New Rackspace Hire Signals Hybrid Cloud Channel Program, International Growth

Rackspace Hosting has made a couple of key appointments this week, adding Microsoft veteran Will Knight as VP of channel partner sales and Ryan Neading as CIO.

Knight will be responsible for increasing sales through solution providers, and building strategic and competitive channel partner programs with an emphasis on specialization, Fanatical Support, and support for hybrid cloud solutions.

Prior to Rackspace, Knight served in a variety of capacities at Microsoft, most recently driving partnerships in APAC through his role as Microsoft Small and Business Leader for Asia Pacific.

“A massive growth opportunity exists within the cloud market, and executing a channel strategy to engage partners in a meaningful and collaborative way is key to Rackspace Partner Network’s future success,” Todd Cione, SVP Sales, Americas at Rackspace said. “Will is a proven leader who has built winning channel programs for top IT organizations across the globe, and we are excited for him to join the team.”

The hybrid cloud market will reach nearly $80 billion by 2018, and with a tailored channel program, Rackspace could be in a good position to capitalize on the opportunity.

With Rackspace’s eye on international growth, Knight’s experience could be exactly what it needs to capture the hybrid cloud demand in emerging markets. Last year, Rackspace expanded its OpenStack hybrid cloud to Hong Kong after appointing chief customer officer to grow its presence internationally.

Currently, Rackspace has four different partnership programs: Reseller Program, Referral Program, Cloud Affiliate Program and its Strategic Program.

“With the addition of Will Knight and by evolving a stronger, more diverse set of partner programs, Rackspace has shown that it’s ready to double down on its channel strategy,” IDC analyst Steve White said. “As its channel program matures, Rackspace will appeal to an even broader ecosystem of partners, which will help support future business growth in the U.S. and abroad.”

On the technology side of things, Neading will be responsible for the Rackspace billing systems, internal IT systems and tools, technology operations, operational metrics and interfacing with external suppliers and resource providers.

Prior to Rackspace, Neading co-led eBay’s development site in Austin, TX.

“Ryan Neading is an experienced leader in running world-class back office functions globally including financial systems and services, business management and analytics,” Mark Roenigk, chief operating officer at Rackspace, who Neading will report to at the company. “Ryan’s skills and understanding of large scale enterprise technologies will help enhance the effectiveness of our operations and will add skills to our team of specialists who deliver expertise in running the world’s leading hybrid cloud.”