Part 2: Rackspace vs Google, Amazon and Microsoft


Rackspace offers a robust suite of cloud services, including compute, storage, application and database hosting, load balancing, Colo, DNS, and a few more. They offer some of the products that Amazon and Microsoft offer, and all of the products that Google Cloud offers. Rackspace does offer managed services around their cloud products, but that isn’t too big of a big deal, since Amazon can turn around at any time, and start offering managed services. Therein lies the challenge, Rackspace only offers hosting, managed services and cloud compute/storage, and that’s it. Amazon and Microsoft offer much more than hosting services, they do CDN and media services.

Rackspace hosting should be the main business, but it should feed off other non-hosting type businesses, like CDN and Video. Rackspace has data centers all over the place, thousands of servers, PB’s of storage, Tier 1 connectivity, switches and routers. Those are the same components that power the Content Delivery Network. All that is needed is the software layer, control panels, APIs, and so on. Rackspace should buy a CDN, not start one, plus buy a few other companies that fill the gap.

Rackspace should acquire
  • CDN: Fastly or Instart Logic
  • OVP: Brightcove or Ooyala
  • High Speed FTP: Signiant

 The Outcome

Instead of going into the mechanics of the acquisition and how it would work, let’s focus on the outcome. If Rackspace acquires Fastly, Brightcove and Signiant, they would have to let those businesses run independently with their own sales staff. Next, a software layer would be needed that glues together all the various platforms: Hosting, CDN, OVP and Signiant. Finally, what would the acquisitions do for Rackspace? The acquisition would enable Rackspace to bypass Amazon, Google and Microsoft in the media services and CDN business.

  • Amazon: Rackspace buys a better CDN than Cloudfront, and offers a deeper, more extensive portfolio of media services compared to Amazon
  • Google: Leapfrogs Google in media services, since Google Cloud doesn’t do media
  • Microsoft: Surpasses Microsoft in media services, since MS doesn’t have an OVP. In addition, Rackspace will offer a more feature rich CDN

Conclusion: Rackspace needs to take radical and dramatic action. Rackspace needs a CDN, OVP and Signiant to catch up to Amazon, and bypass it. Signiant adds a great piece of technology that none of the Big Three offer now, a high speed UDP file transfer service for large file uploads. The best part is that Brightcove and Signiant bring a large media customer base to the table that probably touches more than 90% of the world’s largest media companies. Why is media cool? Because one feature film can exceed 200TB in storage. Media is all about big files, big storage, big bandwidth pipes, and big everything.

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