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Rackspace announces it has laid off 200 workers (techcrunch.com)
160 points by doppp 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 123 comments



Oh man. I've had a VPS with them since before they acquired SliceHost, and have been paying a (way overpriced) $20/mo for a SINGLE 512mb server just because the IP reputation is super squeaky clean, as it's my mail server.

They just announced a $5 hike in price this month for "fanatical" support, I haven't opened a support request with them in eons:

> In July 2014, Rackspace introduced a minimum support fee of $50 for all new accounts to offset the rising cost of providing Fanatical Support. Legacy accounts like yours were unaffected by this change, keeping your previous rate without a support fee for the past four years. Effective February 2019, you will see the addition of a $5 support fee on your invoice.

I've been grooming a elastic IP @ AWS for the last year, and rackspace is getting dropped this week.


What tools do you use to monitor IP cleanliness? I monitor mine with free blacklist monitoring tools, but a lot of my emails to corporate addresses end up bouncing. The rejection message often gives a generic error so I'm not sure if that's my fault or not.


I use the free tools as well, but most of the folks I consult for, I also administer their mail account server @ Google or Microsoft, so I can keep an eye on both sides of the transaction. Implementing SPF/DKIM/DMARC/smtp-tls also helped keep things clean. You can register as a postmaster @ AOL, Microsoft & Google, and also get reports if something is reported as spam.

A well behaved remote mail server should either reject/bounce the message, or deliver it to a user's spam folder, it should never just drop it. Unfortunately, It's near impossible to determine if your message ended up in a user's spam folder :(

My server sends 50-100 messages a month, tops, and I never send mass messages, just direct messages to family, friends & customers. The biggest issue I had was when Rackspace periodically (+ voluntarily) reported their VPS IP space to Spamhaus, which required me to inform Spamhaus that I was responsible for that specific IP, and it should not be on the blacklist.


"I use the free tools as well, but most of the folks I consult for, I also administer their mail account server @ Google or Microsoft, so I can keep an eye on both sides of the transaction."

Is this new ? I have been part of discussions on HN about personal mail servers for ... 8 years ? This is the first I have heard someone mention registering their mail server with google ...


Search for "Google Postmaster tools" or check out

https://postmaster.google.com/managedomains

You don't have to register per-se, but you get access to reports for your domain so you can see any potential trouble.


Corporate email admins can be more aggressive and unpredictable than big ISPs or Google or Microsoft, because they have a more direct relationship with their fellow staff. They can train users how to manage their own whitelists, and they usually already have an IT helpdesk staffed answer questions and concerns from users.

Corporate email admins can also be opinionated about email senders because their email system is only for their employees' work, specifically. They are less likely than Gmail to care about email from the little guys who are trying to build an audience or business. They definitely don't see it as their job to provide startups and random people with access to the inboxes of their staff. They will err on the side of saying no to unfamiliar email.

Corporate email is where it gets hard. You can have a clean IP, all the authentication options configured correctly, and still struggle to get out of the spam folder. This is one reason businesses will pay for big-name email platforms, which have spent a lot of time and money building good reputations with corporate teams, and have people who specialize in maintaining those reputations.


I've noticed that a lot of corporations set up greylisting [1] for their mail servers. So that might be one reason why you are seeing a lot of bounces, and you just need to resend the email after a few minutes. I use SendGrid, which automatically handles this. But it's always annoying to get these bounce notifications.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greylisting


A useful tool is sender score: https://www.senderscore.org/lookup.php?lookup=0


Oh, good, I have an MX record. Glad somebody could confirm that for me.


The domain lookup info is silly, but if you lookup your smtp server IP it’ll show you a score that in my experience is correlated to the probability of it not being in a blacklist.


You can use rblmon.com to monitor IPs for inclusion in public blacklists. There are other SaaS alternatives in this space as well, in addition to self-hosted scripts/applications. Amazingly, RBLs are still a thing that people need to care about, after so many years.

Disclaimer: I'm one of the developers behind RBLMon.


You could utilize a managed SMTP service like AWS SES or Mailgun, which is free for up to 10,000 emails per month. They have reference configurations for various MTAs[1] and you wouldn't have to manage IP reputation yourself.

[1] https://documentation.mailgun.com/en/latest/user_manual.html...


Whenever a business justifies its pricing by pointing to costs it’s either in deep trouble or run by amateurs. Big red flag IMO.


Anyone voting this down, ask yourself: why do I, as customer, care about your costs. That’s YOUR business, not mine. You tell me about your costs, my mind turns off and I don’t want to hear anything else you say.


