise their environment. Organisations with compliance requirements, such as ecommerce providers are often a good fit for Managed Hosting. As these solutions are designed and built to meet individual customer specifications, they are suitable for most businesses. The costs associated with managed hosting mean that these solutions are better for critical systems, rather than discretionary or “nice-to-have” infrastructures.

Private Cloud
Private Cloud is a good match for organisations seeking uptime guarantees, security, support, customisation and flexibility. Creating Virtual Servers containing pre-defined content from templates can help organisations to scale swiftly, be more agile and react to market demands as they change. The ability to consolidate large server farms and better utilise hardware is a proven route to significant cost savings, and may also assist with corporate green initiatives in reducing CO2 emissions. While sometimes cheaper than Managed Hosting, Private Cloud still carries a price premium as it runs on dedicated hardware, thereby making it unsuitable for organisations with the very smallest budgets.

Public Cloud
Public Cloud is ideal for young businesses seeking uncomplicated IT hosting with minimal outlay and no complicated contracts. The ability of most public cloud offerings to scale effortlessly is particularly attractive for websites and applications that have either seasonal demand, or unpredictable traffic. However, the lack of customisation and uptime guarantees or Service Level Agreements (SLAs) may prove to be a barrier to some. Another quite separate use of Virtual Servers hosted in the Public Cloud is for test and development of applications and User Acceptance Testing (UAT). The flexibility for coders to create new Cloud servers in a matter of minutes and to be billed only for what they use makes this attractive to any software development organisation.

While quick to scale and priced attractively, the shared nature of Public Cloud may be unsuitable for more sensitive applications and data, most typically in the enterprise, ecommerce and regulated sectors.

Managed Email
At Rackspace, we offer Rackspace Email and Microsoft Exchange hosting services to fit your business needs. Rackspace Email is a premium, feature rich, hosted business webmail. It was built by our team of email experts as an ideal solution for cost-conscious users who demand business-grade hosted email. With Microsoft(r) Exchange, you can take advantage of Outlook’s features without being tied to a desktop computer. Microsoft Exchange gives businesses the ability to run enterprise-level email without investing in servers, software, and the expertise to run it. We take care of licensing, monitoring, patches, and updates.
Both of these solutions can be used together, with hybrid functionality, to meet the needs of employees in different sectors of the business, in the most cost-effective way possible.

5. Which of your products or services are the strongest or most innovative?
Rackspace offers a complete portfolio of compute platforms as well as the ability to mix, match and combine to make them all work together seamlessly. RackConnect means you get the best of both worlds: Managed Hosting for mission-critical applications, plus the flexibility and fast provisioning delivered by the Cloud. Whether you require dedicated servers and Cloud Servers™ operating independently for different workloads, or a seamlessly integrated architecture for bursting extra compute cycles, Rackspace RackConnect allows you to mix and match compute platforms to best suit your needs.

6. What next for Cloud IT?
Cloud technology is developing to provide a cloud based equivalent of every major component of traditional IT. For example, Rackspace will shortly launch our cloud based load balancer as a service, as well as firewall and database as a service later in the year. In the near future, it will be possible to deliver a complete IT infrastructure from the Cloud. As these technologies become more mature and complete, there will be a natural blending of IAAS into PAAS.

7. Links for the products, whitepapers etc for our readers to find out more

o Managed Hosting
o Cloud Files and Cloud Servers
o Email and Apps
o Hosting Whitepaper
o Security Whitepaper


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