Rackspace Inc. is a managed cloud computing company based in Windcrest, Texas, USA, a suburb of San Antonio, Texas. The company also has offices in Australia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Israel, The Netherlands, India, and Hong Kong, and data centers operating in Texas, Illinois, Virginia, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Hong Kong. The company's email and apps division operates from Blacksburg, VA; other offices are located in Austin, Texas. In 2016, Rackspace closed its San Francisco office.
In 1996, Richard Yoo started a small Internet service provider called Cymitar Network Systems out of his garage apartment in San Antonio, Texas. The company began doing application development work in addition to offering basic Internet access and web hosting. In 1997, Yoo brought on Dirk Elmendorf. When the company began to develop Internet applications as its primary business, the company was re-formed as Cymitar Technology Group. As Cymitar Technology Group grew, Patrick Condon was recruited from California and joined the team in 1998. Coincidentally, all three of the company's founders were students at one time at Trinity University in San Antonio.
Although the founders began as application developers for end users, they found that most companies did not either know how or want to host their applications. The founders wanted to focus on application development–not hosting–but they were unable to find an opportunity to outsource the hosting work. Eventually, the founders realized that it would be better to create a product to serve the hosting need and launch it as a company. Rackspace was launched in October 1998 with Richard Yoo as its CEO. Although most hosting companies focused on the technology end of hosting, Rackspace created its "Fanatical Support" offering to focus on service and support. On March 28, 2000, Rackspace received funding through Norwest Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital. George J. Still, Jr., Managing Partner at Norwest, subsequently joined the Board of Directors.
In 2008, Rackspace moved their headquarters from a building once occupied by Datapoint Corporation to the then-unoccupied Windsor Park Mall in Windcrest, Texas. Rackspace's Chairman, Graham Weston, owned the Montgomery Ward building in the mall until 2006, when it was sold to a developer. The city of Windcrest purchased 111 acres (0.45 km2) south of the mall to create a residential and retail complex. The facility is located next to Roosevelt High School, and many Roosevelt students intern at Rackspace.
The Fortune magazine's "Top 100 Best Companies to Work For 2008" placed Rackspace as #32 the first year that Rackspace applied for consideration. The company was praised for its transparency. Regular "Open Book" meetings are held where the top level leaders share in-depth financial information with all employees. In 2011 and 2013, the company was named as one of the top 100 places to work by Fortune.
On August 8, 2008, Rackspace opened for trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "RAX" after its initial public offering (IPO) in which it raised $187.5 million. The initial public offering included 15,000,000 shares of its common stock at a price of $12.50 per share. The IPO did not do well in the public market and lost about 20% of its initial price almost immediately.
On September 8, 2010, Rackspace received national attention when they decided to discontinue providing web hosting service to one of their customers, Dove World Outreach Center. This was in reaction to Dove World's pastor Terry Jones' plan to burn several copies of the Qur'an on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Rackspace claims that this violated their company policy. This move came under criticism, notably from Terry Jones himself, who described it as an "indirect attack on our freedom of speech." Others questioned the appropriateness of Rackspace's action, stating that there is "absolutely no reason for web hosts to have an editorial policy, and this only gives Jones more attention, and makes him look more persecuted."
In October, 2014, Rackspace announced that it would sell and support Google Work apps for business customers.
CloudU is a professional certification established by Rackspace. The designation certifies that individuals have demonstrated competency, knowledge, skills, and abilities in the blended discipline of cloud computing, through a rigorous qualification and testing program.
Rackspace has two primary lines of business; Cloud Servers and Dedicated Servers. Rackspace helps design, build, and operate workloads across both environments depending on the individual needs of the customer.
The Managed Infrastructure service level provides a core set of services necessary to set customers up in the cloud, including architecture advice, security assistance, and code development assistance (through APIs and SDKs).
The Managed Operations support level provides all Managed Infrastructure services plus additional proactive support.
The Managed service level consists of on-demand support where proactive services are provided, but the customer can contact Rackspace when they need additional assistance.
The Intensive service level consists of proactive support where many proactive services are provided, and customers receive additional consultations about their server configuration. Highly customized implementations generally fall under this level of support.
Involvement with other companies
Rackspace launched ServerBeach in San Antonio in January 2003 as a lower-cost alternative for dedicated servers designed for technology hobbyists who want flexibility and reliability. Richard Yoo was a catalyst in the startup of ServerBeach. A bandwidth and colocation provider, Peer 1 Hosting, purchased ServerBeach in October 2004 for $7.5 Million. Peer 1 Hosting entered the UK managed hosting market in January 2009 and the ServerBeach brand now competes directly with the UK arm of Rackspace, run by Dominic Monkhouse, former managing director of Rackspace Limited.
On October 1, 2007, Rackspace acquired Webmail.us, a private e-mail hosting firm located in Blacksburg, VA. Originally branded as Mailtrust on May 20, 2009, it became part of the newly formed Email and Apps division of Rackspace.
Expansion into the Asia Pacific region
The company is experiencing growth in the Asian marketplace. The Asian office is a natural step in Rackspace's expansion outside the U.S. and London to cater for worldwide customers’ needs in Hong Kong / China. Currently, rackspace holds 1.60% market share worldwide. Rackspace selected Hong Kong as the Asia Pacific regional office in part because of its reputation within the global business economy, its IT infrastructure, multiple telecommunication providers and rich talent pool. Rackspace also solicited feedback from its current customer base in the Asia Pacific region, and the majority of those respondents confirmed their preference for doing business in Hong Kong.
Rackspace serves customers worldwide and has offices in the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Israel, India, and Hong Kong, and data centers in the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. Rackspace Benelux in Amsterdam opened its offices in October 2007. Rackspace Australia in Sydney opened its offices in March 2009.
Rackspace is registered in the UK as Rackspace Ltd. and as of 2013 employed approximately 900 people, at an office (in Hayes, London Borough of Hillingdon) and a rented data center (in and around London). The company rented a fourth UK data center in Slough, Berkshire in the second quarter of 2008.
In 2014, Rackspace was ranked 29th in the Fortune 100 list of best companies to work for in the US. Starting from 2007, Rackspace has appeared on that list for 6 out of 7 years. Rackspace UK has also appeared in The Sunday Times best employers' awards for each year between 2007 and 2013. The UK division of the company has also been a part of the "Great Place To Work" rankings for 9 consecutive years from 2004, coming in 4th place in 2013 & 6th in 2014.
In April 2012, Rackspace announced it would implement OpenStack Compute as the underlying technology for their Cloud Servers product. This change introduced a new control panel as well as add-on cloud services offering databases, server monitoring, block storage, and virtual networking. In 2015, two Rackspace executives were elected to the board of the OpenStack Foundation.