When it comes to choosing a hosting provider for your ecommerce storefront, Rackspace is about as far from being the right choice as possible. There, we said it. So why are they so big, how do they have thousands of employees and appear in a Gartner Magic Quadrant I hear you cry?
In many cases, it’s a classic case of the “no one ever got fired for buying IBM” argument. They’re seen as the safe bet because of their 20+ years in business and their size. But the demands of ecommerce, especially given the 10 years worth of growth the segment has seen in just the last few months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, have far outstripped the traditional hosting providers’ capabilities.
How do we know this? In the last 6 months alone, more than 40 businesses have been #rescuedfromRackspace, and with more coming, we figured it was time to highlight what these businesses are really looking for, and what Rackspace cannot provide:
1. VALUE FOR MONEY
AWS, and the other major cloud service providers (CSPs) like Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, have enormous economies of scale, and as such have been able to reduce prices many times over the years. Rackspace simply can’t compete here, nor can it compete with the seemingly endless roll out of new features from these technology giants. Rackspace is also carrying large amounts of debt, and after its second disappointing IPO in early August, it’s only now back to its opening price thanks to news of a possible investment from Amazon. What does that all mean for you? Extremely high prices, plain and simple. Rackspace’s overheads are huge, “fanatical support” engineers are expensive, and its rigid pricing modes are extremely sensitive to changes in hosting. For an ecommerce business, this is dangerous territory as it means that your flexibility in being able to scale is limited, and your infrastructure will almost never be right-sized. Add that all together and you get bills that are always high, and always susceptible to massive fluctuations.
Webscale was born in the cloud, and built for ecommerce. We work extensively with online businesses to help re-architect their applications to take full advantage of the cloud through a process honed over years of experience deploying thousands of global storefronts, across many different cloud providers, and across almost every ecommerce platform. Webscale was designed to support the segment’s unique need for purpose-built features, scale, security, and performance optimizations. Using the public cloud as a commodity affords Webscale customers the ability to leverage the economies of scale inherent with the platform, something that is impossible in managed hosting environments, or via antiquated “lift and shift” approaches.
2. AUTOMATION, NOT PEOPLE POWER
The future is not “2700+ fanatical AWS support technicians” (who you are paying through the nose for), the future is smart, intelligent automation, and a system that maintains itself in the public cloud, without human intervention. Rackspace has done a good job of claiming their support is the gold standard, but the truth is that when it comes to the near-immediate ticket response times needed by ecommerce businesses, they fall short. And while Rackspace was formerly known for its ecommerce knowledge, those specialists have long since departed, making way for more general cloud specialists. Today, even with their premium support, they only offer a 60 minute SLA (vs 15 minutes for Webscale), and for a Fortune 1000-sized business, that hour could cost $1 Million or more.
How do we know this is an issue? Performance Health was #rescuedfromRackspace, after using their Managed AWS service. They experienced “multiple hour-long outages”, lost customer data and received “horrible customer support” throughout. While they were extremely unhappy with Rackspace, they had struggled to find a provider who would be any better. They found Webscale and the rest, as they say, is beautiful history:
“Webscale listened to our needs and addressed each one, always exceeding our expectations. The entire process from inception to launch went extremely well and we could not have been happier.” – Performance Health
Another customer we signed just a month ago, is a household name jeweler who cited poor support for their Magento 2 storefront as their primary reason to move off Rackspace. But that wasn’t all. They were also hit with a DDoS attack and were struggling with performance issues across their site. After putting in a support request, they “waited days for a response”. As a jeweler, with a high average cart size, both the slow site loads and the security threats were very damaging to the business, and with no immediate support on hand to resolve, they decided it was time to find a new hosting partner, and we were happy to help.
3. POWERFUL FUNCTIONALITY, BUILT FOR THE CLOUD
With its roots firmly planted in traditional data center hosting, ie: not the cloud, Rackspace has developed a people-driven approach to their hosting solutions. Without automation, their response to capacity changes is slow, and any scaling needs require prior planning, which does not fit well with the dynamic nature of ecommerce. In addition to scaling, there is no functionality offered in their base hosting platforms to address application performance and security. While there are some optional extras that can be added to these hosting configurations to address these areas, these obviously—you guessed it—add more cost, and more importantly, complexity.
How do we know? Alex and Ani were #rescuedfromRackspace by Webscale after what had been a long relationship. During that time they had grown from a $5M business to over $500M. Their infrastructure had been frequently added to over that time, but without the tools and functionality needed to really control and manage it. When it came to the holiday season, and they needed to handle a major increase in traffic as they catered to their new, larger audience, their site didn’t scale, page load times slowed down significantly and the site even went down completely on a number of occasions.
They came to Webscale because we offered them a tightly integrated platform, delivering predictive scalability, high performance and robust security in a simple, cloud-native SaaS, with a reasonable, and predictable monthly payment.
For all the customers we have #rescuedfromRackspace, the true value of Webscale lies in our ability to continually gather anonymous intelligence from more than 3,000 storefronts hosted on our platform, including traffic, sessions, scaling needs, response times, cyberthreats, and more. This analysis delivers a deeper understanding of the impact of all these elements on the web application. When used in conjunction with machine learning algorithms that analyze, predict, and correct performance, availability, and scale out needs, as well as identify security threats as they emerge, our customers have access to the same deep insight as hyperscale e-commerce brands, like Amazon and Walmart. Their unique advantage of being able to analyze data across billions of sessions, extracting insights at scale, and planning effectively for the future is an enormous market advantage, and Webscale is working closely with its partners and customers to help level this playing field.