Rackspace expands APAC footprint, eyes multi-cloud opportunity

The managed cloud service provider has established a new office in Singapore to tap into the growing APAC market for cloud-based infrastructure

Managed cloud services provider Rackspace has expanded its footprint in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region with a new Singapore office it hopes will help enterprises manage a growing plethora of cloud services.

Before the launch of its Singapore office, Rackspace was supporting most of its Southeast Asian and Singapore-based customers from Hong Kong, according to Ali Azarian, sales director for Asia at Rackspace.

“The data sovereignty laws in Singapore are getting stricter, so our customers have said their data needs to be in here rather than our Hong Kong datacentre,” he told Computer Weekly in Singapore.

Azarian said having a Singapore office made sense, given that Rackspace already has partnerships with major cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure that have established datacentres in the city-state.

He added that both Amazon and Microsoft had encouraged Rackspace to open a Singapore office to take advantage of the market opportunity not only in Singapore, but also in the neighbouring markets of Malaysia and the Philippines.

“There was a huge gap,” said Azarian. “There wasn’t somebody who could help someone with a budget of $5,000 a month to manage everything.”

By everything, Azarian was referring to the growing number of cloud infrastructure services that enterprises need to manage on their own as they embark on a multi-cloud strategy.

Optimising IT costs

Daphne Chung, research director for cloud at IDC Asia-Pacific, told Computer Weekly earlier this year that organisations are using various cloud services to optimise IT costs based on specific workloads or projects, such as finding the cheapest way to deal with test and development requirements for a project that may only run for a short period of time.

“There are a number of other reasons, of course, such as backup or disaster recovery,” said Chung, adding that organisations may also end up with multiple cloud services through mergers and acquisitions, or if a cloud service has a specific feature that is not offered by others.

Multi-cloud adoption, however, is still in the nascent stages in some APAC countries, according to Nishchal Khorana, director for emerging technologies at Frost and Sullivan APAC. “While certain countries are yet at a very nascent stage of cloud deployments, countries like Japan, Australia and China are relatively more mature in the cloud strategies,” he said.

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Even for organisations in emerging markets that are just in the beginning stages of multi-cloud adoption, Rackspace, as a supplier-neutral managed service provider, is in a unique position to help enterprises make a choice of one or more cloud platforms in an agnostic manner.

“It doesn’t have to be a large enterprise play, where we help a bank move seven clouds into Rackspace,” said Azarian. “It could be helping a business decide where to put their workloads at the start of their cloud journey. We’re doing a lot more consulting and professional services in this region than we did in other markets.”

John Engates, chief technology officer of Rackspace, said to support the growth in demand for managed cloud services in the region, the company will be bringing on more engineering talent, as well as people who can provide local language support.

It would also have its own datacentre in Singapore after it completes its acquisition of Datapipe, in addition to existing datacentre facilities in Hong Kong and Australia.

“The investment in Asia is going to grow organically,” he said. “Joe Eazor, our new CEO who has had previous experience in the region, has expectations it will be a significant part of the future growth of our company.”

Led by growing demand for cloud infrastructure services, the public cloud services market in the APAC region, excluding Japan, is expected to exceed $10bn in 2017, according to technology research firm IDC.

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