So, what, you'd rather hear some bullshit PR excuse about maximizing customer value or whatever?

Also, as a customer I do not mind thinking about a business' costs. In fact I want to know that a business is pricing a reasonable margin above costs and no more. I have way more respect for companies that don't see the need to mindlessly pad their profits. Not everyone is you.

(Not saying RS is being honest here but it is important to push back against this "pay no attention to what's going on behind the curtains" thinking)


I love thinking about businesses and their costs, but not as the consumer. As the consumer I care only about the price to me. If the business exposes me to their business, I no longer benefit as much from their business. And yes, would rather hear some PR BS, to be honest, than some sob story about how they aren’t good at business (which is all I hear when they start telling me about how this cost went up or that cost went up).


Hah! I'm in a similar position. I have a really old machine at Rackspace ($20/mo) from about 2010 that's running websites for some family and friends. I could easily transition to a ~$5/mo VPS elsewhere but I really don't want to deal with the migration hurdles.


It's been a while since I've had to manage anything hosted with Rackspace but:

They just announced a $5 hike in price this month for "fanatical" support, I haven't opened a support request with them in eons:

How is their fanatical support lately? I recall my company (at the time) paying through the nose for a pretty responsive Fanatical Support SLA, such that I could call in at 2AM and almost every time get someone in no more than three rings-central time zone, no less-for our dedicated services account.

Curious how it is for other customers who might not have had a tech budget the size of ours and could swing heavy hammers to get such support.


Boy they have to be angry with customers like me. I have Rackspace account created in February of 2014 and it was free back then. I think 2 months later they start charging mandatory $50. Like anyone else I moved all my servers out and only using their DNS console for DNS management which is good enough.

About your mailservers: location doesn't matter, as reputation is being build over the time. I have Digital Ocean $5/1GB machine that was previously used for heavy spamming (had to submit tickets with all biggest SpamHouses) and since then has pristine reputation with constant 97-99 SpamScore, etc. You just need about 45 days of constant raising volume of mailouts and you be fine. This machine currently does about 40,000 mailouts a day.


It's been more like 1.5-2 years I sat on an IP, and had AWS setup the reverse record for it. I parked it on my SPF record, then started slowly sending messages through it after 6 months. I was not in a hurry, and I figured the extra time woulden't hurt.

DO's equivalent Elastic IP product can't be used to originate email, unfortunately. They actively block it, and it's against their ToS (Last time I looked). Otherwise I would have preferred to host it there. If you allocate a Droplet, groom it's IP, and then terminate it (either for yours or their reasons), they only "promise" to give you back the same IP, and I'd hate to have to setup a new IP in a rush.


That's not my experience.

Before I setup my DO I asked them can I set up ESP? They said absolutely. AFAIK they only ban constant abusers. I sent to very clean and engaged list (noone above 45 days of inactivity) and hadn't had any problems. I have "emergency setup" on different hosting but you are right on point it would take month to come back to same mailing levels.

DO TOS doesn't say you can't send emails. Their control panel allows you to setup rDNS yourself BTW.

These days largest ESPs (Google, Yahoo/Rocketmail, AOL/Live/Outlook/Hotmail, GMX, Wanddo, Orange, UOl, BOL) only really look at IP in 4 categories: narrow whitelist (other biggest mailers, private contracts [banks mostly]), wide whitelist (static IPs of all sort including your $5 DO), greylist (home IPs, mobile IPs, all other IPs that probably should be mailout out in the first place), blacklist (in terms of you land there forever - don't confuse with having your IP blacklisted). Long gone times when ESPs tried to figure on some scale 1-100 how good your IP is.


What are you using for running mail server?

I've been using mailinabox and am generally happy with it as is mostly a hobby server, but am curious what others are running.


Their service level went from amazing to awful once they were purchased by private equity. As a result after having been Rackspace clients since 2007 my company started moving our clients away from them over 24 months ago and finished November of last year.

I very much miss when their support truly was fanatical.

Edit: duration of service, clarity


Yes. They say the bulk of the cost is fanatical support but it's been far and away from that lately. It's like £1000 a month for a low end server and crap support. It's ridiculous now.

For example, we agreed a planned maintenance window 2 weeks ago. It happened, it failed and they left the server offline for 7 hours after the window cut off.

We asked of compensation was available. It took 7 days just for the account manager to say no. I can accept that it's in the ToS but is 7 days for a response from our account manager 'fanatical support'?

We're in the process of moving our WP sites to WPEngine, where the support is much better, and software we maintain for clients to AWS for a fraction of the cost either way.


