Episode 032 | Discussing On-Premises SharePoint, SharePoint Online in Office 365 and Everything in Between with Rackspace's own Jeff DeVerter

In this episode AC & CJ talk with Jeff DeVerter from Rackspace about SharePoint hosting in the cloud.

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Episode Transcript:

[0:01] Chris: This is the Microsoft Cloud Show Episode 32, where we'll talk to Jeff Deverter, the SharePoint general manager from Rackspace about SharePoint hosting in the cloud and Office 365.

[0:12] (Music)

[0:17] Chris: Welcome to the Microsoft Cloud Show, the only place to stay up-to-date on everything going on in the Microsoft Cloud world including Windows Azure, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync and related technologies. Just the information, no marketing, no BS. I'm Chris Johnson.

[0:34] Andrew: And I'm Andrew Connell.

[0:35] Chris: And weíre just two dudes telling you how we see it.

[0:39] Chris: All right, welcome to the show, AC. How are things?

[0:42] Andrew: Things have been better. Feel like someone spit on my face all last night with a lovely head cold and a bad sore throat, so this is me sounding really bad.

[0:53] Chris: Brutal. Yeah, normally I was just saying before we started recording, you know, normally we do this over Skype and I gave you a call and we have video going and for me it's usually morning time like you know, not early morning but morning-ish, and for you it's obviously a few hours later because you're on the East Coast, and so you're already a good number of coffees into the day, so to speak and I'm normally the subdued one. So, it's a bit of a role reversal this time. So, yeah, sorry to hear that.

[1:24] Andrew: Yeah, this is me with three cups of coffee right now. So, my day is brought to you by sore throat, cough drops, head cold medicine and orange juice.

[1:34] Chris: Oh dear, oh dear. Well, if you need to go and pass out just let me know and we'll pause the recording.

[1:38] Andrew: I'm done. So, work wise I'll just say I'm making progress on projects but I really don't have much else to say, I don't want to bore people who happen to listen to my voice right now.

[1:48] Chris: Yeah. That's fair enough, that's fair enough. It sucks, man, I feel for you, I really.

[1:52] Andrew: Yeah, it's a good thing that the show was a interview that we recorded when I was healthy last week soóbut we'll get into that in just a minute. So, how about you? How are you doing today?

[2:01] Chris: Good, we are actually suffering from a flood at work. So, Building One at Microsoft isónot the whole lower floor, but a certain area of Level One in Building One is full of water apparently, and so yesterday it all was cordoned off and then finally about 4 o'clock they turned the power off to the building or the floor one, I think to be able to do some stuff with the electric, I assume, or something along those lines or maybe to fix something, I don't know. But, it still isn't on this morning, so I'm going to be hanging out at home for little bit, I'm getting little work done. Other than that, I went away this weekend for friend's 40th birthday and weóI got to fly in a floatplane for the first time, which was kind of exciting. So, not particularly cloud related other than getting a bit closer to them, but it was cool. Took off from South Lake Union in Seattle and went out to one of the islands on a floatplane, which it was totally likeóit was awesome, it was a great experience and it's kind of freaky landing on water. I think I send out a tweet, I took a photo and send out a tweet off the plane and I was like, this is the first time I will have landed in one of these, normally I jump out prior to landing.

[3:28] Andrew: Mr. Skydiver, that's right. Yeah, I saw the picture and I was like resisting the urge to jump?

[3:33] Chris: Yeah, exactly. Well, it was a beaver and they're quite popular skydiving planes in certain parts of the world. So, yeah, it was exciting, but yeah, terrifying doing this whole landing thing. This landing thing is not for me.

[3:47] Andrew: Just jump.

[3:48] Chris: Especially on water, yeah, kind of terrifying.

[3:53] Andrew: So, did you take your seat cushion off and everything and hold it like theóyou know, in case, with water landing or was that like anóyeah?

[3:57] Chris: Well, I wasóso, I was sitting in the backseat of this plane, there were five of us and it was a tiny plane, it's like a six seater including the pilot. So, I was in the back row right, it's like those little seats in the back of a seven seater. So, I was sitting in the back andó

[4:14] Andrew: Chicken face backward?

[4:17] Chris: Unfortunately, not. No, but yeah, sitting in the back row reading a boating magazine, so I was thinking, hey, well just in case we have to land we have to ditch this thing in the lakeósorry, in the Puget Sound, which is kind ofóit's seawater but it's not open ocean, if you know what I mean.

[4:35] Andrew: Yeah.

[4:36] Chris: Then I better read up about flotation devices and emergency procedures. I'm only kidding.

[4:42] Andrew: So, wouldn't that just be a landing instead of a water landing, like when you look at all the security and all those safety stuff and everything, was it an event of a land landing?

[4:50] Chris: Yeah, well I guess that's the difference between landing under a parachute and landing without a parachute. I mean, technically you're landing just at different speeds.

[4:59] Andrew: I see, yeah with different like horizontal and vertical velocity, I guess.

[5:02] Chris: Exactly, yeah, yep. They do say that theóthere's only one thing that will get you skydiving and it's the ground. And that of skydiving is not for youósorry, at first if you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

[5:24] Andrew: I like that. That's good. Okay, CJ I got to interrupt real quick here because we made a mistake. We made a huge mistake. Couple of shows ago we said that we were going to do this new segment, we introduce this new segment, which is ask us about anything and we would play the question on the air, and we wouldóyou and I would then just spend a few seconds answering it. And of course, we did an interview with Kirk Evans last week that we're getting some really good feedback on actually, which was from what we've seen that went live this past week, but we forgot to do the question with Kirk, which I feel like a complete bonehead and then we also forgot to ask Jeff Deverter the same question that we were going to ask ourselves when we did the interview.

