Rackspace Hosting, Inc. [NYSE:RAX]: Tapping the Power of Cloud Computing

CIO VendorTaylor Rhodes, President & CEO
The tipping point is upon us; Cloud adoption has certainly outlived the perception of ‘something’ only start-ups do. “Every conceivable industry, with its constituting large and small enterprises, is transitioning their entire infrastructure and data ecosystems into the cloud,” confirms Taylor Rhodes, President and CEO, Rackspace—provider of cloud-based solutions across a portfolio of IT services. Most providers rent clients access to raw computing infrastructure. This trend; however, is shifting as companies have realized that cloud doesn’t operate on infrastructure alone. “It takes a wide variety of specialized engineering skills to architect and manage not only the infrastructure, but also the many complex tools and applications that run on top of it,” asserts Rhodes. Everything Rackspace offers is managed, from dedicated hosting servers, cloud compute, infrastructure network and storage to tools extending all the way to analytics. The managed services, insists the CEO, is what differentiates Rackspace from competitors.

“In an attempt to enable clients to select and combine the best features of our dedicated and cloud hosting offerings into one all-encompassing solution, Rackspace launched RackConnect v3.0 in January this year,” reveals Rhodes. The latest release of the company’s innovative hybrid connectivity empowers clients to design their computing environment and take advantage of the latest benefits in cloud computing— flexibility, scalability, elasticity—along with the benefits of traditional dedicated hosting—enhanced security and performance characteristics. RackConnect is compatible with Rackspace’s dedicated Managed and Intensive service levels and the cloud Managed Operations and Infrastructure service levels. In order to address any security concerns, RackConnect has configuration options that can greatly improve security for the Cloud Servers environment, including support for servers built with only a single network interface connected to an isolated cloud network. “Client can choose to create a truly isolated and secure cloud servers environment that has connectivity only with other servers on the same isolated network, or allow network access to their dedicated networks or the internet,” says Rhodes.

Rackspace makes it a point to share Uptime and redundancy responsibilities with the clients

To further increase the security of the RackConnect environment, the customer has the ability to use the Rackspace dedicated intrusion detection system (IDS) and web application firewall (WAF) offerings.

Vevo, a web-based music video and entertainment service, leveraged RackConnect to spin up 900 servers for a massive transcoding project. “We flicked the switch, and went almost immediately from having zero traffic to millions of hits,” Allan Parsons, Senior Systems Engineer, Vevo. The company’s applications required complex hardware capable of supporting processing-intensive operations like ingesting video content from music companies and publishing it to Vevo syndication partners. Also, Vevo required support for the delivery of very high quality video, which meant enormous storage requirements. The company chose hybrid configuration with Rackspace due to competitive pricing, a thorough quote process, and exceptional customer service, branded Fanatical Support®.

Vevo is now using Rackspace Cloud Servers to support processing intensive operations like video transcoding— the process of readying videos for display on vendor-specific platforms, like particular Smartphone brands. With RackConnect, Vevo connects these Cloud servers to their other dedicated hosted servers and storage. RackConnect grants Vevo the agility to batch-transcode large quantities of video without the hassle and financial burden of purchasing physical hardware to produce on such a large scale.

“We make it a point to share Uptime and redundancy responsibilities with the clients and firmly believe, the highest performance and cost-efficiency come when infrastructure and specialized expertise is combined,” observes Rhodes. With Fanatical Support®, Rackspace delivers clients with easy access to engineers for help with planning, architecting, building, and operations irrespective of whether the client’s cloud environment is private or hybrid.