(Note: This is a guest post by Rackspace Technical Product Manager John Ross)
Hi, I’m John Ross, a Microsoft SharePoint MVP and Technical Product Manager at Rackspace. In case you haven’t heard the news, Rackspace and AvePoint are officially partners! There’s a number of questions that everyone has, so I’m going to do my best to answer a few of the biggest ones that many folks are wondering about.
Why did Rackspace and AvePoint decide to partner?
The truth is that, historically, Rackspace has tried to remain vendor agnostic. But back in February 2012, Rackspace acquired a small SharePoint consultancy called SharePoint911. I came over as a part of the acquisition, and as consultants it was our job to give opinions on things. Over time, as the SharePoint911 consulting business became more integrated into the Rackspace SharePoint business, we eventually made the decision that there would be a benefit to partnering with companies that were also leaders in the SharePoint industry. AvePoint’s products were a natural fit. Many of our customers were already AvePoint customers, so it wasn’t really that big of a stretch to basically formalize something we’ve been doing informally for a long time.
AvePoint and Rackspace have been friends for a long time. AvePoint has been making SharePoint products since SharePoint first became a thing, and I’ve known several AvePoint folks from their work in the community for many years. We kicked around the idea for a while, but now the timing is right. As the SharePoint landscape continues to evolve, we want to show customers how Rackspace’s offering is expanding along with it. The partnership allows us to combine the best of what both companies offer and create new solutions for customers that are unique in the marketplace.
What does it mean for Rackspace and AvePoint to be partners? Did you guys just sign some papers, put something on a website, and then call it a day?
Very fair question. Actually, the answer to this question is that the whole process of establishing a partnership would have been a lot simpler if the goal was just to have some basic partnership – but that’s not the case here.
Our goal for the partnership is to continue to work together offering great products and services for our customers. Initially, this means that current and future Rackspace customers will have the ability to more easily take advantage of AvePoint’s products. We’ll have more specifics on the details of this very soon but I’m excited to see what’s possible by Rackspace and AvePoint working more closely together.
Could you be a little less vague? I thought you were going to give us some details! Is there anyone else who can answer these questions?
Tough crowd today. All Rackspace Managed SharePoint customers will have AvePoint’s DocAve Backup and Restore, DocAve Report Center, and DocAve Content Manager products included as part of their support while hosting at Rackspace. This offering won’t be widely available for another month or so and we’ll make an official announcement when it is. Also, Rackspace customers will be able to purchase all other AvePoint products directly from Rackspace.
That all sounds like a bunch of canned marketing fluff. Between us, what do you really think about this whole thing?
Well, it might be difficult to understand from the outside, but at Rackspace, when we’re managing our customer’s SharePoint farms, we run into the same issues everyone else does. Obviously, managing SharePoint is easier with tools – especially when you’re managing lots of SharePoint environments. About a year ago, I tossed out the idea that partnering with a software vendor and standardizing on a toolset would make our engineers’ lives easier and provide better service to customers. It all sounded great in theory, but we needed to figure a few things out.
First off, there are tons of great SharePoint vendors with great products – where should we start? After some searching and evaluating, we decided that AvePoint would be our first partner of this type. The whole process has taken almost a year, and I think it is safe to say that I think we picked wisely. I’ve spent lots of time in meetings over the last year with AvePoint and haven’t ever had any second thoughts. All the folks at AvePoint fit well with the culture and commitment to service that we have at Rackspace. It makes it easy to work with them because they do things pretty much the same way we do – I swear they must even hire people from the same places.
But what do I think about the partnership? I think it’s going to be awesome! As a technical product manager, I’m excited about all the possibilities that can come from partnering with a company like AvePoint. It opens up the potential to provide solutions to customers that leverage the best of what both companies offer. Our engineers are already formulating tons of great ideas about what we can do in the future thanks to this partnership.
In the end, though, I’m most excited about the SharePoint experience that we’ll be able to provide to customers with the two companies working together. For customers looking for fully managed SharePoint hosting experience (i.e. we manage your SharePoint environment for you), I’ve always felt Rackspace is the best in the industry. The partnership is going to take the SharePoint hosting experience to a new level.
It all sounds like a good thing, sorry about being a little cranky earlier.
It’s okay. We’re cool.
I’ve got one more question.
Now that you’re good friends with AvePoint, can you hook me up with one of those fancy motorcycles they give away at conferences?
Sorry, one other question. The AvePoint folks always throw great parties, can you get me into the next one?
To learn more about the partnership between Rackspace and AvePoint, be sure to visit AvePoint’s site today!