[6:07] Andrew: So, we totally bonked in on that. So, we're going to come back and we're going to do one question now, I love it. We did a newówe startósay we're going to do a new segment then we forget our own segment. So, we got a few questions that people send in, so keep them coming, keep sending them back in. If you don't know what we're talking about go listen to episode number 30, look at the blog, it say, if you have a question for us, send the questions in that's specific to CJ and I and we'll answer on the air, it can be absolutely anything, just keep it clean otherwise there's no way we're going to put it on the air. If you can record it, that'd be great and we just want to make it toóour answers will be about 30 seconds long. So, now that I've taken about a minute and a half to explain all that, let me go ahead and let me pitch the question to you.

[6:50] Andrew: So, the question we got wasónow it's kind of three different answers, it's if you could have the car that you wanted, what car would you go pick? And so, it's three different categories. One is theóthis is realistic and I don't have to do too much selling with Missus. There's the second category, which isóokay, this is a bit of a stretch, this is like a $90 or $100,000 car something like that and then the last one is, I'm not married and I got a boatload of cash, what am I going to go buy?

[7:22] Chris: You know, there's so many choices, right. This is the thing. I think the realistic one is probably the hardest for me. I think probably realistically I would want something small and fun. So, something like may be like an R32 Volkswagen or something and that elk of car, I think I'm into the small two-door sports car kind of thing. For something a bit more luxury, I do like the ideaóI'm not a 100% sold on the Tesla, but I would like something like the Tesla. I'm, as you know, I have and an electric vehicle already but the Tesla is a bit more swanky. I'm not so fund of their look on the outside but I dig the inside and I dig the whole concept of a long-range electric vehicle. And then for something completely outrageous and crazy, I'd probably go for the McLaren P1, which I'm fond of the McLarens, I got to drive the MP4 12 CRN on a racecourse and just completely loved it and the P1 I've never had a chance to drive butóor actually see one in the flesh but man oh man, it kind of looks like a whole bag of fun looking for a place to go. So, I'd be keen to for that one.

[9:05] Andrew: Yeah, I had you peg on thatóon the upper end one, that was pretty easy.

[9:09] Chris: Yeah, yeah. The lower end one is tough because there's a lot of different choices right, but I think yeah, something small and fun on that end and something small and fun on the high end and then in the luxury sort of the middle of the range, you know the not hardly middle of the range like 110K but it's kind of on the expensive end, but kind of a bit bigger and a bit more luxurious.

[9:36] Andrew: Gotcha! And for those of you who are listening in, we're talking about cars, not girls.

[9:41] Chris: Yeah, there you go. How about you? So, what would you pick?

[9:45] Andrew: So, I'm in a similar boat as you in terms of something small and fun, this one, I think, would be the more realistic one, but pricing it's pretty fair, very fair actually for the car that you get for the price it is. But, this would take some convincing having two little kids and only being a two-seater, but I would, in a second, I'd walked down to the local Nissan dealership and grab one of those 370 Z Sports. I love that little car, absolutely.

[10:13] Chris: I wasn't expecting that. Interesting!

[10:14] Andrew: Yeah. I love that car. I'm a NissanóI'm a bit of a Nissan guy. I'm not a huge fan of the GTR but I'mó

[10:20] Chris: Hey, I've got a lift.

[10:23] Andrew: Little differentóyeah, I drove a Nissan Pathfinder right now, before that I drove ridiculously big Nissan Armada and before that I drove a Pathfinder. So, it's beenóI've been a Nissan guy for a little while.

[10:35] Chris: All right, so how about middle of the range?

[10:37] Andrew: Middle of the rangeó

[10:38] Chris: Or a luxury, a bit more luxury?

[10:39] Andrew: Yeah, so middle of the range, you kind of brought it up a little bit, but in a second I'm actually working very hard to try and [10:44] this but it's easily a Tesla. I'm a bit torn but almost completely sold on the model X that starts coming out at the end of this year, early next year it's the SUV with the falcon door, not the going doors, but the falcon doors.

[10:58] Chris: Yeah, yeah. Looks like it's going to be popular too.

[11:00] Andrew: Yeah, it looks really popular, but I'm a bit torn with the model S. I love Tesla, I want to do someóI want to get behind [11:09] and justóthat's the car that I would love in my driveway.

[11:14] Chris: And I reckon I know what your top end will be, but go ahead.

[11:18] Andrew: This is a pretty easy one. In a heartbeat, the Ferrari 458 Italia. I'd do it in a second. I love that car. It is the mostólike you were saying, I got to drive a 458 in Las Vegas a coupleóabout a month ago or so around the track, got it up to about 130 miles an hour, I could do that in a second. I thought it might get something out of the system and I wouldn't have the drive to be so much, but not so much. I have a picture of it actually under one of my monitors and that's what drives me to keep working.

[11:51] Chris: Nice. That's a beautiful car.

[11:53] Andrew: That's the best way to say it. Everyone says that car like you look at a Lamborghini event or you're looking at a McLaren P1, they look justósorry for the language but it look badass, right.

[12:04] Chris: They do.

[12:05] Andrew: But to me, you look at a Ferrari 458 and that just looksóit looks like a gorgeous car to me.

[12:10] Chris: Yeah, that's beautiful.

[12:12] Andrew: So, there we go, that's our question.

[12:13] Chris: Make excellent choices.

[12:15] Andrew: Make sure you guys go through and send in another question here, if you have any advertising that you want to do, send us massive advertising so we can get a P1 and a 458.

