Rackspace and Akamai have entered into a strategic relationship through which Rackspace will resell a wide range of Akamai’s content-delivery services across Rackspace’s dedicated hosting and cloud computing businesses. Coming just a month after Rackspace bought cloud monitoring startup Cloudkick, the Akamai partnership appears to be another indicator that Rackspace is doing everything it can to put pressure on IaaS market leader Amazon Web Services, which has built its own monitoring tools and CDN, CloudFront.
Rackspace already has a CDN partnership in place with Akamai competitor Limelight Networks, but Akamai is the CDN market leader. Extending Rackspace support to Akamai services will make Rackspace look all the more appealing to customers that require content-delivery or application-acceleration services, but that would prefer to use the market-leading CDN.
However, as Akamai’s competition picks up from numerous CDN providers, as well as from telcos equipped with content-delivery tools from vendors such as Juniper Networks, it too could use an additional sales channel. Akamai has been steadily lowering its prices to attract customers from less-expensive providers.
Keeping true to its position as a value-added reseller, Rackspace will maintain its existing partnership with Limelight. According to a Rackspace spokesperson, “We continue to use Limelight to help us provide our customers with a great service experience.” It’s the same situation with existing monitoring partner Nimsoft after Rackspace bought Cloudkick. For a company like Rackspace, which is an MSP at its core, it delivers value by offering customers a variety of product options and selling services on top of them.
From Rackspace’s perspective, the timing of both the Cloudkick and the Akamai deals might be telling, as well. The OpenStack project, which Rackspace leads and the product of which will be the technological foundation for the Rackspace Cloud going forward, is slated to be service-provider ready by April. Rackspace will get a lot of attention when it becomes the first OpenStack-powered cloud provider, and having a robust product and partner ecosystem in place beforehand will help prove that Rackspace it’s ready to deliver a complete cloud experience.
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