Man...it sucks because they used to be so great.

I could make a call and be instantly connected to a Linux tech that was often a better sysadmin than anyone we had on staff, which was why we really encouraged clients to pay the premium for their service. The choices then were a) host cheap and pay $150-200K in sysadmin salaries to keep it going while passing on these costs to clients or b) host at RS and use their economy of scale. Easy decision.

Then they got bought by Apollo and I hoped what I"d seen happen with other companies bought by private equity wouldn't happen. The PE model only gives a shit about profit, which is at odds with a service focus. Rather than seeing profits as the by product of a good model, excellent service, and loyal customers, profits become the measuring stick by which operational costs are measured.

So that Linux tech that cost $120K+ per year gets binned and replaced with two juniors who cost less but together are unable to accomplish in thrice the time what the binned guy could do. Hold times start to creep up because shit isn't getting fixed. So they hire more juniors who still can't get things done quickly.

Guys like me put up with this for a brief time and then bail because the pricing can no longer be justified.

I'm sure it's true that the bulk of their cost is support, but it's not fanatical anymore because the folks that really were so have been gone for years.


They were incredible. In fact, so good that it was educational. Whenever we had a problem, I'd ask for full technical details and I'd come away with something. A big portion of my admittedly limited knowledge of sysadmin work came simply from working with their admins to fix problems that'd come up with growth.

That's not the case anymore and it's clear nobody gives a hoot. We are getting a DDoS a few months ago. Their solution: null route our server. Wanted DDoS mitigation options. They wanted me to speak to a sales rep, who insisted it wasn't a sales call, and refused to put their possible options in writing. As a rule, I only make decisions or open discussions if and only if I have something to discuss in writing. That never used to be a problem. Everything was transparent. It's become a nightmare driven by sales reps that want to "customise" a solution - the same kind of solution that they deployed a few years ago that worked for the exact same problem.


"it's clear nobody gives a hoot"

Bingo. Back in the day the person I reached on that first phone call really did give a shit _and_ they had the skillset combined with the authority to find and implement solves.

At the end of our working with them whether the person I spoke with cared or not wasn't the issue any more: it had taken 30 minutes plus to get to them and it was a very junior person who didn't have the skills or authority to run an ls -la from the bash prompt.

I'm still pretty bitter, obviously! My company ate a lot of costs moving clients away from RS. And in many cases we had to rebuild our credibility a bit after the company we glowingly recommended started failing to hold up their end.


I used to work at RS. If the person had been there for years, they probably do still care. Having also worked at Wells Fargo back in the day it almost sounds like they are tying sales referrals into support performance metrics. Sounds aweful.

The culture started going downhill around the time they were bringing Bank Of America employees into cloud operations upper management and they were chain hiring their pals.. Lot of talent was disease franchised and leaving.


Bang on the money Rackspace no longer have an in house Linux RedHat trainer, so all the cool value add like MySQL tuning is now exclusive to professional services which customers extra pay for. In fact most training is done using online websites, we are currently staffing support teams in India while internally we talk about sales, profit, size of market, not the customer - I really feel for racks customers they deserve the promise made to them and nothing more. I did not sign up for farsical support


PE ownership explains everything. This is going exactly per the PE playbook.


They focused on Professional Services - that's what Apollo (the private firm that acquired them) thought it would make sense business-wise. And somehow it did, although it probably costed the company its soul, and now increasingly his loyal customers. A pity.


I had boxes on Rackspace and Linode at 1/10 the price, if anything Linode was better on both uptime and support. At one time Rackspace justifies the price tag, but that’s not been for years now.


I have a dedicated linux VPS with them and use their CDN a lot. The prices seem so high, I'm considering moving.

Any suggestions?


Vultr or HostUS. Vultr's support is top-notch and their plans are flexible and reasonable. I don't work for either but I've hosted with both (still do with Vultr) and love both.


There's the usual suspects like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. If you're just looking for a VPS, DigitalOcean is cheap and easy.


There's AWS LightSail too.


and Linode.


I’d stay away from Linode. They’ve had so many major security issues over the years that at this point they are like the Yahoo Mail of VPS in my mind.


Linode have been my goto since ~2010.

Never had any downtime and the only degradation I can remember was when they got hit by a collosal DDoS a few Christmases ago (since then they've invested very heavily on ensuring that can't happen again, US DC's where down/sporadically up for days).

Hands down my default choice.


My experience as well.


