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Microsoft Azure Gets Unexpected New Support Partner: Rackspace

It will offer round-the-clock support for new or existing Azure deployments.

The strong growth of Microsoft's Azure cloud platform is beginning to attract some strange bedfellows. As it gets more popular, other vendors, even those who may be threatened by Azure's ascendence, may form partnerships if they see potential profit.

Case in point: Rackspace has announced that it will offer managed support services for Microsoft's Azure cloud. It's a curious arrangement in that Rackspace runs its own public cloud infrastructure as a service that competes with Azure. At the same time, the two companies, partners for 13 years, obviously concluded both could benefit from offering the service.

Rackspace recently added Office 365 support as well, has long offered SharePoint hosting and more recently added SQL Server support, along with other Microsoft infrastructure-based services. Last year Rackspace said it would support Microsoft's Cloud OS hybrid cloud software as well as emphasizing new services based on Hyper-V. Meanwhile Microsoft, which offers Azure primarily as a self-service cloud, is relying in partners like Rackspace to offer Azure-based services and support.

Rackspace's own cloud IaaS is based on OpenStack, which the company helped create; Rackspace also championed OpenStack's move into the open source community five years ago. But the company has struggled over the past few years, and recently put itself up for sale only to subsequently decide to remain publicly traded.Rackspace recently named Taylor Rhodes CEO; he joined Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for Microsoft's cloud and enterprise business, on stage at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference earlier this week in Orlando.

"We have hundreds of Microsoft-certified professionals on our team," Rhodes said at WPC. "And now they can help customers who want to leverage the power of Azure to architect their applications the right way from the start. To deploy to the platform much faster than they usually can on their own, and importantly, you will keep evolving your product, so we'll keep up with your releases in hopes that they use Azure to its full potential so they get full value. "

Rackspace will offer managed 24x7x365 support via its staff of Microsoft certified engineers, architectural guidance, monitoring and hybrid deployment services. Customers can utilize support for existing Azure services they already have, or purchase Azure infrastructure and have Rackspace support it as well.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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