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Rackspace snaps up SharePoint911

Fanatical Microsoft collaboration

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Managed hosting and cloud computing provider Rackspace Hosting has hired a bunch of techies with expertise in a particular software stack, this time focusing on Microsoft's SharePoint web content and document collaboration tools.

Rackspace today snapped up privately held SharePoint911, a consulting firm based in the hamlet of Maineville in southwestern Ohio that, as founder Shane Young puts it, pays the "big mouths" that are "fanatical about SharePoint."

SharePoint911 was founded by Young in 2004, and currently employs 19 people. Six of those employees are rated as Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) by Microsoft and have together written eleven books on Microsoft's collaboration tools. Young tells El Reg that SharePoint has "been profitable all along," so the acquisition is not going to put a dent in Rackspace's future earnings. The company has more than 500 customers.

Bret Piatt, who is in charge of corporate development and strategy at Rackspace, says that Rackspace has been offering SharePoint hosting for the past four years and has seen rapid adoption across the Rackspace customer base. "We've got a great team of Rackers, but the SharePoint911 team is unparalleled in the industry."

The financial details of the SharePoint911 acquisition were not divulged.

The deal is similar in some respects to the Rackspace acquisition last February of Anso Labs. Anso was a subcontractor to NASA on its "Nebula" compute and storage cloud, an effort that ultimately was transformed through an alliance with Rackspace into the OpenStack cloud controller project in July 2010.

It is the Anso team, now working at Rackspace, that has augmented the preexisting cloud development team at the hosting company and that allows Rackspace to peddle services to customers under its Cloud Builders program.

As for SharePoint, Microsoft says that there are around 125 million seats in use worldwide, and that around 65 per cent of the software giant's enterprise customers use it to collaborate on projects.

Piatt was not tipping any cards, but conceded to El Reg that if it was going to buy any more services-oriented specialists, they would be companies that have expertise in technologies that have already been broadly adopted – such as SharePoint – or have the prospect of being broadly adopted – such as OpenStack.

Those of you with services expertise with Exchange Server, SQL Server, and any open source alternatives might want to think about contacting Piatt if you are ready to cash in. ®

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