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Rackspace and Managed Cloud Services: "Magic" or Marketing?

The new Rackspace managed cloud service offers 24/7/365 monitoring, troubleshooting and administrator assistance. But there's no magic button for easy cloud adoption.


"The Cloud" may be an industry buzzword, but many companies are starting to realize that it takes work to move to the cloud. There is no magic button that you press and instantly have your company utilizing the cloud. No matter how you slice it, IT is just complex, slow and expensive. With its new managed cloud service, Rackspace is trying to prove that even within the challenging IT realm the cloud is better, faster and cheaper than data centers. The hosting provider wants to make moving to the cloud easy so you can concentrate on what matters most: your applications.

In order to make your cloud experience magical, Rackspace has introduced a managed service level for its Cloud Servers product that will provide your cloud servers with monitoring, troubleshooting and administrator assistance 24/7/365 on both Windows and Linux. This managed service will provide the following features:

  • 24/365 chat, phone and ticket support
  • Provisioning on demand
  • 100 percent uptime guarantee
  • 100 percent HVAC/power uptime guarantee
  • Migrations
  • Image backups
  • Expanded backups
  • Server OS and application support
  • 24x7x365 monitoring, response and resolution support
  • Technical guidance
  • Account team

With the above features, Rackspace aims to do all the work and allow you to just deploy the applications and concentrate on making money -- not managing servers and a data center.

How Much Does the Rackspace Managed Service Cost?

If you have a 2GB Rackspace Cloud Server running for 730 hours or 30 days, you will pay the following:

  • An account management fee of $100.00 per month (Flat fee)
  • A utility fee of 12 cents per hour (Pay-as-you-go metered pricing)
  • A service fee of 12 cents per hour (Pay-as-you-go metered pricing)

The total would be $275.20.

Managed Cloud Services: Leveraging Laziness?

So, is this really a magical solution or just a way for a company in a questionable economy to earn a buck? As I stated previously, IT is just hard no matter how you spin it. You can sing a song all day long about support and uptime, but when you do your due diligence and you'll find Rackspace managed services complaints dating back more than two years:

  • Forced migration of servers
  • Inability to get new IP addresses
  • Rackspace IT support turnover
  • Clients that report servers down for days
  • Rude support staff

Managed cloud services seems like just another buzzword for repackaging services that Rackspace already had and adding "The Cloud" onto it. Why do you have to pay for tools to manage your cloud servers? They should be available out of the box. I would not sell you a brand new car without a spare tire or a jack. Now if you are the type of car owner who will pay for additional perks like vacuuming, oil changes, and tune-ups -- while you do nothing -- managed services such as Rackspace's may be for you. At least you are in control of how many services you need. With Rackspace managed cloud services, you pay only for the time you need the service.

Honestly, this trend is not going away anytime soon. Even if I do not completely agree with the concept, the rise of managed cloud services will continue. The industry is moving in this direction and there seems to be a demand created by laziness as we migrate from traditional hosting to cloud computing. The "magic button" concept is here to stay.

Steven S. Warren is a writer in Florida. He is the author of The VMware Workstation 5 Handbook and held the Microsoft MVP award for 8 consecutive years. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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