RackConnect is a hybrid of cloud services and Rackspace's more traditional managed services, and it seems to have acclimated some customers to cloud services. "We saw customers using more cloud than they did prior to hybrid," says Toby Owen, the senior manager of Rackspace's hybrid cloud services.
The reasons might be a combination of maturing cloud capabilities and the industry just getting used to the concept of clouds. Either way, about 10 percent of Rackspace's medium-sized and large customers are now using RackConnect.
To accommodate the service's not-so-niche status, Rackspace is announcing some enhancements today that take RackConnect a little more mainstream. They mostly fall under the ease-of-use category. For example, a customer's policy choices can now be applied automatically to new servers when they're added to a service.
And firewalls are automatically updated throughout a customer's cloud. That's important; bigger customers, because they have more servers, tend not to go through the work of upgrading all the security, Owen says.
Why this matters
It's anecdotal evidence that the hybrid cloud model works. Rackspace's experience might even suggest that customers are more willing to experiment with cloud services if they've got a fully managed service to fall back on.
The importance of the hybrid cloud came up at the recent Light Reading Carrier Cloud Forum. This video excerpt has Heavy Reading's Ari Banerjee talking about the service requirements for the cloud, and Matt Laslie of Savvis (now part of CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL)) explaining the benefits of a hybrid cloud service.
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— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading