Monday, December 13, 2010

Fanatical rapport? Rackspace reportedly planning to close SA datacenters

Posted By on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 12:58 PM

The Castle walls are shut tight. After a week of asking and no callbacks from Rackspace Hosting’s communications manager, we thought it best to just drop what we have on SA’s tech darling. According to folks on the inside, Jacques Greyling, managing director of Rackspace Hosting, told a small team of employees back on November 17 some shocking news: the company is planning on closing its two San Antonio datacenters servers*, SAT1 and SAT2, in 18 months. Plans are to migrate clients on those servers to other sites elsewhere in the country. The change-up would affect, at most, about 30 locally based employees, according to one source. The heart of the “Castle,” the company’s main office on SA’s Eastside, is not expected to be affected. “These two datacenters don’t make us any money, because we’re limited by space, power, cooling, and weight requirements and then employee salaries,” the Racker told the Current last week. “The datacenter’s only making us like two grand a month; it doesn’t equate to the amount of resources we’re already spending on rent and the other stuff.” However, some employees are reporting they’ve heard the datacenters could close in as little as 9 months, creating some internal tension among engineering staff. In all, the San Antonio-based company has more than 2,900 employees around the world, according to the company’s website. Potentially affected employees have been told that if they stick it out during the coming 18 months the company will try to find new positions for them at other locations. The move reportedly follows on the heels of an outside consultant’s paper exploring where company losses have been occurring. The recommendation: consolidate or shutter the local datacenters servers.* The Current has left multiple messages for spokesperson Rachel Ferry over the past week. When we finally reached a live Racker today and explained our difficulties, they offered to try to track her down before transferring us to Ferry’s voicemail (again). What's it all mean? We're sure it'll be a key talking point for the company's director of finance, who will be speaking at the Raymond James Annual IT Supply Chain Investor Conference in New York tomorrow.

* mea blinkin' culpa, y'all

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Rackspace response (received a few minutes after this post went up): Rackspace is always considering the most effective way to manage our business which includes our data centers. We have multiple data centers worldwide and evaluate them on a regular basis. The datacenter space we have available in the San Antonio area is up for contract renewal in the next couple of years and we are evaluating our options. We are expanding datacenter space across other regions in the US where we are able to achieve better energy efficiency and economics. With these additional capacity requirements it creates new opportunities for our current and future Rackers. Rackspace employs 2077 Rackers in San Antonio which includes 35 Rackers at the San Antonio data centers. Rackspace continues to hire additional talent.

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[4:20pm] Followed up with Ferry by email for clarification on Rackspace COO Mark Roenigk's above statement and was told "the datacenter space we have available in the San Antonio area is up for contract renewal in the next couple of years and we are evaluating our options," which, besides sounding terribly familiar, doesn't clarify much.

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