2-page Partner Case Study
Posted: 8/15/2012
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Rackspace Hosting Cloud Hosting Providers High-Availability Solution Delivers Self-Service BI

Rackspace® Hosting, a hosting and cloud computing company, serves many customers that need business intelligence (BI) tools and database business continuity. Rackspace introduced a Microsoft database solution that customers can deploy in multiple data centers. With this new solution, Rackspace customers gain BI tools to turn their data streams into insights, acquire access to high-availability and disaster-recovery features, and minimize capital expenses thanks to the hosted model.

Business Needs

Rackspace Hosting provides a broad portfolio of IT services, such as dedicated hosting and cloud computing, to more than 190,000 businesses worldwide, including more than 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies. A Microsoft partner with a Gold Hosting competency, Rackspace is a four-time winner of the Microsoft Hosting Partner of the Year award, most recently in 2012. The company has eight global data centers and more than 4,500 employees. Rackspace prides itself on its renowned service culture known as Fanatical Support®.

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* Thanks to the tools in SQL Server 2012 that encourage self-service consumption of data, Rackspace can deliver the enterprise-class BI tools that our customers need, in a managed hosting environment. *

Aaron Conklin
Product Manager
Rackspace

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“Many of our customers have big data with high-frequency transactions,” says Aaron Conklin, Product Manager at Rackspace. “They need BI tools to help them intelligently manage these data streams.” Several Rackspace customers have made long-term investments in Microsoft SQL Server 2005 software, which will reach the end of its product lifecycle in 2016.

Business continuity is also a priority for many Rackspace customers. “Customers are seeking features for their disaster-recovery plans through geographic clustering and other features of newer technologies,” Conklin says. “Many want Rackspace to help them navigate the pitfalls of the technology refresh.”

In short, current and potential Rackspace customers are looking for a hosted data management solution that provides BI insight and business continuity tools.

Solution

In June 2012, Rackspace added Microsoft SQL Server 2012 to its hosting portfolio. With this new database solution, companies can take advantage of SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services including SQL Server 2012 Power View, a BI tool that customers can use to visually explore their data.

Companies with large amounts of data and high-frequency transactions will likely use SQL Server 2012 Integration Services to monitor, tune, and debug their data flows. Customers can also cleanse and standardize data using SQL Server 2012 Data Quality Services and SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services. “Administrators often struggle to ensure that metadata and object definitions remain consistent across disparate systems in an enterprise,” Conklin says. “SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services is a valuable feature to any company looking to drive efficiency through standardization.”

Companies can develop and deploy databases using the new SQL Server Data Tools. “The SQL Server Data Tools are well designed to help our customers do SQL Server 2012 development with a distributed workforce model in the Microsoft Visual Studio development system,” Conklin says.

SQL Server 2012 also interoperates well with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. “SharePoint Server 2010 is the default collaboration platform for many of our customers,” says Conklin. “The ability to gather, analyze, and share large amounts of data from almost any data source can be a game-changer for companies interested in quickly identifying and reacting to changes in their business.”

With its hosted model, Rackspace makes software installation and licensing—plus administrative support—available to customers. “Fanatical Support means we are going to take our time to perform testing and validation as part of our service before including SQL Server 2012 in our Managed or Intensive service level,” says Conklin. “This due diligence means our customers can trust that Rackspace has the ability to support their mission-critical databases.”

By the end of 2012, Rackspace will also support SQL Server 2012 multisite clustering through its hosting model that uses multiple data centers. Conklin says, “Customers will be able to take advantage of our data centers around the world for SQL Server 2012–based disaster recovery or geographically aware load balancing.”

This model builds on the improved performance and availability features of SQL Server 2012. These features include AlwaysOn availability groups, which support up to four secondary replicas, and AlwaysOn active secondary replicas, which make it possible for report queries and backup operations to run on secondary instances. Conklin says, “SQL Server AlwaysOn has combined three formerly disparate systems—mirroring, clustering, and log shipping—into a single interface to create and manage availability.”

Benefits

Rackspace customers can use SQL Server 2012 to improve self-service BI, gain peace of mind by taking advantage of its high-availability and disaster-recovery features, and avoid large capital expenses thanks to the Rackspace managed hosting model.

Improved Self-Service BI

Companies can use SQL Server 2012 to turn their large data streams into insights that power smart business decisions. “The hosting industry has not yet sufficiently served the demand for BI tools and services,” Conklin says. “Thanks to the tools in SQL Server 2012 that encourage self-service consumption of data, Rackspace can deliver the enterprise-class BI tools that our customers need, in a managed hosting environment.”

Greater Peace of Mind

Customers can get more control of their business continuity plans using the high-availability and disaster-recovery features of SQL Server 2012. The Rackspace managed hosting model offers them access to multiple data centers, and thus also offers peace of mind. “All of our customers—enterprises and small-to-medium businesses alike—are requesting more sophisticated tools for their disaster-recovery plans,” Conklin says. “The SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn features are exactly in line with those needs.”

Low Capital Expenses

The Rackspace hosted model minimizes the large capital expenses that often prevent customers from using software tools. Conklin says, “The Rackspace managed hosting model gives customers broad access to the Microsoft software portfolio and a pool of support specialists on an as-needed basis, which drives down the overall costs for our customers.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 4800 employees

Partner Profile
Rackspace Hosting, based in San Antonio, Texas, provides Fanatical Support® to its customers and partners across a broad portfolio of enterprise-level IT services, including public cloud, private cloud, hybrid hosting, and dedicated hosting.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server Data Quality Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server Master Data Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools

Vertical Industries
Hosters & ISPs

Country/Region
United States

Business Need
Business Intelligence and Reporting

IT Issue
High Availability

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Microsoft Services

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