I happen to work for Rackspace at the moment, and I'm really disappointed that I keep hearing about these things in the news first. Ever since we went private, all the upper management changed and we've kinda been kept in the dark, which is a big giant red flag. I think it might be time to polish up the old resume.


Don’t even think twice. Polish that resume and jump. The market is hot and life is short.


Uh, you should always think twice, the grass isn't always better on the other side and you know nothing more about his/her circumstances.


We know he's working for a company where management doesn't communicate and layoffs are happening.

Polishing off a resume doesn't mean immediately quitting either- it means going out to look at other opportunities. There are very few scenarios where being aware of other options is harmful.


I would guess their planned exit is hoping IBM buys it to bolster marketshare for Bluemix/Softlayer. So, even if things go as planned, it's probably not anywhere you want to be long term :)


IBM won't buy them. They just bought RedHat.


Previous layoff discussion from feb 2017 (~200 too): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13593416

Supposedly this is an annual thing now: https://www.tpr.org/post/third-year-row-february-rackspace-l...


So annual rank/stack, bell curve, fire x%. Right after performance reviews, and right before any annual raises.

Typical slog of working at a recently PE purchased company.

I wonder if anyone talented is left. Usually they get sick of it after a year or two. I would guess little to no real RSU handcuffs. The stock was badly underwater before it went private.


> So annual rank/stack, bell curve, fire x%. Right after performance reviews, and right before any annual raises.

Except we hadn't completed ours yet, this event was planned for several months due to leadership expecting double-digit turnover after the performance review period, about 10% of leadership in a single product got wind of it coming and has already settled in at new companies, multiple principals and architects with spotless records were let go from a single product along with nearly 80% of its other headcount, and layoffs have been quietly happening without attention being drawn (a few a week). We were also told at an Open Book that Apollo had to intervene for Rackspace to afford contracted bonus structure this year, as Rackspace literally did not have cash on hand to meet targets.

Other than all that, though, astute insight and analysis. You're right, just typical fiscal year slog. (PR is literally saying "we're a stable company, promise" in statements.)


I wasn't saying Rackspace was in good financial shape. I was saying it probably sucks to work there, as it usually does in a "recently purchased by PE" company.


You were saying the layoffs are "typical slog," going so far as to authoritatively declare how the layoffs that impacted us were executed. (Completely wrong.) I was merely reminding you that from the outside, you have extremely little context on which to speak authoritatively. You also cannot speak authoritatively on working conditions; Rackspace was a great place to work with little involvement from Apollo, despite your armchair theorizing regarding a place you've never been.

Especially when the people who had been given assurances by ELT and then woke up Thursday to find they'd been broken on account of near insolvency of the business, when those people are hanging out in the comments among you, it's probably best to listen more than speak.


Sorry, no. You're reading something into what I said. I'm using "slog" to mean "long shitty period".

I was guessing review/stack/rank at the beginning of the year because I've spent time working at recently PE bought company, and quit once I saw the pattern.

When do managers write reviews? They don't have to be delivered to the employees before rank/stack/layoff...


Great, now you're asking questions.

My manager was terminated before he could complete reviews for his staff (he was forbidden from telling any of us about it, because they wanted us to be surprised we were being fired, so my immediate manager just up and vanished one morning). His manager, and that person's manager both turned over from the company weeks ago after they were given a courtesy notice of this event coming. Rackspace then reacted to the turnover and forced the highest manager mentioned so far to stay and personally fire everyone.

I understand that you think your theory regarding this layoff is correct. It is not. Performance reviews had absolutely nothing to do with this event. At all. This event involved cost center.

Proof I'm legit: The meeting invite to fire everyone was called "Business Update," and scheduled by Liana Greenberg on behalf of Scott Crenshaw. They fired 30 at a time, then quickly cleared the room for the next batch.


My "theory" was a summary of what I read in the linked article in the comment I replied to, and based on similar experiences I've had. It's not a big stretch to assume 3 consecutive years of single digit percentage layoffs, in the same month, at the beginning of the year...might be stack rank activity.


it was more senior people this time. But it has been that way the last couple times too. I have a few very talented friends that lost their jobs. They also pretty much cut out a bunch of the private cloud group. Sad to see such a good company go this direction.


I wonder if there’s room in the market these days for a new managed dedicated hosting service like Rackspace used to be, where you paid significantly more than for an unmanaged server (or a “managed” server that basically just gets OS security patches) so you could instantly reach an expert sysadmin to fix any problem with your servers.


That's the problem; hosting is a commodity these days. 90% of people who want hosting only compare based on price. It's hard to justify paying "real staff" high wages when the margins are razor thin.

