A "racker" working inside a Rackspace data center. (Photo: Rackspace)

A "racker" working inside a Rackspace data center. (Photo: Rackspace)

Rackspace Builds Up DevOps Services Portfolio

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Rackspace has added lots of new features to its DevOps automation services and kicked off a new DevOps advisory service to help customers use DevOps technologies and processes.

This is yet another step in the Texas company’s quest to differentiate itself from the rest of the cloud service provider market with a beefy portfolio of services customers can use along with using its cloud infrastructure resources.

Rackspace’s DevOps Automation service now includes support for Windows (it previously only supported Linux) and a catalog of canned development environment stacks that enable it to stand up DevOps environments for users within one hour. These “best practices” stacks include packages for Chef, Rails, Node.js, PHP, Tomcat and Python.

The company has stood up such stacks for customers in the past, but the process would be much longer because every environment would be crated from scratch. Pre-designed templates now make it quick and easy.

DevOps Automation comes as an option at the highest tier of managed services Rackspace offers to its customers. The provider requires a minimum commitment of $5,000 for cloud services for a customer to use it.

The new DevOps Advisory Service is designed to help customers interested in DevOps bridge the gap between where they are now and a place where they are ready to start using it.

There is a need for such a service since the switch requires not only a change in technologies a company employs but also a cultural change, Prashanth Chandrasekar, general manager of Rackspace’s DevOps business segment, said.

Rackspace’s big bet on DevOps

Rackspace has placed a big bet on services around DevOps, which it unveiled late last year. The team on this side of the business consists of about 100 people, majority of whom fulfill the customer service function, the rest focused on product development, engineering, sales and marketing.

Chandrasekar said the company got into this business because it saw a lot of its customers wanting to adopt DevOps practices but lacked the knowledge and resources to do it. Rackspace also saw that there was a definitive set of tools companies doing DevOps were using, which meant there was an opportunity in building a services business that made it easier for newcomers to use those tools.

These were tools like Chef, New Relic, Graphite, Jenkins, RabbitMQ and MongoDB, among others.

DevOps has become a popular way to manage IT infrastructure to enable rapid, continuous roll-out of software features, but DevOps professionals are expensive and hard to retain, Chandrasekar said. “We decided that we wanted to offer this for our customers,” he said.

Mum’s the word on DevOps customer traction

Chandrasekar said the company did not want to reveal how many of its customers were using its DevOps services, sharing only that there was a lot of interest.

He also said that his business unit’s customer service scores were highest in the company, but that’s not an indicator of the size of the business. The fewer customers a business serves, the easier it is to keep them all satisfied.

One DevOps customer Rackspace has been parading is WePay, an online-payment processing startup that competes with the likes of eBay’s PayPal. Here’s a video of WePay CEO Bill Clerico talking about how the company uses Rackspace services at the provider’s recent Solve conference in San Francisco:

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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