Rackspace Will Add Windows Server 2012 to Its Cloud Service

By Robert J. Mullins  |  Posted 2012-07-09 Print this article Print

At the Microsoft World Partner Conference opening in Toronto, Rackspace is announcing support for Windows Server 2012 in its cloud service and its traditional hosting solution.

Cloud service and application hosting provider Rackspace is going to announce its support for the upcoming Windows Server 2012 enterprise operating system at Microsoft€™s World Partner Conference beginning July 9 in Toronto.

While other cloud providers are expected to support Windows Server 2012 as well, Rackspace€™s offering differs from that of other providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), on the level of service and support it provides to its customers, said John Engates, chief technology officer for Rackspace, who called AWS€™s offering €œself-managed.€

€œThey don€™t troubleshoot your applications, and they don€™t notify you if your application goes down at 3 in the morning. It€™s really up to you,€ Engates said.

Rackspace, on the other hand, has done a deep dive into Windows Server 2012, its features and capabilities, to better serve their customers that€™ll be using it, he said. Furthermore, to get ready to support users of the Microsoft SharePoint document-sharing platform, Rackspace acquired in February 2012 a consulting and support service company, SharePoint911, which Engates said has the €œdeepest bench of experts€ on SharePoint in the world.

€œAt some enterprises, SharePoint gets deployed by accident,€ Engates said, after one or a handful of employees start using it and over time adoption grows organically. But no one is ever trained to use SharePoint or get the most out of it.

Engates was constrained as to how much detail he could disclose about Windows Server 2012 at the insistence of Microsoft, which is expected to reveal more details at the conference.

However, Microsoft has widely touted the improvements coming in Windows Server 2012, most recently at its TechEd North America conference in Florida last month and at a workshop for Microsoft-certified software engineers in May.

There, Chris Avis, senior IT evangelist at Microsoft, explained how Windows Server 2012, coupled with the Hyper-V hypervisor for virtual environments, improves security and isolation in multi-tenant cloud environments, allows the migration of virtual machines from one physical server to another without any downtime, enables network virtualization and boosts performance on several metrics.

Engates was able to disclose that Rackspace will be named the 2012 Microsoft Hosting Partner of the Year at the conference, its fourth time winning that honor. Rackspace has long been a hosting service that ran Websites for companies on its infrastructure, a precursor to cloud computing.

Windows Server 2012 will also be at the core of Rackspace€™s Cloud Sites platform as a service (PaaS) offering, which Engates explained hosts thousands of client Websites on one server in a nonvirtual environment. In the early days of Web servers, the hardware may have been able to support thousands of sites on one server but the software could not. But with the introduction of Windows Server 2008€”and now with 2012€”that problem has been solved.

Robert Mullins is a freelance writer for eWEEK who has covered the technology industry in Silicon Valley for more than a decade. He has written for several tech publications including Network Computing, Information Week, Network World and various TechTarget titles. Mullins also served as a correspondent in the San Francisco Bureau of IDG News Service and, before that, covered technology news for the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. Back in his home state of Wisconsin, Robert worked as the news director for NPR stations in Milwaukee and LaCrosse in the 1980s.

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