Rackspace Expands SAAS Offerings to Include Online Storage

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Hosted and cloud services provider Rackspace says 65 to 70 percent of its SAAS business comes through its solution provider channel partners, and now it will expand those offerings beyond e-mail and hosted Microsoft Exchange to include two new storage services: file sharing and backup. A hosted Microsoft SharePoint offering is also in the works.

As software as a service has risen to gain the attention of more business customers and solution providers, plenty of service providers have cropped up with offerings that solution providers could private-label to their customers.

Hosting provider Rackspace has been no exception, rolling out a hosted e-mail service and then a hosted Microsoft Exchange service. And now the company is taking that a step further, launching two new hosted storage offerings. A hosted Microsoft SharePoint offering is also in the works and expected to launch in December.

An estimated 60 percent of Rackspace's overall business comes from channel partners, according to Pat Matthews, general manager of the Rackspace Email and Apps division, and that number is higher in the Email and Apps divisionprobably 65 to 70 percent, he says. Rackspace's e-mail offerings have enjoyed some success, with about 1.3 million paid e-mail users on the system and then about 150,000 users on the hosted Microsoft Exchange offering.

That success, in a market that seems hungry for hosted storage amid rumors that Google may be about to announce a "G-Drive" service, has led Rackspace to expand its offerings.

"We are moving from an e-mail-focused strategy to a much broader one," says Matthews.

The hosting and cloud computing company has added Rackspace Cloud Drive, a file storage application, and Rackspace Server Backup, an online server backup application.

Rackspace says Rackspace Cloud Drive can facilitate collaboration in an increasingly distributed world because it enables storing and sharing of files among employees. In addition, companies can access and manage data from both inside and outside of the office, and synchronize desktop folders with a cloud-based network drive across one or more computers.

Rackspace Cloud Drive also enables companies to back up data to the Rackspace cloud and then restore it in the event of a hardware failure. Plus it protects data with AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)-256 encryption using a key controlled by the customer, according to Rackspace.

Rackspace Server Backup is a cloud-based online server backup application that lets customers back up their Mac, Windows or Linux PC data to the cloud. It also uses AES-256 encryption.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com