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Rackspace Kicks Off Unified Partner Program

Rackspace Hosting on Tuesday launched a new partner program that combined four separate programs into one. The company hopes the revamped program will incent partners to offer a broader range of Rackspace's hosted and cloud offerings.

Once a dedicated sales organization, the company now boasts 4,500 channel partners. CEO Lanham Napier said on the company's most recent earnings call last month that channel-influenced sales have more than doubled in 2010. "We will continue to invest in the channel and think there is a whole lot more performance and upside that we can get there," Napier told investors.

The program combines managed hosting; cloud hosting, including its Cloud Servers, Cloud Files and Cloud Sites offerings; Hosted E-mail (Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint); and Rackspace Cloud Drive (a backup and recovery service). By combining the four key lines into a common program, Rackspace is offering a centralized partner portal, single compensation structure and new tiered partner levels.

The new levels are Platinum, Gold, Silver and Member, where channel partners can reach any tier by selling any of the company's product lines, explained Robert Fuller, Rackspace's VP of worldwide channel sales. "Generally, there's little overlap between the partners in one program and the other, so we think there will be a good opportunity here to cross-sell services," Fuller said.

"When a partner is offering mail, it will be very easy for them to offer Jungle Disk [the backup service], which is of course a natural extension of the business for security purposes, and maybe offer some cloud. The small-business area is where we are seeing so much of our cloud business."

Kenan Rappuchi, VP of business development at WebSiteMovers.com, is a Rackspace partner who also works with other hosting providers. But the new program is likely to make it more appealing to upsell Rackspace's services.

"It's much easier for us to not have to worry about multiple providers and be able to keep it under one roof and be able to manage it simply and to have a very elastic solution that fits in," Rappuchi said.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/03/2011 at 1:14 PM


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