Big hosts can survive by essentially offloading support, and making as much as possible self-managed by the end-user.

The non-technical people who just want "a server that works" won't, broadly speaking, pay a premium for that. They're non-technical and will eat up support-hours too, asking questions about setting file permissions on Wordpress.


this seems like ... race to the bottom perhaps? or prisoner's dilemma? or some other catchphrase to describe a common market problem.

If everyone just charged some basic $ for support, it would generally get better. I'm perplexed and sometimes shocked how much 'free support' people expect - and often "get" to some degree - by cheap hosts. I'm in some WP support forums on facebook and... man - what people expect for $10/month is crazy. And... the amount of bs misinformation and half-truths being spread by 'experts' in those forums in crazy too.

Add in 'authoritative' sites and experts 'recommending' (via affiliate links) bluehost/godaddy/siteground on a recurring basis, and we've got this... again(?) - race to the bottom?

People will post how 'awesome' the support is because some remote people spent 15 minutes walking them through file permission setup amazes me.

Oh... and "free migrations" between hosts. Then when there's a real issue - like 6 of the 38 plugins don't actually work on the new host, and the new host says "this will be $75 to make it all work" people are outraged! and publicly slam everywhere they can. Then someone else promises unlimited XYZ, they move, and the cycle starts again.

Finally... liar/cheats/scumbags who intentionally rip people off on top of all that (I think some of the ripping off isn't always intentional, just misinformed) makes people even more wary of trusting genuine people.

I may have just described half of the history of human society, unrelated to hosting, but.... I've watch this market grow over the past 20+ years, and it's just so... weird.


You could say it's a 'lemon market' ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Market_for_Lemons ).

A lemon market is when the buyer doesn't have enough information to tell the difference between a good product (peach) and a bad one (lemon). Since the buyer can't tell the difference, the price he is willing to pay will end up somewhere between the value of the peach (more expensive) and the value of the lemon (cheaper). What happens then is that the sellers of lemons thrive while the the sellers of peaches end up leaving the market. This lowers the average price and creates a cycle where the price decreases which drive even more sellers of quality products to leave the market which lowers the price further...


Thanks!


Not the catchphrase but real definitions:

Commoditization https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commoditization

Economies of scale https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economies_of_scale


Tyranny of the minimum viable user. Or in this case, enterprise client.

https://old.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/69wk8y/the_tyr...

A Gresham's Law dynamic.


I don't think so, there is aws and then there is "host super cheap"

Rackspace might have had a chance, but it is gone now..


I think there are companies like this, but they are focused on a niche (wpengine, Pantheon) rather than being for general purpose hosting.


It used to be them. We used them for a decade and up until a few years ago they were great. You could call and get someone competent in an emergency as an adjunct to your in house talent. It let us punch way above our weight.

That is dead and buried now though. There may still be some good people there but their products are dated 'also ran' knockoffs of AWS services and I don't trust them within an inch of our environments anymore.


If you just want a “managed server”, how much cheaper is Rackspace than AWS’s reserves prices for dedicated hosts?


Managed servers are very different from just dedicated hardware.


AWS is basically the definition of managed services. You can either go all in on AWS’s Manager Services, used dedicated hosts or stay somewhere in between.


But sometimes what you need is a managed server rather than a managed service.


Serious question what part of your server do you need managed besides the hardware? AWS would be doing that with a dedicated host.


With Rackspace you used to be able to get support with things like OS upgrades and security patches; network troubleshooting; firewall setup; filesystem issues; and the like. Systems administration, basically.


Depending on the level and type of support you need, you can either go for AWS’s business support plan (10% of your bill with $100 minimum) but they won’t do anything involving anything hosted on your actual VM besides maybe help you with one of their software agents. On the other hand, you can always pay a manager service provider to pick up the slack if you don’t have the expertise in house.


The skill and experience is not in the company anymore as such the promise they make to customers can not be met. They are currently building support teams in India


Rackspace had it good with the little incentives they gave to web agencies. The agencies would build websites for companies that didn't really need $$$ servers as they were new to being online and didn't have the customers yet. Rather than recommend sensible hosting that could scale, e.g. a VPS that had the RAM, CPU, disk and bandwidth low to start with and an option to upgrade later, the agency would sell the newbie client the gold plated Rackspace solution. What wasn't discussed with the client was how Rackspace would cough up a handy referral fee whereas the price competitive VPS would not.

I felt bad for clients that had been suckered with that cost burden, particularly if the customers did not show up after go-live. It was like the online equivalent of them being lumbered with a giant mall when they needed a prominent spot on the High Street.

