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Rackspace turns into a fanatical AWS cloud-flinger

Here comes the support, and sales, for Bezos fans

Managed cloud computing company Rackspace will now sell and support Amazon’s mighty AWS, echoing a similar partnership with Microsoft.

The company Tuesday unveiled Fanatical Support for AWS, initially for US customers with support for those outside the US in beta mode. Rackspace will also now sell and consult on Jeff Bezos' mighty elastic cloud, having now qualified as an AWS authorized reseller.

It’s a major development for a firm that five years ago pitted itself against the proprietary cloud of AWS by taking the lead on the open-source OpenStack. It was supposed to turn Rackspace from hosted service provider to cloud player.

Selling and supporting AWS follows a deal in the summer to sell and support Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Under that particular agreement, Rackspace will sell and consult on the Redmondware, offering its "fanatical" 24/7/365 support.

Announcing the AWS deal on Tuesday, Rackspace claimed to now have 100 qualified AWS engineers and architects.

AWS support will come in two flavours – Navigator, for those who want to retain control over AWS, and Aviator for those willing to let Rackspace take charge.

Fanatical support for AWS will initially include managed security with host and network-level threat detection and support for Adobe Experience on digital marketing. Details of future support options were not provided.

Rackspace senior vice president and general manager Chris Cochran said the AWS service will mean “more choice” for customers in their infrastructure deployments.

While this might mean more choice in AWS support, it’s a further blow to the OpenStack dream Rackspace committed itself to in 2010. In the years since, Rackspace’s aspirations as a major cloud platform provider founded on OpenStack have failed to materialise at any sort of scale.

While OpenStack clouds do exist, they have proliferated in private or in a regional service provider capacity, with the backing of one or two IT giants.

A truly global OpenStack cloud on a par with AWS has failed to materialise, leaving Microsoft’s Azure, now seen as the number-two alternative.

Rackspace, meanwhile, has been squeezed hard by the big boys, who’ve turned public-cloud provision into a price war that’s hurt the profits of others.

Rackspace has seen its growth slow to the point where throughout much of 2014 it was reported to be deciding whether to merge or let itself be bought out of its misery.

Instead, Rackspace picked a new CEO, Taylor Rhodes, who replaced an interim CEO Graham Weston who replaced Lanham Napier who stepped down. ®

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