Rackspace Consolidates SaaS Offerings Into Single Business Unit

Rackspace on Thursday completed a consolidation of several business units that oversee various Microsoft products it offers as hosted services, unifying them all in the new Cloud Office at Rackspace.

Bret Piatt, general manager of the freshly minted business unit, told CRN that Rackspace for several years had run each Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application in its productivity and collaboration portfolio as a separate business. The company, based in San Antonio, is now "transforming them from a people and technology perspective to what we are referring to as a Cloud Office Practice Area in Rackspace."

While Rackspace is typically regarded as an Information-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, since 2007 the company has maintained a SaaS portfolio, offering customers a hosted Exchange email service, a backup and online storage solution, SharePoint collaboration tools and the Lync instant messaging platform.

[Related: Google Partners With Rackspace To Bring Fanatical Support To Google Apps]

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With the reorganization, Rackspace also will start delivering those various Microsoft products together as a combined suite, so the same user can log in to all the services simultaneously.

Jeff Chandler, president of Fairfax, Va.-based American Technology Services, told CRN, "this reorganization should reduce the clutter and help Rackspace focus better."

"It's interesting to see the back-and-forth between Rackspace and Microsoft," Chandler observed. "I would say Microsoft is in a stronger position to drive the market, ultimately, but Rackspace has a nice offering."

Last month, Rackspace revealed its trademarked Fanatical Support and managed cloud services were available for purchase to Google's enterprise cloud customers. It was a partnership between two of the largest cloud players that excluded both companies' channels.

"But our cloud office business is a very strong channel business," Piatt told CRN.

"We have specialized reseller teams that work on making our partners successful," he said, adding that includes everything from tech support to marketing assistance.