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  • 16 July 2014 08:00

Rackspace Launches Managed Cloud Model

New offering includes enhanced service levels, transparent charging models and a developer+ programme

Sydney, Australia – July 16, 2014 – Rackspace (NYSE:RAX), the Managed Cloud company, today announced a new managed service model for delivering public cloud services that gives businesses and developers the help they need to design, manage, scale and grow their cloud operations.

In addition, Rackspace announced “developer +,” a new programme for developers that offers essential services needed to build scalable applications. The programme enables developers to easily sample Rackspace Managed Cloud services and Fanatical Support.

"The cloud market is maturing fast in Australia and our historical strength in being both a technical services and operations partner for our customers means that we are ideally placed to lead the managed cloud segment of the market,” said Angus Dorney, director and general manager Rackspace ANZ. “Our new service levels and developer+ programme will help Australian businesses and developers to experience the power of the cloud without the complexity of managing it themselves. Everything we offer customers is now managed, and we are the company that will be with them every step of the way to make their cloud strategy successful.” New Managed Service Levels

Under the Managed Cloud umbrella, Rackspace has rolled out two managed service levels: Managed Infrastructure and Managed Operations. Both service levels feature more expertise at lower total cost than companies managing cloud operations on their own. Highlights include:

Managed Infrastructure – This new service level offers a package of benefits for customers that far exceed equivalent services from any other cloud provider. Customers will receive Rackspace’s renowned Fanatical Support, which features:

* 24x7 access to human cloud engineers

* Architectural advice

* Security guidance

* Code development assistance

* Launch assistance

Managed Operations – This service level provides customers with Fanatical Support and all the services included at the Managed Infrastructure level, plus additional proactive features such as a dedicated account manager, 24x7 availability monitoring and response, and management of common operating systems and application stacks. Rackspace offers two approaches to deliver its Managed Operations service level to customers:

* In one approach, Rackspace logs into the customer’s servers to manage and, when necessary, help fix them.

* The other approach leverages Rackspace DevOps Automation Service, which manages a customer’s infrastructure as code, to help it achieve faster deployments and streamlined operations.

In addition, monitoring and enabling customers to have real-time visibility into their infrastructure is an essential part of the Rackspace Managed Cloud strategy. Customers on both Managed Cloud service levels will now receive Rackspace Cloud Monitoring at no charge. For Managed Operations customers, cloud engineers will also watch the customer’s monitors and respond 24x7 to alerts.

Rackspace’s enhanced service levels also provide additional value and offer a service level agreement that is not available with other providers. Customers on the Managed Operations service level will see SLA credits doubled, up to 100 percent of their fees for the affected components for that month’s billing period.

In addition, Rackspace is highlighting the value it provides over unmanaged cloud providers by offering cloud deployment planning and the availability of proactive assistance included in all of its service levels. Managed Operations customers with planned high traffic events will be able to work with Rackspace to ensure that their Managed Cloud infrastructure is able to cope with the expected levels of traffic. This programme, now only in limited availability for some Managed Operations customers, provides a 10x accelerated SLA credit during these planned events for up to 200 per cent of the customer’s monthly spending, subject to certain restrictions.

Jonathan Hoskin, infrastructure architect at vWork comments: “I am regularly amazed at how responsive and capable the Rackspace staff is. When we require an infrastructure change at Rackspace, we can get it almost immediately. Our small development team is only viable if we can remain agile, so having infrastructure that behaves the same way is crucial.”

Managed Cloud Pricing Model

Rackspace’s Managed Cloud pricing model applies to all new customers, and is optional for existing ones. It features more transparency by highlighting the price of cloud infrastructure as distinct from service and support. The service level chosen is in addition to the infrastructure usage rate. This model allows customers to more accurately compare the true cost of cloud infrastructure from provider to provider.

* Managed Infrastructure offers a service level rate of $0.005/GB RAM per hour, with a $50 per month minimum.

* Managed Operations offers a service level rate of $0.02/GB RAM per hour, with a $500 per month minimum.

* Infrastructure Usage Rate based on the usage of cloud compute services is $0.04/GB RAM per hour.

With this pricing model, customers will be able to see their infrastructure pricing in comparison to the market.

Rackspace will also continue to provide volume pricing discounts, so as a customer grows, the price of additional servers declines. These discounts are automatically applied. As a customer grows, its unit cost will decrease. Volume discounts range from four to twenty four per cent and will start at compute usage rates of $6,000 a month.

"Competition in the public cloud market has accelerated in the past year; however, Rackspace’s Managed Cloud approach provides an opportunity for significant differentiation from the rest of the pack,” said Melanie Posey, research vice president at IDC. “Rackspace's new Managed Cloud strategy featuring enhanced SLAs and its long track record in delivering superior support will create sustainable competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded market."

developer+ Programme

Rackspace’s new developer+ programme provides an infrastructure credit for a package of cloud services for a limited time. It is designed for developers who want to stay fast and lean and focus their engineering talent on building their app, rather than swelling their payroll with engineers who manage IT operations that don’t differentiate their business. This programme paves the way for customers to grow with Rackspace, and to understand and adopt its hybrid and specialised services. It empowers developers not only to experience Rackspace’s offerings, but to also build and scale out cloud applications leveraging the full Rackspace cloud portfolio, including the recently announced OnMetal product which is available in the US at the moment.

For customers participating in the developer+ programme, Rackspace will provide an infrastructure credit, which covers a Performance Cloud Server, a Cloud Load Balancer, Cloud Monitoring, Cloud Networks, Cloud Backups, Cloud Files, Cloud DNS and built-in Email as a Service via Mailgun, for example. In addition, developer+ customers will be able to consume all other Rackspace cloud services in any region at the adjusted infrastructure prices without the bundled service level rates.

Developers will have access to public forums, IRC support, online documentation, direct access to Rackspace developers, alongside a fully redesigned developer portal. Developers are eligible to participate in this programme for up to 12 months before transitioning to either the Managed Infrastructure or Managed Operations service levels. The developer+ programme will be available to customers in late July.

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