[12:22] Chris: Thanks very much. Anyway, so this week we've got a pretty interesting show. We've actually got Jeff Deverter, who's the SharePoint general manager from Rackspace, who we interviewed a few days ago actually, and so Jeff's a great, really interesting guy, really nice guy. He hits up the SharePoint practice and business at Rackspace Hosting. And so, for those of our audience that are familiar or not familiar with the Rackspace, they're very prominent and popular choice for hosting and running your SharePoint infrastructure. And Rackspace's a very well known in the industry that do all sorts of hosting, not just SharePoint obviously and so we thought we'd get Jeff on the show to come and talk to us about how they see SharePoint in the cloud, how they see themselves positioned against the likes of Office 365 and so forth. And, just to get his perspective on the state of the SharePoint nation on the cloud and see what he had to say.

[13:33] Andrew: Yeah, it wasówe already had Jeff on the show because he's going to give us an interesting perspective. We always hear from Microsoft as the story between On-Prem and Office 365 and that's really an all or nothing, I mean we've also got the hybrid offering as well, where you can take an On-Prem environment connected to Office 365, but Jeff and these other hosting or managed services companies like in Rackspace, like an Fpweb, these guys do have a reallyóit's somewhere in the middle for some of their offerings. And my perception at first was they were just about sitting in the middle and offering a outsourcing service in the sense from people who don't want to go fully to the cloud but also don't want to be fully On-Prem and run all their stuff, and so they had different levels of service that they could help you with to run your On-Premise environment, but pushing it outside of your hardware and out of your data center, but as you'll hear is the interview kind of went along, it was really interesting to hear Jeff talk about some of the other things that they look at and how did they how they help customers today who are not only thinking about going to 365, but where it may not make the most sense, specifically I like towards the end of the interview where you'll hear we talk a little bit about hybrid and how they've got a really good advantage to hybrid compared to people who are trying to do all stuff On-Prem. So, yeah, so it was a really good thing. I learned a lot about them. So, it's a really good interview.

[14:56] Chris: Yeah, and I think it's also worth pointing out, we're also going to try and do this with some other companies in a similar space as well and get their perspective as well, because I think it's very interesting, right. It's hot topic whether Office 365 is right for everybody, and what are all of the different options that folks should consider, so I think we'll get some interesting perspectives there.

[15:20] Andrew: Yeah, and we don't want to say who they are just yet but we will beówe are looking to talk to a few other companies. Actually, we are talking to them, my original plan was, I wanted to get two of these companies and have an interview and have both their discussions in the same episode, but as you'll hear with the episode we do with Jeff went on for a good 30 minutes or so and I think that it will definitely beóit definitely would make it way too long of an episode to put them both on the same, but I mean, they're going to have different perspectives and so we're actively talking, trying to schedule something with one of the other providers and that will be coming up on a soonóon a show coming up really soon, at least we hopes so. Hoping we can all get the scheduling stuff work out.

[16:02] Chris: Okay, so with that let's roll the interview and here's Jeff Deverter, SharePoint general manager from Rackspace Hosting.

[16:09] Andrew: So, with this today, we have Jeff Deverter from Rackspace. So, Jeff is a general manager over at the SharePoint offering at Rackspace Hosting. Jeff build the offering over the past several years into one of the premier services offered by Rackspace, garnering the highest customer satisfaction and growth matrix in the company. The offering has expanded from managing the farm to full service offerings including development, governance, end-user and training. The expanded service offerings were accelerated by the acquisition of SharePoint 911. Jeff has been with Rackspace for over six years, with over 13 years of SharePoint and IT architecture experience. So, Jeff welcome to the show!

[16:46] Jeff: You know what, thank you very much. Appreciate being offered to be a part of this with you guys. It sounds like a decent bio and decent background, but I'm glad to be with you guys. You guys really helped write the book on a lot of this stuff quite literally. So, thanks for letting me be a part of this today.

[17:03] Chris: Thanks for joining us, Jeff.

[17:05] Andrew: Absolutely, absolutely. So, Jeff let me kind ofólet's just dive right in and let's levels with some people who may not be familiar so much with Rackspace, what your offerings are and all of that. So, first tell us, tell me, tell CJ, tell our listeners who is Rackspace aside from what we just heard in the bio, but who is Rackspace and what is theówhat do you do for Rackspace, what's the SharePoint offering, where do you guys fit in this whole story today?

[17:33] Jeff: Yeah, sure. So, Rackspace-we have been around for about 15 years. Started here in San Antonio and it very much started as a web hosting company, couple of the ten grads, I guess they were at that point, from Trinity University thought it'd be a good idea to put some servers in their closet quite literally and host some websites and that turned into a company that that really created and defined what we will call the managed hosting (inside of the Gartner magic quadrant from a hosting perspectives). So, the dedicated managed hosting world, not just a server that sits in a cage somewhere but a server that sits in the data center that's truly managed all the way up from the infrastructure up through into the chassis, up through into the operating system to help our customers be successful with whatever their payloads were.

[18:20] Jeff: Our company started very much as a Linux company and just a couple years into it realized that Microsoft is making some very serious investments and inroads into providing servers that were of value to customers and what Rackspace really prides itself in is being responsive to the demands of what customers are and so we entered into this company that provided managed hosting for a pretty much an equal number of Linux or Windows type environments and it was about that time, or few years into that that I got introduced to Rackspace, I had been working over at large financial services firm as an enterprise architect for collaboration and search, which we know means SharePoint, and [19:06] to come have lunch because a friend of mine was leading this group that was over the Windows, he says, we want to do SharePoint, tell us how we should do it, which turned into a few other meetings, which turned into one where I was met by a recruiter and soóand I came to offer some, you know, how we should build a SharePoint offering at Rackspace. And, our initial thought was that we needed to build this multitenant something and provide SharePoint to our users in a per-user type basis. And as I learned more about Rackspace and the expertise that they had around Windows, around SQL, around Active Directory, around the core, things that are needed to make Rackspace aóto make SharePoint run well, I was experiencing some problems at the company where I was and those problems were built around the fact that when SharePoint is installed and configured correctly to one of those that just kind of works, works for a long time. Well, it works until it doesn't. Lot of reasons why it wouldn't, you install something, a site collection gets too big, a database expands, a new features needed and then it doesn't work.

