Founded in San Antonio in 1998, Rackspace’s operations have now expanded to include nine data centers across four continents. In Part One  of this two part blog, we learned that when Rackspace sought to increase the capability, efficiency and reliability of their data centers, they turned to the purpose-built storage solution– Fibre Channel.

Now we’ll take a look at the business results and advantages that Rackspace realized outfitting their data centers with 16Gb FC, the purpose-built and proven network for storage and engineered to meet Rackspace’s high demands.

Business Results

Due to business processes or regulatory practices, some Rackspace customers require dedicated SAN environments. Others can run their workloads on a public cloud, private cloud, dedicated servers or a combination of platforms; the Fibre Channel SAN ensures all perform. Numerous Rackspace representatives attest that the use of Fibre Channel has substantially enhanced the capabilities, simplicity and efficiency of their data centers.

“Storage is one of our most critical components of our solution offerings,” said Sean Widige, CTO Rackspace. “We rely on Fibre Channel because it enables us to quickly scale and meet our customers’ increasing demands. It also allows the customer freedom to utilize any of our service platforms while ensuring integrity of their data.”

The following were among the advantages Rackspace realized by deploying Fibre Channel:


Deploying Fibre Channel has allowed Rackspace to simplify their storage infrastructure, while simultaneously creating a denser environment, which permits more ports per square foot of data  center space. In the company’s Chicago data center, 16 directors now accomplish the same work that required 30 older director class systems before the transition to Fibre Channel. This represents an approximate 33 percent reduction in footprint.


Improves utilization, and increases efficiency through the proliferation of virtualization requirements demand the reliable performance levels. Virtual machine mobility demands the higher speeds that Fibre Channel provides for Rackspace to link three each of their global data centers. Fibre Channel provides exceptionally fast (up to 64Gbps) connectivity between six directors, ensuring a far more reliable medium. At the same time, it enables flatter, faster and simpler fabrics, which increase consolidation and reduce network complexity and costs.

Economy/Resource Maximization

Rackspace’s enhanced storage infrastructure footprint contains a high-density port count–which means that Rackspace requires less space for infrastructure and thus has more actual “rack space” to sell. Additionally, the lower per-port power that Fibre Channel draws has considerably eased the strain on data centers nearing capacity. Case in point: Rackspace had begun to experience energy issues in their data centers. These issues subsided immediately after high density Fibre Channel port count was deployed, despite the continued (and continuing) growth of Rackspace’s data centers.


Working with Rackspace Fibre Channel Architects, Fibre Channel engineers designed a fabric for Rackspace that was easy to grow and manage, and which allowed data center technicians to connect any device to any switch in the fabric. Flat, simple, and elastic, Fibre Channel fabric can easily scale up and down in response to Rackspace’s needs.

A Closing Note on Fibre Channel

In considering the benefits above, one begins to understand why Rackspace, along with 90 percent of Fortune 1000 data centers, trust Fibre Channel with their storage needs. These enterprises realize that data connectivity is more than just speed, but also about scalability, data integrity, operational simplicity, mission-critical performance, virtualization and reliability.

Take a few minutes to browse the wealth of resources regarding the benefits of Fibre Channel available on the recently launched Knowledge Vault, hosted by the Fibre Channel Industry Association.