Rackspace is partnering with FathomDB, a relational database-as-a-service (DaaS) company. FathomDB is a service that will make the day-to-day operations of running a database much simpler, allowing you to focus on higher end tasks of your application.
This partnership is an extension of Rackspace’s ecosystem buildout (under Cloud Tools site), and at the same time answers Amazon’s RDS announcement from last month.
Amazon move with RDS is a short term patch to help them keep their position in the market. Now Rackspace is in the game with more tools for "MySql Cloud Ready" service with FathomDB – or as Fathom says DaaS. Rackspace now has an offering to make running MySQL easier on Rackspace. This speaks to the scale issue that MySQL has in the cloud. For cloud as a platform Rackspace has to continue to add value at the platform level.
Here is the quote from General Manager of The Rackspace Cloud, Emil SayeghL
“Ensuring that our cloud is reliable and scalable, and delivering a Fanatical Support experience to our customers and partners are primary objectives for us. We support strategic partnerships because they extend the power of our cloud offerings. By working together with FathomDB, as well as the Cassandra open source project, we are simplifying the challenging nature of scaling databases in the cloud. It is through transparent relationships like these that we can solve many customer needs; meanwhile our competitors are trying to solve these problems alone.”
What Does This Really Mean?
This highlights some key differences between Rackspace and Amazon.
Amazon is focused on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) verses Rackspace’s Platform as a Service (PaaS); Amazon is innovating at the commodity level (Spot Pricing) while Rackspace is doing it at the platform level (Support and new capabilities).
On the competitive front Amazon is turning into a hosting company not a computing company. The end game for Amazon is to move from a computing cloud to a hosting cloud. Rackspace have already established a viable Platform as a Service (PaaS) on top of their infrastructure.
2) Ecosystem philosophy:
Amazon builds their own solutions disregarding the ecosystem (in this case RDS almost killed FathomDB as speculated by GigaOm) verses Rackspace who is actively building a community of partners and sharing the market opportunity
Ecosystem 101 – Partner with Allies Don’t Kill Them
A piece of advice to platform players: please learn what Microsoft did in the late 80s and 90s with their developers. If you want a successful, vibrant, and profitable ecosystem of partners allow them to grow and then make them successful. What you don’t do is encourage embryonic growth (startups and business partners) to develop a whitespaces and new markets then decide to abort them and kill them off. Hello Amazon as speculated by GigaOm in RDS and FathomDB example. Trust among partners is very important.
Rackspace business deal in essence saves FathomDB and ensures a healthy opportunity to add value. This is the big story and one that I’m focused on in other areas – Cisco in particular of late.
Ecosystems create companies and companies create categories of new industries. M&A and evil behavior create monopolies and self gain.
History Lesson – Late 80s early 90s – PC Revolution
Back in that day Microsoft did it right. They were fierce competitors if your were on the opposite side of their religion – PC Revolution, but loyal and nurturing partners if you were in their developer ecosystem -everyone on the ecosystem side did great.
That handful of characters led by Microsoft (and Intel) created an industry. Amazing new possibilities, opportunities, companies, job, wealth, and value for consumers and users. The same opportunity is now with the Cloud Revolution.
Rackspace is taking a page out of Microsoft’s playbook – create a big pie and share it to the ecosystem. Back east we have a saying "you dance with the ones who brought you" – if there is a big market share with partners who helped create it.
On the surface it seems like just another announcement, but there is a big story is not just Rackspace verses Amazon.
It’s about the future of the "Cloud Revolution" ecosystem. What kind of ecosystem do you want for th Cloud Revolution?