Rackspace Hopes to Abolish In-House Servers

Rackspace's new initiative is part of a broader IT industry toward cloud computing.

Rackspace Hosting on Wednesday announced an online community called No More Servers : The End of In-House Servers that offers full hosting of all of an enterprise's needs, including the hardware.

It would seem the logical follow-up to the software as a service and platform as a service movements. Salesforce.com's slogan for many years was "No Software." No hardware can be described as Rackspace's mantra.

To that end, the firm hired industry analyst Andy Schroepfer as vice president for strategy. Schroepfer has worked as an analyst for the hosting industry since its inception in the late 1990s along with stints at Piper Jaffray, Goldman Sachs and Tier 1 Research, which he founded.

The initiative is built on Schroepfer's vision of an "all-cloud enterprise" where enterprises don't host anything any more. It's similar to Building 43, a Rackspace-sponsored online community led by blogger Robert Scoble. Building 43 aim is to help small businesses make better use of technology and social networking sites to increase their exposure.

The site's focus will reflect "an evolution towards the world where people aren’t buying in-house servers anymore," Schroepfer says in an introductory video on the top page of NoMoreServers.com. The site will feature daily commentary expanding on this vision, along with news, third-party content, daily commentary and a live community portal for visitors.

"A new way to run business computing is emerging," said Lanham Napier, president and CEO of Rackspace in a statement. "We have countless business customers tell us they are finished buying servers and are looking for a computing partner. People don’t want to buy standalone computing, they want computing as a service with Fanatical Support. This trend will have major implications on the entire IT industry, and there is no one more qualified to cover it day-to-day than Andy."

No more servers, really?

Andi Mann, vice president of research for systems and storage management with Enterprise Management Associates, thinks the enterprise will never go datacenter-free.

"My gut reaction is this is not going to get the larger enterprises to give up their datacenters," he told InternetNews.com. "There's nothing in what Rackspace is doing that shows me the responsibility and accountability that larger enterprises need. I can see larger enterprises using it on a smaller and ad hoc basis. But when it comes to areas around compliance, security, response time, these things are what make businesses tick."

Mann said most cloud services providers don't promise the same performance levels of an in-house datacenter. He noted Amazon said it can't guarantee PCI (define) compliance or response times. "Rackspace is in the same boat. They are not providing the responsibility large enterprises absolutely need," he said.

Mann added this would be better suited for the SMB market.

"Cloud has a lot of opportunity and a lot of weight for small and medium-sized business to get rid of their services. Often these smaller companies can't afford an IT person, let alone a department. Getting someone else to do it for them is a huge opportunity for SMBs to focus on being better at their business," he said.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com.

Tags: cloud computing, services, Enterprise, Salesforce.com, Rackspace

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