Rackspace eyeing second Australian datacentre in 2015

Rackspace is looking at establishing a second datacentre in 2015, with Melbourne a likely host for the new infrastructure, according to the company's new CEO Taylor Rhodes.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

Rackspace chief executive Taylor Rhodes has revealed that the company is considering building a second Australian datacentre next year, and Melbourne is the likeliest candidate to play host to the company's new infrastructure.

The US-based cloud services provider set up its first Australian datacentre in 2012 — in Sydney's Erskine Park — three years after establishing a local presence. Since then, the company has grown its Australia and New Zealand customer base, which now includes clients such as Xero and Kogan.

"We have one datacentre now here in Sydney, and we always invest ahead of our needs — we try to keep it tightly timed, and so as we grow and expand here, we certainly will be looking at a second datacentre," Rhodes told ZDNet.

"We're evaluating the [location] now. It may be in Melbourne, which gives us a bit of DR [disaster recovery] capability, but also helps us open up the Melbourne market more," he said.

While Rhodes stressed that a final decision has not yet been made on the location of a second datacentre for the company in Australia, he did concede that 2015 is likely to see one of Australia's major cities receive a new site.

"We're going into our 2015 planning process now, so we certainly understand our capacity and our demand now, so I would assume that we would make a decision and launch additional capacity if needed some time in 2015," he said.

As it stands, Rackspace's global datacentre footprint claims presences in several regions, including three sites in its home base, the United States, along with London, Hong Kong, and, of course, Sydney. From Rhodes' perspective, this footprint represents just the beginning of the company's future infrastructure network — with Latin America next on the radar.

"Latin America for us is a target," he said. "We're a Texas-headquartered company, so we've got an adjacency to Mexico in particular, and lots of Spanish speakers in our business, so you can look at countries like Mexico, Brazil, and others in Latin America where we have a small presence today, and those are good investment areas for us."

Rhodes, who took over as chief executive from co-founder and chairman Graham Weston in September, said that the company would continue to focus on building upon its existing managed cloud strategy, after being approached earlier this year by multiple parties exploring the prospects of acquisition and murmurs of diversification.

Rhodes said the Australian market has been, and still is, ripe for Rackspace's reinvigorated focus on managed cloud services.

"The uptake on the cloud here [in Australia] has been very, very rapid, and we think that there's a great spot in this market, particularly for the managed cloud message," he said. "And the managed cloud really is about a service provider who will help companies operating IT in their own datacentres today take steps into the cloud, and then offer managed services on top of infrastructure on top of them to run the cloud."

Although Rackspace and other cloud services players such as Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft have found a fertile market in Australia, Rhodes believes that there is still a long way to go before the market will be truly tapped.

"We're really only five or six years into what is going to be a couple of decades of transition out of the corporate datacentre into clouds and managed service models," he said. "I think you can see evidence in all layers ... technology's being more and more consumed as a service, and yet, still by some accounts, 90 percent of IT in the world is still running in the corporate datacentre."

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