[20:05] Jeff: And so, the problem there than was people who are well trained and well educated on how to run SharePoint lose it. And that, we were seeing where I was over at my enterprise and I saw it time and time again as I would have conversations with different folks at different SharePoint conferences or just in the general community. So, I came to Rackspace and I said, if you could get 10 people and sit them in a room so that all they would do from sun up to sun up was managed some of the easiest and hardest problems around SharePoint infrastructure and management that that would be valuable to people. It turns out it was. As we grew, we had the highest customer satisfaction, we've kind of always had the highest customer satisfaction here and then and then a company that prides itself in being a customer service centric company, it has someóit means something to us, it means something big to us. 

[20:55] Jeff: And from there we grew into bigger and other things more than just managing the infrastructure from an early point, we had Shane Young involved in helping train us, to get us smart in SharePoint and as I got to know Shane better and he would come back down to train us on more stuff as new versions would come out, it doesn't take much to cross the barrier with Shane from business acquaintance to friend and he will share his opinion very freely with you. He started to get really mad at me and I don't like people getting mad at me and the problem was we were referring a lot of this design work, dev work, BI work, training work over to his company, SharePoint911 and while he gladly accepted it, the entrepreneur in him was pissed at me for giving that business away because just helping somebody's infrastructure run great, was nice and all but, where he really saw values is being able to really help that customer end to end and such were we, we started to explore this mean friendship thing turning it into a mean co-worker thing, which has been great.

[21:57] Andrew: It makes a lot of sense. And your role at Rackspace, your kind ofóyou own the SharePoint piece of this, is that correct? You own the SharePoint offering and it's that you guys have or theó

[22:09] Jeff: That is correct and when we built it, we built the offering onóyou know, everybody would always come, you get these sales guys was saying, what hardware do we need? Well, what are you selling? We built our service offering on top of Rackspace's managedóWindows managed service offering. So, whatever we were providing at the time we built our offering to right on top of Rackspace, if you will, on their fanatical support for time, Microsoft partner of the year because we love this Microsoft. They did write the software after all, and built it up from there.

[22:40] Chris: So, fanatical support is something you guys haveóit's something I've beenóI've known Rackspace four for a number of years right, and I've been a Rackspace customer in the past and I got to say like, that is aóit is a massive differentiator that you guys have in the market and it's somebody's that use the servicesólike fanatical sounds like a good buzzword right, but it seriously is fanatical, like it'sóI remember a couple of support calls I made in as a customer for some little items and it's like, we'll get back to you, and you know, six hours or whatever the SLA was and then like 20 minutes later, boom! It's all over it. So, it's kind of a big differentiator in the market and something you guysóis that still a big pitch for you in terms of the kind of one of the main differentiation is around the support offering and choices that your customers have?

[23:32] Jeff: It absolutely is, in fact I use the phrase, use a lot of it internally and Ióit'sóI'm okay, I love to say this externally as well, but I go so far as to say, it's the only product Rackspace really has. If you've looked at, and of course you have, you work for the company, but from a Microsoft perspective or your other bookseller competitors, who shall remain nameless, as they built out these Windows cloud, the ability to spin up a server superfast and have things be elastic, have things be cheap, have things be as you need it, it goes back toóyeah AC, we talked a lot on Facebook and show our different Lego pictures, it comes down to, you got to build it yourself and if you can't you're kind of stuck unless you're friends with AC and he will tell you, you know what, [24:17].

[24:20] Jeff: When you're a customer probablyóyou can't see the video folks, but he's pointing at the myriads of like I was sitting behind him on his desk. But, at Rackspace it's really around fanatical support. When somebody calls in and our CEO always used to come down to my desk and he would see these customer satisfaction scores, we call them NP Scores, net promoter scores, and he would say, Deverter, why are your score so high? They shouldn't be this highónot that they shouldn't, but why is nobody else's as high as yours? And the reality was, it's a step farther than just running a Windows server, right. So, it's more than just making sure that the C-prompt is there, making sure that ISS is responsive. So, when a customer calls us or puts in a ticket and says, hey, I need this thing done in SharePoint. I needówe're ready for a public facing website to be available on the internet, will you please allow anonymous access? So, it would be easy for a ticket taker to just go click-click, enable anonymous access. We know where those two places are, you got to do it in central admin, you got to do it down site collection. And now you're up and ready to go. But, we know what the customer's trying to do with SharePoint. They want their site available, so we're also going to follow-through with our network security team and make sure that port 80 is available through the firewall. We're going to make sure that however many webheads are appropriately load balanced at that point to take the stuff that's going to come through us. So, we really just follow those tickets through the different groups inside of Rackspace to make sure that what the customer's really trying to get accomplished gets accomplished, not just that we answer the ticket.

[25:51] Andrew: So you're just not going through it and responding to a ticket, you're actually going through and making sure in kind of handholding with the customer and ensuring that what they're trying to achieve is actually going to get achieved not just by answering their questions, but it's aóthat smells like you're trying to do this over here. We're going to make sure that you're doing the right thing and that we're set up the right way and that you're all good to go.

[26:14] Jeff: It's exactly right. And it's also one of the values. We charge a little more for somebody to have our support at Rackspace. We're an add-on service, somebody could come and get servers from us and they could install and run SharePoint on their own, if they want a port 80 open they could put in the ticket and say or allow anonymous access and hope that somebody at Rackspace in that general Windows team is going to know how to do that, but because weóas what I will call SharePoint experts know what the customer's trying to do and we try to read their minds a lot of times as well so that we can make sure that the actual result that they're looking for gets accomplished.

