Hybrid cloud provider hires Microsoft channel exec

Rackspace Hosting has had a topsy-turvy start to its year in terms of leadership.

Its year started with Taylor Rhodes, the company’s Chief Customer Officer (CCO), being taken away from his duties and appointed president of the company by CEO Lanham Napier. The appointment was made effective immediately.

Then Napier retired from the company a month later. He also resigned from the Board of Directors. Graham Weston, Rackspace’s co-founder and executive chairman of the board became CEO, not Rhodes.

These management changes came weeks after the company, based in San Antonio, Tex., redesigned its public cloud offering with new cloud servers designed to deliver enhanced levels of application performance with greater speed, throughput and reliability. Rackspace’s new public cloud offering is expected to handle a variety of workloads, ranging from basic Web hosting to large scale NoSQL data stores like MongoDB and Cassandra.

Today Rackspace made another strategic appointment with the hire of Microsoft veteran Will Knight.

Knight was named the new vice president of channel partner sales and has been given one main mandate to increase sales through solution providers.

Knight arrives at Rackspace with with more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry across sales, marketing and channel strategies.

He will also be responsible for building strategic and competitive channel partner programs. While at Microsoft, Knight served in a range of partner- and customer-facing roles for Microsoft in the U.S., China and Singapore.

During his tenure in Singapore as Microsoft’s cloud sales and geo expansion lead for Asia Pacific, Knight more than doubled the business in the first year and expanded operations throughout Southeast Asia. Most recently, he served as Microsoft’s small and medium business leader for Asia Pacific, where he led sales, marketing and channel management for SMB across the region.

In this new role, Knight plans to evaluate channel programs that currently emphasize specialization and support for hybrid cloud solutions.

“Hybrid cloud is driving innovation in the market, and our robust portfolio of hybrid cloud solutions, specialized expertise and a growing partner ecosystem puts Rackspace in a unique position,” said Knight. “We’ve enhanced our programs to help us map to our partners’ specific needs more easily. The Rackspace partner network delivers a flexible way for our partners to build their businesses utilizing Rackspace service offerings.”

The current Rackspace’s partner network programs include:

  • Reseller Program – Allows companies to incorporate hybrid cloud hosting into their current product and service offerings. Resellers get access to key benefits such as competitive discounts, sales, marketing and technical resources, and on-demand training.
  • Referral Program – Provides a simplified process for referring Rackspace’s dedicated bare metal, Rackspace Private Cloud (RPC), public cloud, and email hosting to partners’ customers and prospects. Referral partners are rewarded for referring leads.
  • Cloud Affiliate Program – Enables companies to earn money and drive revenue through their own Web site by using Rackspace-approved Web banners and text links.
  • Strategic Program – Designed for companies who deliver enterprise IT infrastructure services, system integration, digital marketing, content and e-commerce solutions.

IDC analyst Steve White commented on the Knight appointment saying the addition of Knight and by evolving a stronger, more diverse set of partner programs, Rackspace has shown that it’s ready to double down on its channel strategy.

“As its channel program matures, Rackspace will appeal to an even broader ecosystem of partners, which will help support future business growth in the U.S. and abroad,” he said.

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For over 25 years, CDN has been the voice of the IT channel community in Canada. Today through our digital magazine, e-mail newsletter, video reports, events and social media platforms, we provide channel partners with the information they need to grow their business.

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