Last week the hosting and cloud provider Rackspace revealed that it has been approached by multiple potential partners or acquirers and has hired Morgan Stanley to help it figure out its alternatives. The company’s star has fallen a bit in recent years, with bigger public cloud rivals like Amazon gaining scale advantages and squeezing margins.
But despite the daunting competitive landscape, there seem to be no end of other well-heeled players looking for a leg up. The Wall Street Journalspecifically cites Cisco, HP, and Dell as likely bidders.
Cisco threw its hat into the cloud quite recently of course, and I’m not convinced that a public/hybrid cloud like Rackspace is what they meant. HP and Dell seem so distant from the service provider world these days, but then so did IBM before the SoftLayer deal. Any of the three clearly have the resources if they decide to take the leap of faith.
But could there be a case for someone from the service provider world making a move? While I can’t really see any of the US or European operators doing such a thing, there is one foreign operator with big cloud plans for whom there might be a fit.
I’m thinking of the Japanese giant NTT, for whom the Rackspace public/hybrid cloud infrastructure might be an interesting fit. Last fall they bought Ragingwire and Virtela in the US market, and they’ve assembled a pretty broad suite of global cloud assets and capabilities over the past several years.
What they don’t have is a big, public presence in the public cloud to give the rest of their offerings an automatic boost in name recognition. Like Cisco, HP, and Dell they easily have the resources to keep Rackspace in the game, and they have a longer track record in this side of the business.