A new Rackspace billboard. Photo courtesy of Rackspace.
A new Rackspace billboard. Photo courtesy of Rackspace.

Ever have one of those awkward moments when you run into someone you haven’t seen since high school and she still thinks of you as a skater? Or you see an acquaintance who mainly remembers that you were thinking of ditching business school for a career as a rock guitarist?

We all have to reintroduce ourselves sometimes – and this is one of those times for Rackspace.

Starting today, you’ll be seeing Rackspace on billboards in several major airports and in print and online advertisements in leading business and tech publications, from the Wall Street Journal to Wired. You’ll even be hearing us on National Public Radio as you drive to and from your office.

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This new brand campaign is aimed at business executives and IT leaders. Its message is simple: “Rackspace – Your Clouds. Our Expertise.” In other words, if you are part of the 75% of the world using multiple clouds at an increasing pace, but struggling with the complexity, pain, and expense of managing them all yourself, our expert cloud engineers stand ready to help in ways no others can.

From our earliest years as a managed hosting provider, Rackspace has been famous for the always-accessible, results-obsessed customer service we call Fanatical Support. That focus isn’t changing. But it’s evolving along with changes in customer needs

Today, according to a recent survey from RightScale, the typical business is using three different cloud platforms and is experimenting with three more, across public and private clouds and dedicated servers. The biggest concern of IT decision makers today – even outranking online security – is finding the expertise to manage and coordinate all of those clouds.

This survey confirms a trend we’ve seen for some time among our customers at Rackspace. In response, we began last year to expand our expertise and support to serve businesses that want to run at least some of their workloads on the cloud infrastructure of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. We’ve moved quickly, and already rank as one of the major service providers on each of those platforms, with hundreds of our engineers certified by AWS and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, we remain the world leader in managed hosting on dedicated servers – the industry we essentially created 17 years ago. And we remain the leader in OpenStack, the open source cloud platform we founded in 2010, and that since has been adopted by hundreds of global enterprises, including IBM, Intel, and SAP.

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In short, we’re the only company on the planet that provides businesses with expertise and support for all of the leading clouds they might want to use, now or later:

  • across AWS, Azure, VMware and OpenStack;
  • across public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers.

We’re also the only company with no bias for or against any particular cloud technology. Some cloud providers sell or support only one product line and argue that their one size fits all. We take a different approach. We help each customer find the best fit for its unique needs. We help them run each of their workloads on the platform where it will achieve the highest performance and cost-efficiency.

Ecommerce websites, for example, often benefit from the agility and low unit cost of the public cloud, or from a hybrid cloud that incorporates dedicated servers. Workloads where companies want a higher level of control, compliance and security typically fit better in a private cloud. Businesses with big investments in one or more technology platforms – perhaps Microsoft and VMware – often want to stick with them as they move out of their data centers and into the cloud.

Many business users of the cloud believe that to get the best fit for each workload, they have to swell their payroll with lots of specialized experts, or else manage multiple service providers who often don’t play well together. Our brand campaign is designed to let those businesses know they’ve got another option – to choose Rackspace as the single, trusted partner who can help them manage all of their clouds. They have the option to stay fast and lean, and focus their scarce engineering talent on creating new products and serving their customers.

A series of airport banners help introduce Rackspace to travelers from across the country. Image courtesy of Rackspace.
A series of airport banners help introduce Rackspace to travelers from across the country. Image courtesy of Rackspace.

A wise person once said that focus isn’t about what you do; it’s about what you don’t do. In that spirit, our brand campaign will make clear that we don’t compete against AWS and Microsoft Azure. Instead, they are our partners. Those giants provide reliable, feature-rich, cost-efficient infrastructure, at enormous scale. Their focus is on improving their products.

At Rackspace, we don’t compete with them; rather, we complete the solution for customers who need expertise and support at scale to make these clouds more valuable for their businesses. We help business customers architect, secure, migrate, operate and optimize their workloads on AWS and Azure.

You can see the distinction I’m making in the following two charts from the cloud experts at Gartner Inc. The first chart ranks cloud infrastructure providers, and positions AWS and Microsoft Azure in the Leaders quadrant. The second chart ranks providers of what Gartner calls “Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting” or what we prefer to call “managed cloud.” In this chart, Rackspace is positioned up and to the right:

Cloud enabled managed hosting providers. Graphic courtesy of Gartner Inc.
Cloud enabled managed hosting providers. Graphic courtesy of Gartner Inc.

One point worth noting is that Rackspace is the only managed cloud provider represented on both of these rankings. That’s because we’re the only managed cloud provider who has built a major cloud — OpenStack. That experience has given our engineers expertise in key areas such as software development, continuous deployment and integration and devops, all of which help us better manage our customers’ multiple clouds.

Our new brand campaign will reintroduce us in a way we hope is true to our personality as a company, in a voice that is both friendly and frank — just as a good partner always should be. We know that businesses are subjected to a lot of hype about the cloud, and we’re steering clear of that. We don’t claim to be able to cure cancer or solve the secrets of the universe (though one of our customers, the CERN lab in Switzerland, is working on both.) What’s more, we don’t claim that any of this technology is easy to use. Easy to use is easy to say, and most businesses know that from bitter experience.

You’ve seen some of our creative treatments in this post. I hope you’ll click the ad below to check out our new capabilities on our website. If you haven’t looked at Rackspace for a while, you might be surprised at how we’ve grown in the ways we can serve you.

This article originally appeared on the Official Rackspace blog. The Magic Quadrant graphics are published by Gartner, Inc. as part of larger research documents and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Rackspace. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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Disclosure: Rackspace has been a financial supporter of the Rivard Report. See a view list of individual and business members here.

Top image: One of the billboards Rackspace is raising in key markets around the country touting its expertise across all the leading cloud platforms. Photo courtesy of Rackspace. 

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Taylor Rhodes, Rackspace President

Taylor Rhodes is President of Rackspace, responsible for all of the company’s operations in the U.S. and abroad. He joined the company in 2007 and since then has excelled in a variety of leadership roles...