Nowadays though services like AWS have taken on this agency provided hosting setup.


You are aware that pretty much every hosting organization in existence pays referral fees, yes? Including "cheap VPS that can scale" (also known as: a contradiction in terms).

https://www.linode.com/referrals

https://www.digitalocean.com/referral-program/

https://www.vultr.com/news/Summer-Promo-Now-Earn-%2430-For-E...

You're also clearly unaware that Rackspace built itself and went public on colocation, which dates your perspective. "What type of servers to use" is such a variable question for each outfit, and even with a web-focused startup perspective like this one, there's so much variance in work that colocation often made sense at the time. Time sharing a VPS with Bob's IRC Vhost Service often does not.


A "cheap VPS that can scale" is not a contradiction in terms, since hosting providers like DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr do indeed offer cheap VPS hosting options with adequate performance for small sites, as well as more expensive options suitable for high-traffic sites.

The parent comment makes a valid point about performance-to-price value. DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr currently offer much more value for the newbie client (and for many other types of customers) than Rackspace does at the same price point.


The problem was that you have two parties - the agency and also Rackspace - somehow selling a customer wanting to get their business online something that was not the right product for the job. Imagine a small clothing boutique new to the market and reselling other branded stuff. You know from the get go that they are not going to be getting the same level of traffic as an established retailer, you also know from developing the site for them how the server needs to be to give the page speed needed. You also know that the performance bottlenecks are not going to be solved with the gold plated server when you hit a go slow situation. However, if you are a mere developer and think that it would be easier to maintain the site and scale it later then it might as well be like your own Ubuntu box with pretty much the same configuration and that nice easy firewall that you get with Ubuntu.

Yet despite having a good idea of the requirements the project manager who has never coded in his life always gets clients a Rackspace box with enterprise Redhat and some horrid cPanel on it with some extra firewall box. These things hamper the go-live as if you come from Ubuntu then Red Hat always feels like it is a generation out of date with things turned off by default when you need them on. Then there is a cPanel sea of icons when all you need is an ssh terminal and 'apt-get'.

Some friction goes on because, as a developer you wonder how it is that you are not being listened to. Then one day it all becomes clear. There is this matter of a kick back which is a few hundred which is not really worth it for the hassle caused. If you are on the side of the client and you know full too well that they don't need to be paying out a grand a month for the few dozen sales they are getting in a week then you can't help but feel negative about Rackspace. The sales person at Rackspace has time and money to wine and dine your clueless middle manager whipping boy, but can't advise on a more sensible solution for your clients.

Eventually the clients move on to another agency because your agency have only thought of the 'go live' and no support beyond that, so in turn, Rackspace lose another customer once the expensive project has been torn to pieces and rebuilt by a better agency who charge the client for support instead of useless hosting that they will never get to need.

I am sure this is a scenario that was quite common a few years ago. Nowadays not so. Apart from anything else small businesses can just setup a Shopify website and be online by teatime rather than be bamboozled by useless web agencies.


There's a pretty big difference between what Rackspace pays in referral fees:

"Average Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) of the first 3 full months' paid invoice"

And what someone like Linode pays:

"You then receive a $20.00 credit applied to your account"

The comment you're replying to is saying Rackspace gets some benefit from unethical agencies advising clients that don't need a dedicated server to get one anyway.

It wasn't a knock on Rackspace per se, more of a commentary on agencies.


I worked at RS in the fastest growing DC when they went public. Very, very little of what we brought online was colocation. It was almost entirely leased servers. They must have been keeping the colo facility a secret from us :)


I used to work for rackspace. I'll answer any questions you might have, this was 2 years ago.

My take is that they were pivoting HARD away from the server business and trying to provide "cloud architecture solutions", where they would tell you how to properly set up your GCP and Amazon clouds to fit your needs.

From inside the company, coming from the silicon valley, the culture was rather jarring. They're from San Antonio, and try to hard to be hip and silicon valley-ish, but it's just in the uncanny valley where everything is a little bit... off. Also, it might be the corporate culture in San Antonio, but they try really hard to incoporate the new employees into "the family". For instance, all new employees have to get flown to San Antonio for a week of team building exercises and orientation. To me, it almost seemed culty.


Most of great remote teams come together at least once a year. Also it is very good to work head to head for a week or more before going full remote.

This is actually very SV way.


You misunderstand. All new employees come to San Antonio and participate in childish "team-building" exercises. It's not limited to your immediate team. I have never met or interacted with anybody I met during the exercise.