[26:49] Andrew: I see.

[26:50] Chris: So, speaking of taking away the management overhead of SharePoint, this is probably a good time to transition to the world of cloud hosting in SharePoint.

[27:02] Andrew: Absoó

[27:03] Chris: Go ahead, AC.

[27:04] Andrew: I was going to say that that's one of the big reason I wanted to have you on the show Jeff, was to talk a little bit aboutóand I like for you to position at the way that you see best, but the way that I see people positioning it, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that we've got these two extremes of being On-Prem, where everything's going to live inside of my firewall that my company runs, that I'm not outsourcing anything, and then there's the far other extreme, which is Office 365, which is I don't touch the server, I don't touch the software, all I do is I just consume a software as a service. And I see Rackspace fitting somewhere in between those two models in helping me either achieve some sort of a goal. I don't want to presume whatósome people are trying to achieve different goals, I would think if they're trying to go with Rackspace and not going all the way to 365 or keeping all On-Prem.

[27:55] Andrew: So, can you explain a little bit of where do you see Rackspace fitting or what customers are coming to you? What are they asking for? Is people that are trying to go from an On-Prem environment to 365 or to the cloud and realize, we don't really want to go all there but we don't want to stay where we are and that this is the perfect, a sweet spot for us? Or is it people that have maybe gone to 365 and they need something that they can't get and so they comeóI don't want to say come back down, but they kind of pivot more towards the center of thatóof those two extremes? Where do you see that? Where do youólike how can you kind of likeóhow do you look and see at Rackspace? What are people are coming to you for?

[28:34] Jeff: So, they're coming to us for SharePoint right, and that I don't say that to be funny. They're coming to us to solve a problem and the tool that they've chosen is SharePoint. And so, I'll go back to what I was just mentioning around thoseóour customers when they're asking for something, we try to read their mind of what's the business problem they're really trying to solve, and so when we start to talk to customers we'll call it in a presales capacity and they're asking, hey, I want to come to you for SharePoint. We don't sayówe just don't start with an order taking, how many users, how much storage, blah, blah, blah, it really is what are you trying to get done inside of SharePoint. And so, we refer a lot of business to 365, we don't want a bad sale. A bad sale, everybody's upset. We get a couple of dollars in the short-term, the customer gets super frustrated. At the end of the day, I call myself more of a SharePoint evangelist than I do, you know, somebody trying to sell SharePoint at Rackspace because I've seen time and time again to the hundreds or thousands of timesóSharePoint changing the way a company does business so that they could be more productive at whatever that business is. They're going to spend less time tinkering, they're going to spend more time being productive, they're going to spend less time looking for people or information and more time using that information or dialoguing with that individual around solving whatever problem they're trying to solve.

[29:57] Jeff: So, I completely agree with you AC, your comment is right. We sit somewhere right in the middle because I don't put ourselves in the point of being 365, 365 is awesome and it's amazing. I use it personally and a lot of us here use it as well. I see a world personally where 365 and some form, we'll just call it On-Prem, because the reality is, is Rackspace's dedicated offering, it's just like On-Prem, but it's in our data center. We're using the same batch, we're installing it the same way except right, and following your ways, and making it run right. The reality is, is not everybody needs to put everything in just one location. I think the days of it going into just one place are numbered unless you are the US government, unless you are, you know, have some kind of crazy data security requirements, let me put it that way, because that's really the one main reason that that stuff has got to be controlled in your own data center, security requirements. You are not a smart person if you're keeping it in your data center because you like to see little green light blink, you're spending more time tinkering than you are doing whatever that that core businesses is.

[31:14] Chris: So, justólike it sounds like or the way you described, the way you work with a customer and talks to them about their problem and things. It's almost like you're deeply in the consulting business and just so happened to be able to take care of all the hosting requirements behind-the-scenes magically without them having to go somewhere else forward as well. Is that, I mean, it's obviously a huge value add to be able to have that higher level discussion with a customer when theyóand then you also say, well, hey, we also happen to be able to run the stuff better than you can and so we'll take care of that for you too. Is that a fair assessment?

[31:50] Jeff: It's a very fair assessment. In fact, we get a lotóour sales guys don't get shunned a lot of times like a traditionalóI'll call it a usual salesperson choose your industry, because we go in and we don't ask, you don't stand there with an order form trying to take an order. We go in as we start asking questions, how are you using SharePoint today? What are the problems that it's solving? What are the problems that you're having because you're using SharePoint because, you know, SharePoint invents problems or people invent them with it. And then, try to look and see one is there a solution atóis there a product that Rackspace has that we can provide a solution around? That's really the big part of value that the SharePoint911 guys brought when they came in is that we're talking about people like Jennifer Mason or who can sit in front of customer and just listen to what business problem they're trying to solve and is the tool of SharePoint the right tool to solve it, and which socket, which [32:41], which screwdriver in that tool chest is the right one to use for it. We really just try to listen and provide a solution, so spot on with calling a consultative and then a lot of times, you know, it's right for us to host that stuff. We have a lot of customers now who we don't host it for, they want to stay in their data center via that whole bring in the SharePoint911 guys in. They have a whole vehicle of how to work remotely and manageóeither manage stuff remotely stuff, code stuff for remote and when it makes sense those guys usually then, you know, when you had a version change, when you need a new feature then they start to talk to Rackspace.

[33:20] Andrew: So, you're working with peopleóyou have customers today too that aren't on Rackspace hardware, you are providing some of your SharePoint services to them that are On-Prem but they're not currently like Rackspace managed hardware SharePoint customer?

