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Microsoft Adds Rackspace as New Cloud OS Network Partner

When Microsoft last month announced it has 100-plus partners adopting its burgeoning Cloud OS Network, which aims to provide Azure-compatible third party cloud services, it left out perhaps one of the biggest fishes it has landed: Rackspace.

The two companies are longtime partners, and as I recently reported, Rackspace has extended its Hyper-V-compatible offerings and dedicated Exchange, SharePoint and Lync services. But Rackspace also has a formidable cloud infrastructure as a service that competes with the Azure network. The news that Rackspace now will provide Azure-compatible cloud service, announced on Monday with Rackspace's third-quarter earnings report,  signals a boost for both companies.

For Microsoft it brings one of the world's largest public clouds and dedicated hosting providers into the Azure fold. Even if it's not all in or the core of Rackspace business -- that is still reserved for its own OpenStack-based infrastructure, a healthy VMware offering and the newly launched Google Apps practice -- Rackspace has a lot of Exchange and SharePoint hosting customers who may want to move to an Azure-like model but want to use it with the service level that the San Antonio, Texas-based company emphasizes.

"Those who are down in the managed 'colo' world, they don't want to be managing the infrastructure. They want us to do that," said Jeff DeVerter, general manager of Microsoft's Private Cloud business at Rackspace. "They're happy to let that go and get back into the business of running the applications that run that business."

Customers will be able to provision Azure private cloud instances in the Rackspace cloud and use the Windows Azure Pack to manage and view workloads. This is not a multitenant offering like Azure or similar infrastructure-as-a- service clouds, DeVerter pointed out. "These are truly private clouds from storage to compute to the networking layer and then the private cloud that gets deployed inside of their environment is dedicated to theirs. We deploy a private cloud into all of our datacenters [and] it puts the customers' cloud dual homing some of their management and reporting back to us so that we can manage hundreds and then thousands of our customers' clouds through one management cloud."

Microsoft first launched the Cloud OS Network nearly a year ago with just 25 partners. Now with more than 100, Marco Limena, Microsoft's vice president of Hosting Service Providers, claimed in a blog post late last month that there are in excess of 600 Cloud OS local datacenters in 100 companies serving 3.7 million customers. The company believes this network model will address the barriers among customers who have data sovereignty and other compliance requirements.

Among the members of the Cloud OS Network listed in an online directory are Bell Canada, CapGemini, Datapipe, Dimension Data and SherWeb. "Microsoft works closely with network members to enable best-practice solutions for hybrid cloud deployments including connections to the Microsoft Azure global cloud," Limena said.

Asked if it's in the works for Rackspace to enable Cloud OS private cloud customers to burst workloads to the Microsoft Azure service, DeVerter said: "Those are active conversations today that we're having internally and having with Microsoft. But right now our focus is around making that private cloud run the best it can at Rackspace."


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 11/12/2014 at 1:01 PM


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