Rackspace specialises in offering managed services, hybrid and cloud hosting to businesses all over the globe. It also offers email and app hosting, and is the co-developer, along with NASA, of OpenStack. OpenStack is the scalable open source cloud operating system of choice for hundreds of cloud hosting companies.

Rackspace claims that ‘hosting is all we do’, but while its services may be narrow, it strives to set the standard for hosting in the industry. Its commitment to be the best is underpinned by its ‘Fanatical Customer Service’, a gimmicky phrase coined when the business was in its infancy and which holds fast today. Headquarters is even called Fanatical House, to reinforce the belief that customers are the heart of Rackspace’s business and its success.

Rackspace is currently undergoing major expansion in Europe and has recently added a second ultra-green data centre to its UK network. The new data centre in Crawley, Sussex was built by Digital Realty Trust Inc. in a two year build programme and has a better-than-expected Power Usage Effectiveness rating of just 1.15. It will be based almost completely on OpenStack and complimentary open source software and is BREEAM certified excellent. Crawley will provide 6MW of power across two suites, with capacity for a further two suites on the campus. The entire 15 acre campus will be able to accommodate up to 30MV in total.

Location

Rackspace headquarters is housed in a 1.5 million square foot technology campus in San Antonio, Texas. It has seven further regional offices, three of which are in Europe (UK, Netherlands and Switzerland), and the four remaining offices are in India, Mexico, Australia and Hong Kong.

Rackspace owns ten data centres in the USA, UK, Hong Kong and Australia and leases additional data centre space in strategic locations. In the US, these data centres are in Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago and Northern Virginia and a fourth site is planned for Nevada in 2017.  There are two data centres in Sydney, the most recent of which opened in 2015 along with an expansion of the existing site.

The UK is now home to two Rackspace data centres following the launch of the custom built Crawley data centre in 2015.  The original UK Rackspace data centre is located in Slough, and is connected with the Crawley site to the existing Rackspace London fibre network metro ring.

Energy

Rackspace is passionate about reducing its impact on the environment and whilst older data centres are gradually updated to incorporate greener technologies, the new facility at Crawley was built to be as green as possible. It is the first UK data centre to use the high-efficiency indirect air cooling system and has fan energy management systems in place that remove the need for energy-hungry compressors. Both UK sites are powered 100% by renewable energy and are certified to ISO 14001 for Environmental Management.

Funding/business model

Rackspace is an American public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Founded in 1998, the company has experienced phenomenal growth which has accelerated since the launch of OpenStack in 2010 and the more recent mass-adoption of cloud to the business market.

Rackspace’s annual revenues currently stand at $1.9 billion and it employs almost 6000 people across the globe.  It recently announced its 2015 Q3 results which were much better than expected with revenues of $509 million – news which sent its share price soaring.

Rackspace is growing through both organic investment and acquisition. Recent buys include Sharepoint911, virtual server provider Slicehost and online back-up company Jungle Disk. Following expansion into Europe, Rackspace is now starting to take hold in the Asian marketplace and operates a regional office and data centre in Hong Kong.

Customers and partners

Rackspace has over 300,000 customers worldwide and counts some of the UK’s most recognisable brands amongst them. Transport for London, Dominos, confused.com, Office shoes and Which? are all clients of Rackspace and even NHS Direct uses its services too.

In the US, Rackspace host more than half of the companies listed on the Fortune 100 (69% at last count), including Aeropost and Sixflags.

Looking ahead

Rackspace is growing and considers the UK one of its key markets.  The new UK site is expected to attract both UK and European customers, with space available for Rackspace clients globally. With a strong dedication to sustainability and customer service, Rackspace is well-placed to offer its services to companies and organisations of all sizes who, like most responsible businesses, value those two aspects highly.

Rackspace data centres are secure, well-connected and situated in prime business locations. Companies that want to manage everything themselves and are just looking for infrastructure won’t find what they are looking for here but everyone else is very well catered for.

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