Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

In many quarters of the channel, Rackspace is viewed as a direct managed services competitor. But as the number of platforms and services that need to be managed continues to expand in the age of the cloud, many solution providers are becoming more flexible in terms of what companies they are willing to partner with under the right circumstances.

Rackspace is now firmly signaling that it wants to work more closely with channel partners that provide complementary managed services to its own. Lisa McLin, vice president of channel for Rackspace, said there are now many MSPs and system integrators that prefer to focus solely on the application level. Those MSPs can act as agents reselling managed services provided by Rackspace that focus squarely on data center infrastructure.

Rackspace prides itself on delivering what it describes as “fanatical” support. It’s difficult for many solution providers in the channel to match the same level of resources that Rackspace pours into providing that support.

In addition to supporting workloads deployed in its own data centers, Rackspace has spent the past two years expanding the managed services it provides for application workloads running on public clouds such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. In fact, Rackspace recently announced that it is expanding the AWS services it provides to include workload migration.

McLin added that the Rackspace channel program will evolve in the months ahead to provide organizations that partner with Rackspace a much broader array of sales enablement tools that will make it simpler for channel partners to navigate the Rackspace portfolio.

As the channel continues to evolve, the relationships between solution providers are becoming far more nuanced. One day, two solution providers might be locking horns over a contract, but the next day, they might agree to cooperate in order to secure a different contract.

The challenge many solution providers now face is finding a way to make sure their zeal to compete doesn’t blind them to other potential opportunities that might come their way.