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Go East! Rackspace expands public cloud to Asia

Doubles Hong Kong datacentre space to launch new offering

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Rackspace Hosting announced the launch of its first public cloud service in Asia in Hong Kong today, allowing businesses in the region to tap the firm’s Hybrid Cloud offering for a more flexible mix-and-match approach to IT infrastructure.

Rackspace Hybrid Cloud gives customers the option to choose any combination of public and private cloud and dedicated servers.

It promotes the public offering for “spiky” apps which can cope with higher latency; private for those requiring extra security; and dedicated servers for legacy apps and those with low latency requirements.

“People say the public cloud is for everyone but not everything, but I believe the Hybrid Cloud is for everyone and everything,” Rackspace APAC MD Ajit Melarkode told The Reg.

“You can use dedicated servers, public cloud or private cloud and RackConnect to connect them, and you have our fanatical support underlying everything.”

The announcement comes a few months after the firm launched a public cloud down under but given the vast geography covered by APAC, Rackspace was always going to launch an additional offering for Asian businesses.

“A lot of our Fortune 100 and FTSE 100 customers have expanded their operations here so as they expand globally we expand with them,” said Melarkode.

He added that there were also significant opportunities to service new companies in the region which are “leapfrogging onto new technologies like mobile and the cloud”.

Rackspace is certainly throwing its weight behind its APAC HQ in Hong Kong, hiring Melarkode in recent months as well as a regional CTO, lead engineers, enterprise and SMB support technicians, and rolling out the usual HR, finance and marketing functions.

Melarkode said the expansion had meant an approximate doubling of datacentre space and headcount, with the same expected this coming year.

These investments and others like it in the region may go some way to explaining why margins are lower this year than they were in 2011 and 2012, according to an August earnings call.

CEO Lanham Napier promised at the time that the firm was doing the “heavy lifting” now to get into a better position to tap the growing cloud market down the line, but as The Reg pointed out, it’s also the price you pay for trying to compete with Amazon Web Services.

Last month, Gartner ranked Rackspace’s public cloud some way behind AWS, saying it fit only 53 per cent of enterprise criteria versus 55 per cent for Azure and 71 per cent for Amazon.

Still, it’ll be good for Asian businesses to have an alternative in the region, and an OpenStack-supporting one at that. ®

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