After years of trying to compete with Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) for website and app hosting business, Rackspace Hosting (NYSE: RAX) is betting on its one-time rival.
On Tuesday, the company announced that employees responsible for servicing and supporting clients who use Amazon Web Services have collectively earned over 300 professional and associate AWS certifications. As Rackspace positions it, the added expertise furthers its status as a partner for developing and maintaining environments on behalf of AWS clients.
"Our customers come to Rackspace for Fanatical Support and our standard is to serve those customers with 100 percent AWS certified technologists," said Chris Cochran, senior vice president and general manager of AWS at Rackspace. "To meet customer demand, we have more than doubled the number of Rackspace AWS certifications since the launch of our offering in late 2015."
Does it matter?
While it's fair to say that Amazon is just one of several Rackspace partners, it may be the most important. "In Q4, we landed the first six-figure a month customer for our AWS service," CEO Taylor Rhodes said in first-quarter earnings call comments transcribed by S&P Global Market Intelligence. "And in Q1, we closed several years with large enterprises whose spending with us should significantly increase over time."
AWS is a catalyst for the business, in other words. Adding additional certifications and expertise to attract more of Amazon's clients should help to keep it that way. And it could help to accelerate growth.
According to its 2015 report, AWS grew revenue 70% to $7.88 billion last year and accounted for 83% of Amazon's total operating profit last year. Those are astounding figures representing a potentially rich market for Rackspace, which is still a $2 billion business as of this writing.