Rackspace delivers Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure Stack to make hybrid cloud more accessible

Rackspace announced Monday Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure Stack, which will make the hybrid cloud solution accessible to organizations of all sizes, regardless of cloud skills or expertise. As a launch-day global partner supporting Microsoft Azure Stack, Rackspace will offer 24x7x365 operational support and expertise for Azure Stack to provide a simplified and seamless support experience for Azure Stack deployments as well as the associated workloads it supports. Rackspace also announced the availability of a hosted single node of the Azure Stack Development Kit, which customers can leverage to do proof of concepts.

The Rackspace Azure Stack proof of concept is now generally available to customers. General availability and delivery for Fanatical Support for Azure Stack is expected in the second half of this year.

Azure Stack is a new hybrid cloud platform by Microsoft that allows users to consume and deliver Azure cloud services easily and consistently across locations– from private clouds in their own datacenter, to hosted clouds offered by service providers like Rackspace, to Microsoft Azure public cloud.

With Azure Stack, enterprises can pivot between public and private clouds using the same application code base, providing increased flexibility across locations while still maintaining the security and control of a single-tenant environment. By providing a consistent experience across Azure and Azure Stack, including portal, APIs, and service architecture, Azure Stack enables customers to realize the flexibility and agility of a hybrid cloud solution.

Fanatical Support for Azure Stack offers an end-to-end, centralized support experience across hardware, networking and platform components of Azure Stack, including virtual machines and other gear running inside Azure Stack and public Azure. Experts leverage deep Azure expertise to architect, deploy and operate customers’ Azure Stack environments, as well as proactively monitor and maintain the health of customers’ private clouds at all times. Rackspace operates as customers’ single point of contact, including working with numerous vendors that ship solutions on top of Azure Stack. Dedicated Azure Stack engineers and account managers go beyond break-fix support, providing customers with expert guidance as well as conducting proactive maintenance, updates and planning as Azure Stack evolves along with public Azure.

Rackspace integrates a customer’s existing Azure Active Directory with their Azure Stack cloud to help ensure a consistent and secure user experience. Rackspace experts perform application and infrastructure assessments for security hardening, and offer enhanced security services for customers that must meet security or regulatory compliance requirements. Customers can also choose to host their Azure Stack cloud in Rackspace data centers, which are HITRUST certified.

Rackspace uses its extensive expertise gained from supporting Azure, Hyper-V and other Microsoft technologies at scale, to help customers make a successful transition to Azure Stack. With more than 15 years of Microsoft experience, Rackspace operates one of the largest Azure managed services practices worldwide. Rackspace is the only five-time Microsoft Hosting Partner of the Year and holds 11 Microsoft technical competencies and more than 1,000 technical Microsoft certifications.

According to Gartner, 72 percent of enterprises will be pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy by 2018 with the bulk of traditional IT workloads shifting to private cloud rather than public cloud over the next 5 years. Rackspace is the market leader in industrialized private cloud IaaS, according to Gartner. Its industrialized private cloud offerings are thoughtfully constructed, more automated than most competing offerings and operated in a fashion that allows Rackspace to deliver reliable, well-supported services at economical prices and at scale. It is technology-neutral, with solutions based on VMware, Microsoft and OpenStack platforms. It is one of the only providers to currently support Azure Stack in technical preview, as a proof of concept.”

In addition to Fanatical Support for Azure Stack, Rackspace has worked closely with Microsoft to provide a stable test environment where businesses can test non-production workloads in a hosted single node Azure Stack Development Kit. This proof of concept is available on flexible, month-to-month contract terms and is deployed on Rackspace Rapid Deployment hardware.

“Azure Stack is an extension of Azure, providing new ways for our customers to build hybrid applications,” said Mike Schutz, general manager, Cloud Platform at Microsoft Corp. “Rackspace brings great experience with and expertise on Microsoft technologies, and offers great value in the managed services they can provide across Azure and Azure Stack. We look forward to working together with Rackspace to maximize customer value for Azure Stack.”

“Azure Stack is well-positioned to become the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution, but many customers will need help operating it at scale to realize its full benefits,” said Ramakant Pandrangi, vice president and general manager of Microsoft Clouds at Rackspace. “Through Fanatical Support for Azure Stack, Rackspace will make the solution accessible to organizations of all sizes.”

“As a long-time Microsoft partner, Rackspace has gained significant hybrid cloud expertise through managing Microsoft private cloud and Azure public cloud for more than two years,” continued Pandrangi. “We’ve been working closely with Microsoft since the first Technical Preview of Azure Stack to ensure Rackspace is the go-to provider for support for customers at any stage in their adoption of the platform, regardless of hybrid cloud skills or expertise — from testing with a single-node proof of concept, to deploying a production-ready Azure Stack cloud backed by Rackspace expertise and Fanatical Support. We are excited to be an at-launch partner for Azure Stack and look forward to our continued collaboration with Microsoft in the future.”

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