A technician inside one of Rackspace's data centers. (Photo: Rackspace)

Report: Rackspace Leads Europe’s Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Market

*Updated with comment by Gartner analyst Lydia Leong.

Less than one week before Rackspace announced new services for managing customers’ application stacks running in its infrastructure cloud, Gartner published a report identifying the Windcrest, Texas-based company as leader in the European cloud-enabled managed hosting market.

Rackspace has been leader in Gartner’s North American “Magic Quadrant” for the category for the past two years. This is the first time the market research firm has published a European Magic Quadrant for cloud-enabled managed hosting, determining that Rackspace beats all competitors in Europe as well, including European companies Interoute, Colt, BT Global Services and Claranet, as well as its U.S.-based competitors playing in the European markets, such as Verizon and CenturyLink, among others.

Gartner defines cloud-enabled managed hosting as a standardized hosting offering that combines cloud-enabled infrastructure (compute, network and storage) with cloud management software and managed services. It’s basically managed services but managed services specifically for applications running on cloud infrastructure.

More competition than in North America

All the companies mentioned above are in the top-right section of the quadrant, designated for leaders in the managed cloud hosting category, Rackspace ahead of others in terms of both vision and ability to execute. London-based service providers Colt Technology Services and Interoute are both close to Rackspace on both axes.

The Texas company’s competitive landscape is very different in North America, where, according to Gartner, the only other leader in the cloud-enabled managed hosting category is Jersey City, New Jersey-based Datapipe.

To the left of the “Leaders” section of the European quadrant is the “Challengers” section, which includes Attenda, IBM and AT&T.

Leading niche players in the market, according to Gartner, are NTT, Fujitsu, Telefonica, Vodafone, Sungard, Easynet and SFR (formerly Société Française du Radiotéléphone). The analyst firm has not identified any companies that would fit into the “Visionaries” section of the quadrant.

Lack of non-UK data centers a weakness

While identifying Rackspace as a leader in Europe, Gartner cautioned that the company does not have any data center presence outside of the UK, which is something to consider for non-UK customers with “data residency requirements or latency concerns in European regions farther away from the UK.”

Another caution was Rackspace’s lack of an integrated self-service firewall capability. This means customers have to deploy host-based firewalls or dedicated managed firewall appliances.

The third potential drawback is Rackspace’s global portal strategy, which the company is still rationalizing. Customers using Rackspace to deploy applications globally may at some point end up with different interfaces and logins.

Gartner's Magic Quadrant for the European cloud-enabled managed hosting market.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the European cloud-enabled managed hosting market.

Managed hosting pioneer

Rackspace claims to have been the first company to do managed hosting. “Fifteen years ago, when scores of companies rented out access to single-tenant servers with little or no support, we at Rackspace created the managed hosting business,” John Engates, the company’s CTO, wrote in a blog post published Wednesday.

This claim is hard to confirm, and Gartner analyst Lydia Leong took issue with it in a Twitter comment. She said there were many companies providing managed hosting since at least 1995, including Exodus, Digex, UUNET, IBM and AT&T, among others.

Early on, the provider strengthened its expertise in Linux and Windows system administration, as well as network security, with the goal of relieving customers of the burden of managing complex systems.

It is now applying the same ethos to cloud services, of which there is a myriad of kinds, and where complex interrelations and infrastructure sprawl are a constant. The non-entry-level tier of its new managed cloud services offers customers the option to essentially outsource end-to-end operations of their entire stack deployed in the Rackspace cloud.

Correction: A previous version of this article erroneously said that Datapipe was based in San Jose, California. The service provider is actually headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. Data Center Knowledge regrets the mistake.

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About the Author

San Francisco-based business and technology journalist. Editor in chief at Data Center Knowledge, covering the global data center industry.

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  1. Interesting that Rackspace said they created the managed services business....actually it was Data Return doing it back in 1998 when Rackspace had white boxes on wire racks...Data Return went from divine back to Data Return, to later Terremark and then Verizon...Rackspace back in 1998 was following not leading..they were following Data Return

  2. Mike

    Note to ed: before Rackspace was founded (1998) and long before John Engates got involved in this business, in the early 90's Exodus started colocation, web hosting, and managed hosting. I believe Exodus was picked up by Savvis and later CenturyLink. Lydia Long at Gartner is very knowedable about cloud and managed hosting (I follow her blog) and the fact that she can list half a dozen companies that offerred managed services before Rackspace was even founded mean that Mr. Engates claim is completely false. I have been working in data centers since Arpanet and can tell you Rackspace is a very young company and definately was not the first to offer managed services, and did not enter this business until a number of years after a number of established players were in the market.

  3. Hi Yevgeniy, I work for a cloud computing and I was just a little confused about the 'Lack of non-UK data centers a weakness' section. How and why would it effect it so that there is different logins and interfaces? Cheers, Christopher

  4. Yevgeniy Sverdlik Post author

    Hi Christopher, Looks like the subheading for that section is confusing. The login/interface part has nothing to do with the data centers. What Gartner is saying is that the company's global portal strategy is still in flux which means the interface users see and log into may change as things settle. These are two separate points and they're lumped together under one subheading since that's the section talking about the cautions Gartner pointed out. Thank you, Yevgeniy

  5. Yevgeniy Sverdlik Post author

    Thanks for your note. There was actually a bit of a debate on this between Lydia and John on Twitter after the article was posted. Check it out. Just scroll up after you open the link: https://twitter.com/cloudpundit/status/490291267608514560 Yevgeniy