[33:33] Jeff: That's exactly right. It's a great way for us to extend our expertise out. So, there are couple of ways that we work with them. One, it might just be doing a farm build for them, it might be taking them through a service pack upgrade. So, we're going in and doing a time and a materials piece of bit of contract work. It might be going in and listening to their woes around how they can't find anything and doing a governance plan for them and then either let them go, executed on their own, sometimes we'll execute it with them, but we never push hosting unless they're experiencing a problem, you know, SharePoint's one of those beasts that if it's working don't poke the bear, let it work until there's reason to poke the bear. And then, I could stand on any mountaintop anywhere and tell you why if you want a dedicated implementation of SharePoint that there's no better place in the world to run it at Rackspace, whether that's our data centers that are on all the continents around the world except Antarctica, sorry. And, or whether it's Windows running Windows and SQL and Active Directory and the infrastructure better than anywhere else, or whether that's the expertise we have around managing SharePoint.

[34:42] Andrew: Yeah, as a developer I can totally agree with that's working, let's just touch it, let's let itólet's just let it rest, let it reside, let it keep going. We hadó

[34:49] Chris: Don't fix what ain't broken.

[34:51] Andrew: Exactly! We wereóI know, I was a customer of Rackspace when I was back in my Critical Path days. I know we used you for hosting essentially an On-Prem version of SharePoint for us, hosting a 2007 and a 2010 version of SharePoint we were there and I mean we never upgraded the 2007 version, I don't know where they are right now on it, but I we never upgraded the 2007 version because of the upgrade and because so much stuff was custom code on it and that was just like, we're going to maintain two farms but I mean, specially for us for a small business it made perfect sense because we didn't want to doówe were a completely virtual company, we didn't want to have server somewhere that we had to babysit, managed and go check on every once in a while. We wanted somebody else to do that for us because we also didn't have the expertise that we neededówe didn't need to, we didn't have the [35:37] to do it, so made perfect sense.

[35:42] Andrew: I have a question for you. So, we're in this space today where SharePoint is really evolving and from my point of view, I see SharePoint really becoming a lesser of a independent kind of a thing and it's becomingóMicrosoft is, to me from my perspective, pushing it as just another value add of Office 365. It's not justóit's a collection of some services, but now those services are being broken up, split off into their own different pieces and we have things like Yammer, we have things like OneDrive that are exclusively cloud place. And so, for the customers that are coming to you, they're coming to Rackspace and they're saying, look, there are some of these things that we know that are a 100% pure cloud place like the social stuff and that we got the social stuff today but it's very sub-par, it's veryóit's got a certain lifetime ahead of it to not be improved for On-Prem and I'm talking about all the 2013 social features, but there's certain things that areóthe direction is definitely going to the cloud. So, how are some customers looking at that? How are you approaching that with some customer? How is Rackspace kind of deal with that challenge that people are facing today when they're not ready to go to 365 but they want to be able to use some of those features?

[36:57] Jeff: So, that's a great question and it's, you know, you can be the protectionist type of a person and argue, try to take a position that says all your SharePoint in one place is a better thing. I think that's a bad idea because I always take things and I try to preach, yes, it's just like preaching to the whole team that a customer'sóif we can assist a customer to be successful on their business by using the tool of SharePoint and guiding them through that experience, then we ourselves will be successful. So, I've got the whole team working on how we can be and I think at this point I cannot [37:34] I'm quite ready to make the boast that we're the smartest people in the world around doing hybrid implementations but we're really close, and it's hard right, to get a dedicated implementation to truly work from an authentication perspective, from a search perspective, from a truly feeling integrated perspective to work right.

[37:52] Jeff: And so, we're building and tearing down farm after farm to do this stuff. We actually got invited another one of our MVP friends, a Fabian Williams did a couple of sessions on this at SharePoint conference this year on farms that we built for him. And so, all of his On-Prem stuff was actually running in a data center at Rackspace on a farm that we built for him and fully integrated. So, all those examples for the dedicated piece of that were ones that we ran for him because a world whereólike I'll just cut to the chase, right. Microsoft has a desire that SharePoint as a toolset and its extended toolset runs completely in the cloud. In that experience, they have a better way to control that experience, they have a better way to control the code base that they're running on, they have a better way to roll out features in a faster, more controlled way to users. It's a betteróit can be a much better experience. 

[38:48] Jeff: Now, we're not there yet, you know, you guys, Microsoft has committed to at least one were released. So, we know that an On-Premise story is still part of the story for the next several years. We know that a lot of customers do not upgrade on the firstówhen the version first comes out, so my gut tells me that we have throughówe were 14 out through 2020, where On-Prem is real viable running thing, but in the context of a hybrid implementation the ability to extend OneDrive content to the MySite stuff for On-Prem implementations was a brilliant move on Microsoft place. And quite frankly, all of that stuff should be on your commodity storage anyway. We should not be putting somebody's team pictures for their lunch outing that's in their MySite and expensive SQL storage that the company has to pay for. The ability to extend that to Microsoft in the OneDrive world is brilliant from y'all ability to slowly pull the customer, to feel comfortable about public cloud and it's great because now we can sell the customer what they really need for stuff they really needed for.

[39:52] Andrew: Yeah, that is funny you say it like that too because it's the hybrid piece is definitely the rightófrom my point of view, the hybrid piece is definitely the right model to where you see someone is On-Prem and they want to start migrateóthey want to start being able to consume some of the services. I like your point about saying that you guys are becoming like an expert in the hybrid space because most the people you talk to they all say hybrid is so hard, hybrid is so hard fromóit's confusing and it's hard and a lot of the reasons are because of each customer's environment is a little bit different from their networking settings, all the architectural, the hardware and all that stuff. But, what's also hard about it is that your organization and you're going to stand up hybrid environment, how many times you're going to do that? You're not going to do that very often. Once you do it and once it's working, let's go back to the other point we had, you ain't going to touch it.

