Rackspace: A Matchmaker in the Cloud for Business Applications

Updated: October 11, 2010

Rackspace has become a market leader largely by focusing on what the company calls "fanatical support" for its hosting and cloud computing customers. Apparently, many of those customers have been having trouble finding appropriate SaaS solutions, so Rackspace developed and launched AppMatcher.

The service has two primary components. Users create profiles that include information about company size and industry and the user's department and title. AppMatcher then uses that profile information to search a database of more than 1,000 applications to find candidates that best meet the needs of each user and their company.

AppMatcher also includes a "locker" feature that stores information about each user's selected applications. Users can not only review information about which applications are being used and users' perceptions, but share locker information with co-workers. This ability to collaborate on application choices can help users to match SaaS apps more closely with business needs and user expectations. Also, as chaging user needs are reflected by changes in user profiles, AppMatcher will suggest new SaaS offerings for consideration by those users.

AppMatcher is designed to help SaaS application providers as well. Those providers have access to dashboards that show information about user interest in and use of specific applications. That information can help application providers to understand and respond to user needs more effectively.

AppMatcher leverages Rackspace's success with SaaS users and partner providers to help members of each group to know more about each other. The company claims more than 100,000 corporate customers, and is promoting SaaS applications it hosts as well as some that it does not. Companies such as Akamai, Boomi, Lighthouse1, Marketo and Microsoft announced support for AppMatcher at the launch of the service.

AppMatcher is the latest in a series of announcements by Rackspace apparently intended to make it a leader in infrastructure as a service (IaaS) as well as SaaS solutions. Earlier this year, the company, with partners including Citrix, Dell and NASA, announced OpenStack, open source implementations of some of its core technologies for supporting cloud-based computing and storage. The combination of OpenStack and AppMatcher could make Rackspace a formidable alternative to Amazon.com, Google and other IaaS/SaaS providers.

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