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Rackspace Partners with Microsoft To Support Azure

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Rackspace this week announced that it will begin offering managed support services for Microsoft's Azure cloud platform.

Recently named Rackspace CEO Taylor Rhodes announced the agreement, dubbed "Fanatical Support for Azure," on the keynote stage at this week's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) alongside Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for Microsoft's cloud and enterprise business.

"We have hundreds of Microsoft-certified professionals on our team," Rhodes said at WPC. "And now they can help customers who want to leverage the power of Azure to architect their applications the right way from the start. To deploy to the platform much faster than they usually can on their own and, importantly, you will keep evolving your product, so we'll keep up with your releases in hopes that they use Azure to its full potential so they get full value."

Rackspace will offer managed 24x7x365 support via its staff of Microsoft certified engineers, architectural guidance, monitoring and hybrid deployment services. Customers can purchase support for Azure services they already have or purchase Azure infrastructure and have Rackspace support it, as well.

The arrangement may come as a surprise, given that Rackspace already runs its own public Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud, which competes with Azure.

However, Rackspace has partnered with Microsoft for 13 years; it has long offered SharePoint hosting and also recently began supporting Office 365 and SQL Server, along with other Microsoft infrastructure-based services. Last year, Rackspace said it would support Microsoft's Cloud OS Network, as well as introduced new services based on Hyper-V.

Meanwhile, Microsoft, which offers Azure primarily as a self-service cloud, is relying on partners like Rackspace to offer Azure-based services and support.

Rackspace's own cloud IaaS is based on OpenStack, which it helped create and championed its move into the open source community five years ago. But the company has struggled over the past few years and recently put itself up for sale, only to subsequently decide to remain a publicly traded company. 

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About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.