Rackspace CEO: Partners Critical To Fulfill Services Vision

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Rackspace bleeds enthusiasm. And nowhere is that more noticeable than in the person of Rackspace's energetic CEO, Lanham Napier.

At the San Antonio-based hosting-turned-cloud-computing company's Partner Leadership Summit, Napier outlined how Rackspace and its "rackers" -- a term of affection for its employees -- will use its razor sharp focus on service to win in the market and in the channel and how through its "fanatical support" it will beat all comers. Rackspace may not be able to out-geek Amazon, Napier said, but Rackspace "will out-serve Amazon Web Services."

That attitude has helped push Rackspace to more than 100,000 customers in 120 countries, more than 2 million enterprise-class e-mail boxes and more than 62,000 servers. And the channel is key to Rackspace's growth plan. The company said its long-term goal is to have 70 percent of its business come through its channel, which is currently just shy of 4,500 partners strong.

"When we think about our partner program, we want to hold you to the same standard we hold our customers," Napier told a room full of Rackspace partners. And to prove he meant it, he offered up his cell phone number to the crowd with the open invitation to call him any time. "Let's go serve our customers really well together," he told them.

CRN sat down with Napier to talk about how Rackspace is helping its young channel -- which just formed in earnest last September -- attack the explosive cloud and hosting markets and where the biggest opportunities lie for its partners as Rackspace drives to fulfill its goal of becoming one of the world's best services companies. Here are highlights from that conversation.


Next: Driving Partner Revenue

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