For example, this is not my first job out of college. I had to sit through a 2 hour meeting where a HR drone went ON and ON about tradeoffs of one health plan over another based on your life situation. Me, having basic reading comprehension, was on my laptop. I was reprimanded for that.


Any opinions on that cloud architecture solution service? Would you recommend it for a company with very little AWS experience?


Bear in mind they've only started this initiative about 2-3 years ago.

Cloud architects are hard to come by, and hard to pry away from their existing jobs.

Think about whether or not your want to pay Accenture marketing rates to get a junior employee who just started, because knowing what I know about the pay scale, if anybody gets some expertise in Cloud Architecture and has some contacts in tech, which is quite likely because he's talking to clients, he's probably going to jump ship for a company that pays better.


That ship has sailed, I’m afraid. Use AWS Lightsail for an equivalent and learn from the ground up.


Companies like you describe are the primary focus of Rackspace these days.


That company cannot implode fast enough. I will never do business with them again after they hell they put me through (twice) with their inherently broken security model

Rest In Piss.


So they laid off 200 workers but they now have 200 job openings?

Why not just retrain existing workers instead of laying them off? Stuff like this seems like the quickest way to kill morale and run the business into the ground.


Agreed but job openings in different areas most likely. Hypothetical example: you lay off 200 developers and want to hire 200 sales/marketing folks. Devs don't want to be retrained in marketing (I sure wouldn't).

But, also consider that the PE firm doesn't care all that much. They just need to make the numbers look good, so they replace highly paid veterans for cheaper junior workers. And ultimately, they force the company into treading water with a smaller/cheaper workforce which makes the numbers look good in the short term so they can sell it. Sucks for the company though.


I had the same thought when I heard about this internally. Especially given that our company wishes to "retain the top tech talent" and "become/remain a destination employer". Morale is indeed quite low because of this :(


I've got some old projects running on Rackspace. Did you move away from Rackspace? If so, where'd you move, and how do you like it?


For Windows... Hosting.com

Hands down expensive as hell but AMAZING support.

For Linux... Inmotion Hosting

Reasonably priced, but UNBELIEVABLE support.

Seems like everyone working at these two companies is a wizard that put on their robe and hat before work. When you pay for hosting you want someone on call and smarter than you for when things go south.


I'm gonna have to disagree with you about InMotion.

Their infrastructure feels like using a couple of half disassembled servers on the floor. Their platform is fragmented to pieces, they have no idea what a "design system" is, and you have to log into like three different webapps to just play around with your server.

They are literally in the same place they were in on day one, playform wise.

If you're nostalgic for some 2006 era hosting company, go with InMotion.


What is missing? Does their infrastructure work?


I read that as Invotion at first, and had horrible flashbacks to working at Hosting.com's former parent company, Invotion. ( https://www.bizjournals.com/louisville/stories/2004/07/26/st... ).

Back then Invotion/HDC was kind of shitshow, so I left and spent a couple years at Rackspace...


Digital Ocean for stuff that absolutely has to have its own sandbox. Support is slow and ticket only but it's cheap enough you can build out a cluster to mitigate outages.

Pantheon for most Drupal sites. Amazing service. Should have made the move years ago.

Platform.sh for some Drupal sites and for various NodeJS projects.

Various CDNs for asset serving.

Almost everything is available now "as-a-service". The case where a custom server that you manage via SSH is the best solution is now the minority.


I'll echo this--we moved nearly 100 sites off of Rackspace over the past year. All the Wordpress sites went to WP Engine, and the Drupal sites to Pantheon.

For years, Rackspace provided amazing sysadmin support, but there was always a gap between where their support ended, and the best practices for WP and Drupal sites began. That included tuning the LAMP stack for those applications, configuring dev sites and deployment processes, and managing caching and TLS. Rackspace helped with general advice, but we had to "do" it, and maintain it.

That's not true on CMS-specific hosting like WP Engine and Pantheon; it's all in one package: production hosting with scaling, dev and staging sites with one-click sync and deployments, CDN, TLS certs via Let's Encrypt, and support. We went from spending almost an FTE's worth of time on sysadmin and dev ops, to almost no time on those things.

I'd say I wish we had done it earlier, but in my opinion, we could not have. It has only been within the last year or two that these services have really put together the full feature set we wanted.


Liquidweb is awesome


I heard from someone inside that at least one office's developer reqs were all moved to India, inducing a pretty big morale hit.


All backfills and new support roles are going out to India and Mexico


Rackspace is sort of mind blowing. They were first to market, had excellent personable customer service, yet somehow now the early lead with a lack of broader vision and ambition.


