Rackspace is driving forward its repositioning and accelerating the adoption of AI solutions

PAC attended Rackspace’s event for advisors and analysts in the DACH region, where the provider presented the most recent milestones of its 25-year journey. Rackspace has developed from a provider of hosting products to the co-developer (together with NASA) of the OpenStack cloud computing platform to today’s positioning as a multi-cloud solution provider with a focus on end-to-end services around infrastructure, apps, data, security, and AI.

Rackspace still highlights its more than 35 data centers worldwide, its private cloud hosting capacities, and its IP related to the automation of solution management and support. As of December 2022, 6,000 Rackspace employees served 100,000 customers in 120 countries. However, the company has primarily extended its consulting and managed services business around the hyperscale platforms from AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud over the past few years.

Focus on hybrid and multi-cloud

Rackspace’s services are organized into two business units today:

  • Rackspace Private Cloud
  • Managed Public Cloud

The latter offers a comprehensive plan-build-operate services portfolio and boasts various technical certifications and dedicated hyperscaler-related capabilities.  

However, Rackspace sees its USPs in its focus on “workload-aware cloud modernization” – understanding the specifics of application and data workloads and customers’ desired business outcomes is considered key to finding the right “home” for a workload in the cloud, be it a public or private cloud, or the enterprise edge – and in its comprehensive experience in running hybrid and multi-cloud workloads globally, 24/7, in a secure and sustainable way.

In PAC’s SITSI vendor rankings for hosted private cloud and managed cloud services, Rackspace is ranked among the top players, both in the worldwide rankings and in the EMEA rankings. Moreover, cloud-related consulting & systems integration services have also been expanded.

Focus on public cloud-related services for the enterprise market in DACH

While at the global level, the SME mass-market remains a target customer segment, in addition to the mid-market and enterprise segments, and private cloud hosting clearly still accounts for the biggest part of the business, Rackspace DACH primarily focuses on larger accounts and on positioning as marketer and end-to-end services partner to the hyperscale cloud providers.

That is why representatives of the three public cloud partners were on site to present joint customer success stories. Toi Toi & Dixi, e.g., outlined how Rackspace helped them with the migration of a huge and very complex post-M&A IT landscape to a native AWS environment in a very short time frame. BMG highlighted Google Cloud’s big data capabilities for their data-heavy business. Other Rackspace customers in the DACH region include organizations from various industries, e.g., Aktion Mensch, Aramex, a global German logistics company, a multinational Japanese electronics company, a large international furniture store, and German automotive companies.

Accelerating business value through responsible AI solutions

The event placed a particular focus on the newly developed “Foundry for AI by Rackspace (FAIR),” a “global incubator focused on accelerating business value through responsible AI solutions across all industries.”

Secure distributed cloud platforms form the basis of the FAIR AI stack, comprising managed public cloud services, e.g. for post-training and fine-tuning of foundational models, prompt engineering, industrialized large language model ops (LLMOps), as well as Rackspace Private Cloud services, such as providing IaaS and PaaS for the training of foundational models and post-training of foundational models with enterprise data.

Rackspace engages with clients in a structured way, using various IP-based accelerators that are available on the hyperscalers’ marketplaces, from understanding their AI readiness and goals and the setup of a platform for AI to the selection of a foundational model, the preparation of data and adaptation of the model, to the establishment of automated DataOps, MLOps, and LLMOps, governance, and continuous optimization.

Rackspace emphasizes that AI has to be symbiotic in its approach, i.e., it should not replace humans but support them, that security has to be embedded (“secure by design”), and that it has to be sustainable.

Productizing AI solutions

Besides several FAIR-based custom AI solutions, two Rackspace AI products were highlighted:

  • Rackspace Intelligent Assistant for IT (RITA) is an interactive conversational AI system that uses language modeling techniques to answer ad-hoc text requests to automate more than 80% of IT service requests.
  • Rackspace Intelligent Copilot for the Enterprise (ICE) harnesses the power of AI to aggregate islands of information into a contextual knowledge base that is searchable through a human-friendly natural-language interface.

Data is key, also for sustainability

Rackspace considers its data-related competencies as a major differentiator for most of its offerings, be it workload modernization, cloud migration, AI solutions, security, or sustainability services. That is why the provider considers itself well-positioned to drive data-driven sustainability approaches within the IT, but also beyond. Rackspace was a founding board member of sustainableIT.org, for instance, “a non-profit organization led by technology executives that aim at advancing sustainability through technology leadership,” and has developed a reference architecture for carbon accounting to accelerate carbon reporting.

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