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Rackspace brings public cloud managed support to Microsoft Azure

Managed cloud provider Rackspace strikes a support partnership deal with Microsoft to monitor and control the firm's Azure public cloud service

Rackspace has embarked on a partnership with Microsoft that will see it provide managed support for, and resell access to, the software giant’s public cloud service Azure.

The agreement means Azure users can draw on Rackspace’s portfolio of managed services to control and monitor workloads running in the Microsoft public cloud for the first time.

Jeff DeVerter, chief Microsoft technologist at Rackspace, told Computer Weekly the aim of the partnership is to supplement the infrastructure support Microsoft already offers Azure users with additional application-, system- and platform-level management offerings.

 This should make life easier for people running apps and workloads in Azure, he said. Rackspace users will benefit as the deal will lead to an indirect increase in the number of datacentres it can provide services from.

“This will extend our geographic reach into places where Rackspace doesn’t have a datacentre presence today – we’ve heard requests from customers about having datacentres on the US west coast, in Brazil, Europe and Singapore,” he said.

“We’ll be able to support any of the Azure datacentres with our fanatical support, along with our own datacentres, and tie those together for customers that want to connect geographically from Rackspace to Azure.”

Rackspace seeks partnerships

John Engates, chief technology officer at Rackspace, said it also hopes to make Azure easier for people to use in the context of their wider cloud activities.

“Cloud is a very powerful tool, but it’s complicated and complex, and has lots of moving parts as customers look to mix and match multiple clouds,” he said.

“Customers are having a hard time trying to make sense of that, and how to operate these things at scale, because it’s not as easy as people would have you believe."

“There are a lot of new terms and concepts for them to understand, but they are struggling to make use of cloud computing effectively, and they want help.” 

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The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider has been making a concerted effort to reposition itself as a provider of managed cloud services since an attempt in 2014 to find a buyer for the firm failed.

As part of this strategy, it’s been actively seeking out other public cloud platform providers to partner with, so that it can widen the number of users that have access to the Rackspace managed services portfolio.

Following on from the Microsoft partnership, Engates said the company will be working with customers to determine which public cloud provider it should cosy up to next.

“We’re trying to align our support with other leading technology and ecosystems and Microsoft is one of those,” he said.

“We’re actively working with customers and listening to them about what they perceive to be the leading platforms.”

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