[40:46] Andrew: So, you want someone who's got a lot of experience doing this and if this is something that you guys are constantly setting up it doesóthat would seem to me to be a very compelling offering for someone to say, look, this guys have done it a bunch of times getting search federated with 365 and when we finally have these remote indexes to where things will be all set up, you guys will be right up the forefront on, you know, not just Rackspace but all of the hosting companies in that space should be in that forefront of that we're experienced in doing this stuff. And so, it makes sense to kind of have to look to a hybrid environment and saying, I can get one of the benefits of 365 which is no touch hardware, I'm not responsible for the hardware and the upgrades and with all respect, let the hosting company deal with the upgrades of the new drives, the memory and that stuff. But, I want to be able to take advantage, have the benefit of all the On-Prem features and some of the 365 features in a hybrid environment, but I don't need to sit there and spent two months trying to figure out exactly how this whole thing is suppose to work, test and all that kind of stuff. Let's go with somebody who's got the experience doing it.

[41:50] Jeff: Well, and God forbid, when the network guys update your F5 load balancer that's actually handling a lot of that that brokering in between and to that connection then breaks that took you two months to set up the first time, now you got to go back and troubleshoot it, it's difficult.

[42:04] Andrew: And now you're speaking Chinese to me, that thatóI just, you knowó

[42:08] Jeff: That's all I think about all day long though, that mean is that aboutówe have to find a place where we provide value and the value is helping the customer use SharePoint on their terms and it makes sense for their business.

[42:21] Chris: Makes total sense to me. I think nobody's under the illusion that the world was not cut in dry, black or white and it's going to be a complex business for the next we while, you got customers who are purely On-Prem today who wants some of the benefits of the cloud but can't go the whole hog for either regulatory reasons or whatever it happens to be, right. I think there's not going to be any shortfall of folks wanting to do hybrid for the next significant period of time, at least in my view.

[42:56] Jeff: I agree with you, even aroundówe could talk about it specific use case around, you know, we want a full BI stack to live in On-Prem but we want all the collaboration to be elsewhere. But, I even think that the story around collaboration will be a very hybrid story. So, I want M&A activities and legal to be on a dedicated farm where I could put my arms around it, but let's put everybody else out in a 365 world.

[43:19] Chris: Also just a legacy people have in SharePoint On-Prem as well. There's lots of customers that we talked to thatóor that I talked to that they have no interest in moving, per se moving, right. A lot of their sort of what the right word, I was going to craft, but that's not quite right. You know, sort of legacy stuff that they've already done in the SharePoint and they don't have to you re-jig it and filter it and decide what they want to do with it and all that sort of stuff. So, those things are going toóthey want to be able to search that, they want to be able to index that and find it later on but they don't necessarily want to do anything with it. And so, being able to hook it up to their new environment whether that be in 365 or a new environment or at Rackspace or what have you, it's going to be super important because it can't just be sideload and left alone forever. So, hybrid's going to be super important in that aspect too.

[44:10] Andrew: Yeah, I definitely agree. I have one more question that I wanted to ask here, and this isóand this is, I know that from the 365 side, one of the things that MicrosoftóI don't want to say they pushed, I guess it's more of they termed as a benefits.

[44:25] Chris: Tell us what you really think, AC.

[44:26] Andrew: No, no, no. I was beingóI actually wasn't trying to beóI wasn't trying to be nice in the way I said it, I was actually very genuine, I don't think that it's a push. I think it's more of a, you know, hey, look this is a benefit here and that is if you're going to 365 you're going in the cloud, you want to build this custom kind of things they're going to hook into it, you should take a look at putting those custom things inside the cloud as well ala Azure. And so, here's the benefit of all these Azure services you can consume and how we're seeing the beginnings, I think, of a lot of the integration pieces of being able to have the fruits kind of come together and integrating Azure Active Directory and stuff like that. So, I guess the question I have then is that, for Jeffófor people, when people are coming to Rackspace, and they are looking for things that fall into that kind of a bucket, they say, we want to build and I don't want to just exclude just the 2013 but let's just say, we want to build apps but we don'tóthese apps have to live and they have to run somewhere. How many of the people that are talking to you are looking to say, let's put those apps inside of Azure or they're looking to put it inside of the Rackspace cloud, not the SharePoint piece of the cloud but like the additional offering that you guys have, which, I think it's called your open stack offering, but they want to buildóthey want to take advantage of other stuff. What kind ofóif it's something that you can share, how is that discussion going?

[45:49] Jeff: So, it's going well. So, here's a few things to share about that too. So, part of it is if a customer is coming to us then they want us to manage their stuff. Now what we do, I'll give you little behind-the-scenes tour here, is it's like we're walking through a data center, is when we build a SharePoint environment for a customer, a dedicated environment for a customer it's usually built on some fashion of some dedicated gear, of some physical gear on some virtualized servers running on hypervisor's that are dedicated to them behind their own firewall. So, it's completely contained environment.

[46:23] Jeff: Now, the reality is as we define a cloud today I would call that and it would be a true definition, a private cloud. So, we are building private clouds today for almost all of our customers whether that's dedicated just to their SharePoint stuff or whether they've come to us for a lot more because reality is somebody's coming to us for SharePoint they're just trying to pawn off the SharePoint problems so they can solve other bigger problems in their day. They just want to stop dealing with the day-to-day of the SharePoint stuff because it's getting in their way, they want us to deal with it. So, these things often become larger private clouds inside of Rackspace.