That's ultimately what this seems like.

Unfortunately from reading some of the comments it appears that private equity took over RS at some point and now it's just gonna be their cash cow until they go bankrupt.

They haven't done much innovation wise in years. Its really sad.


Pretty typical story. Incumbents being replaced because they rely on the formula that got them there, so don't keep up with the market.


Are there any examples of companies bought by private equity firms that did not go down the drain? On the retail side, I recall Toys R Us and Sports Authority being examples of companies recently folding after the PE firms were enriched.


Does this affect mailgun? Is that a profitable revenue stream for them?


Mailgun spun off a while back and isn’t Rackspace anymore.


Still thought it had the association some how.


Based on traceroutes and IP ownership Mailgun appears to have migrated mostly to AWS (web app, DNS, SMTP relay) but still uses some Rackspace infrastructure; emails delivered from my Mailgun account come from the Rackspace data center in Chicago.


Thank you


Are these people under non-competes? I see a dozen customers for a competing (read: "clone") company with 'fanatical' support in the comments.


There are companies out there. I work at one of them, www.hivelocity.net. We provide the managed services and support everyone is talking about in 8 US cities. One of the primary reasons we are in business is the technical experts on staff that are constantly helping our clients, which is obviously expensive.

I think the issue you don’t see “pop up” competitors is the inability to market “great support” empirically. There is a lemon market comment somewhere that is dead on. You can have all the high cost experts on staff but Everyone is going to think your marketing is full of it until they try your services or are referred via word of mouth.


So the decline into Burst.Net territory has begun...


I never understood why they existed. They charge $1,000 for a $50 server and there service is as good as Amazon.


They used to be amazing. 15 years ago if you rented a server from them you were getting a sysadmin into the bargain. For companies without that expertise in house (or who didn’t need enough to justify a full time position) and for whom shared hosting wasn’t an acceptable alternative, they were the perfect option.


Early on, their deal was that when you called, you always got a human. 24x7. I called early Sunday morning. Human after 2 rings, transferred to the correct dept within 15 seconds, to another real human, who took acknowledged and took care of a tech problem within a few minutes.

I'm not sure there's any place you can get that sort of service now, which is part of the reason I run my own servers and dug more in to sysadmin stuff. Yes, my stuff's in a remote data center, and I can't physically touch it. Assuming there's a dumb pipe coming in, I can handle everything else (or find someone who can) - I don't need handholding service bundled in to a price.


That level of service is definitely available when you're talking enterprise-level contracts, but those are worth much more than $1k/month. At only $1k/month you aren't going to get that kind of service in many places.


I think at the time - 1999(?) (soon after rackspace had started up) we were at a $500/month server.

And... they made a mistake early on. We'd requested a new machine, but someone had done the ticket wrong, and took the old one offline for an upgrade (instead of just adding a new machine to the account). They were minutes away from wiping it when I called - if I'd had an automated attendant, we would have lost everything on there, but humans intervened to stop them in time and get it back online. "Great service!" - except they'd made the mistake in the first place...


You can get that level of support for a minimum of $100 or 10% of your bill on AWS. Their support is excellent. You could always pay for a dedicated host with AWS and reserved pricing.


Is this really true? I've never had this experience with paid AWS support, even spending a lot more than $100/mo (although not as much as Lyft).

Rackspace support ca. 2004 was really fanatical. Like you could call them and get an engineer on the line, working on e.g. your RAID card, in minutes. Without going through a ticketing system or other intermediaries. Some of this was no doubt due to them being a smaller company, but "Fanatical Support" was not just marketing hype.


Most issues I’ve used AWS support for were because of my own lack of knowledge. But they are batting 100 so far. I usually use chat.

So far they have helped me with:

- S3 permissions loading files to RedShift and Aurora

- binary file support with API Gateway and lambda with CloudFormation

- a cross account Code Pipeline with CodeBuild, Code Deploy and CloudFormation - ended up you can’t do it fromthr vonfold.

- some problem a coworker was having with DAX (DynamoDB cache) with Python.


I call it the yahoo fenomena.

buy a lot of stock on number one (google, or Amazon in this case), then use your money or previous position on number two or three company in the same market to influence the board to drive the company value to the ground. now you can claim loss on the secondary position while creating a bigger monopolistic market for your main position for the long run.


Looks like they're going after a more high-caliber employee, cutting the "weak-links" they have now.


The people that were fired are high-caliber. I know a few that literally wrote the books for their field.




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