By CommsDay International
Rackspace Hosting, the global hosting service provider, will open its first Australian office next month in Sydney, the company’s MD, Asia Pacific, Jim Fagan told CommsDay in Hong Kong this week.
“We have a lot of Australian customers hosting with us in the US, mostly due to the bandwidth issues out of Australia, we feel it is time we have a team to service these customers and to drive new customers in that market,” Fagan said. The new team will be based out of Sydney and report to Fagan, who is based in Hong Kong and led the company’s expansion in the region with its first data centre facility in the city.
Presently, the company has 21 employees in the Hong Kong office, with about a dozen technical staff managing the data centre and the rest mostly in Sales and Marketing.
According to Fagan, the company will continue to expand its resources in the region despite the current economic gloom in global markets.
While he said that the collapse of the financial industry, which accelerated with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers days after the company launched its Asian operations with a US$20 million investment, has had some impact to its business in the region, the company continues to see good growth opportunities here.
Part of the business drivers for setting up its operations in Hong Kong was an anticipated demand from its US based customers to migrate some of their hosting to the Asian region, Fagan said. “That part of the business didn’t fulfill expectations.”
However, Fagan added that the company’s value proposition of managed hosting solutions that reduce operating costs for corporations has gained traction in the region. He revealed that most of the company’s new sales are now from local businesses. At the same time, the economic downturn has also opened up new opportunities for Rackspace.
“Customers who never would have thought about us are now looking at us,” Fagan said. “They are seeing their budget for next year and realizing that they can’t do it, so they are coming to us and saying ‘let’s see what you guys can do’.”
Globally, Rackspace registered 4,000 new managed hosting customers since September last year for a total of 18,000 customers.
CLOUD LAUNCH IN MARCH
Meanwhile, the company is also readying the official launch of its cloud computing portfolio next month. According to Fagan, the company will go to market with three cloud services options – Cloud Sites, Cloud Files and Cloud Servers. These represent a pool of hardware resources that will be offered to customers via a web-based control panel.
“The elements are already up and running,” he said. “It is a matter of taking them out of beta and offering commercially to our customers.”
Originally, the cloud-based services will be served from the company’s primary data centre in Dallas, Texas, but plans are in place to expand those resources to Rackspace’s UK and Hong Kong data centres, Fagan said.
While cloud computing is one of the hottest trends in the IT industry today, it remains untested waters when it comes to the business model.
Initially, the Rackspace cloud services will be offered on a pay-per-use basis. For example, cloud storage services will be charged a fixed fee for volume of data stored in the cloud, with subsequent charges based on the time that the data is accessed by the customers. The model adopts a global pricing scheme, but Fagan admits that it continues to be fluid as different cost models and economic conditions between markets may require further adjustments.
This article was first published in CommsDay International