[46:55] Jeff: When a customer is wanting to follow theódo some custom stuff inside of there and really work the app story whether that's 10 or 13 and they're looking for some compute to run that on, they've already built a private cloud with us and quite frankly, it easier for themóit's easier and probably little less expensive in the long run for them just to spin up another VM in this private cloud that they've built if they're doing it truly locked inóall in, locked in a wrong word, all in at Rackspace because none of stuffs lock in, it extends everywhere. Now, we do have customers who are looking for running the or looking to run these environments, whether it's in Rackspace's public cloud, whether it's in Azure, some of them run it on a bookstore, not too many run over there but at the end of the day if they've gone to the expense to plan out in an environment that's a private cloud environment a lot of them are running it directly with us on that private cloud environment. They aren't extending out to anything that's "more burstable" because that's the other thing to think about is when we talk about clouds or I'm going to the cloud, you can't seeóhim [48:03] but I'm doing them really big so maybe you can see, is cloud really just means to the vast majority of the world means not in my data center.

[48:15] Jeff: And so, when you think about something going to the cloud, you need to think about also what kind of compute needs to run there. Our public cloud people don't understand us very well, us Windows, SharePoint people because they think in the true elasticky burstable dynamic cloud fashion. That's what cloud really meant when it was kind of started in that was, hey, I want to spin up some servers on-demand, I want to pull stuff out on-demand, I want to expand here on a contract here as I have need. Remember, we're talking about SharePoint here. SharePoint doesn't expand and contract on its own, it just falls over dies if something gets larger. It's not built to be that way, 365 was built to be able to do that but you just got to do a ton of infrastructure at it so it's always available to handle that stuff, which is great. But, when you're talking about an app running inside of SharePoint, it's not something you really want to turn on and turn off. So you want it to be available and always there. So, I'm going to challenge you guys whether you're looking at doing it in a private cloud fashion, whether you want to run it in Rackspace cloud, in Azure cloud, look at the economics of that whether it's the compute that you need, whether it's the networking that you need that thing has got to be online all the time if you're SharePoint's going to be online all the time. Make sure you're considering that.

[49:31] Andrew: That's a good point. That's a good point. I was curious about that because I know that a lot of people thatóand they want to start moving in that direction, they like the idea of getting the apps off of their infrastructure and stuff, but they wantóthere's some are not as comfortable with moving to a cloud provider like in Azure, like in AWS, like Rackspace, like whatever.

[49:50] Jeff: Yeah, so at the Microsoft Hosting Summit earlier this year, Michelle Bailey was on stage with the 451 research group and she had really profound statement, and one, there was a lot of matrix around the amount of businesses enterprises in the world who have yet toówho have spent the past 10 years just virtualizing inside of their own data center. They haven't even thought about leaving their data center, but as we, as people who live in this world, think about moving to the cloud and out into the cloud, the road to the public cloud is through private cloud. That gets that that virtualized world out of their data center and into somebody else's data centers who's an expert at running data centers, let it run there, let's build the confidence around architecture and the provider to make sure it's safe and secure and available and then they'll move more to a public cloud stuff. But, as we're talking about earlier, it's going to be a hybrid implementation, some stuff staying in a private cloud, some stuff going into a public cloud and I would define 365 as a highly available, fully functional, more than functional because you guys are pretty features there before you're putting it On-Prem public cloud.

[50:54] Andrew: Yeah, it's funny you say that because it wasóI heard something just recently, I thought it was a really well described things. I mean, just see how this goes in terms of like the On-Prem, the hybrid and everything, but and I say this before you left, I mean hear the whole thing out because I think it does hold true, especially for those of our audience who are not brand-new into this space but the On-Prem and the hybrid model is almost like COBOL, right. We don't know if it's going to be valid and if it's going to be realistic for the next two years or for the next 10 years. But, whichever one it's going to be valid for a while and I don't think we're going to see it moving and completely go away in the next two years, but we may even still see it around in 10 years, just like we see COBOL around today, just like we see things like Lotus Notes and everything. There's some people who have got some great implementations of it and some people just don't want to move at any rate.

[51:43] Andrew: Well, cool! Jeff, this is a fantastic conversation. I really appreciate you coming on the show here. I hope we get a lot of information, a lot of really good insight from a hosting provider's perspective with respect to SharePoint and Office 365. So, from me, thank you very much for coming to the show and giving us your thoughts.

[52:02] Chris: Yeah, and thank likewise thanks Jeff, thanks for giving us your fanatical support of our podcast.

[52:09] Jeff: Absolutely! My pleasure, truly my pleasure, and if you take anything away from it it's Rackspace cares about people being successful with the tool that is SharePoint wherever that is. And, we want to help customers be successful with it. So, we're happy to help and I was really glad to be on with you guys today. Thank you for providing that opportunity.

[52:29] Chris: So, one thing I'd add there is if people want to get in touch with Rackspace and your team, how is that best to get hold of you?

[52:35] Jeff: You just placeójust to go to our website, which would be sharePoint.rackspace.com. It's a website that's oddly enough running on SharePoint and all of our contact info is there. And if you're just feeling bored in a meeting and you want to go to that website, we wrote a game on SharePoint that you can go play with using the app model and you can go blow up some site collections and folders. It's a great way to kill some time and kill some folders.

[53:01] Andrew: I didn't realize I was playing games all this time. I thought I was actually just making mistakes.

[53:05] Chris: Yeah, that sounds like my farm architecture diagram day for me, it's awesome.

[53:10] Jeff: So, I'm going to give you a window into what's coming with that, what's going to happen is we want that to be something you can install on your farm and it's going to interrogate your farm and it's going to be like your files are going to be coming up, your site collections are going to come up and you little fanatic guys can blow them up with a dart gun.

[53:24] Andrew: I love it! I love it! I love it! We got to get to the exclusive for the show. Cool, well thanks a lot, Jeff. Really appreciate it.

[53:32] Jeff: My pleasure, thanks guy.

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[54:03] (Music)