Cloud Investing

Microsoft is already one of the top cloud companies out there. The tech giant has recently seen increased support for its cloud computing platform, Azure.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is already one of the world’s top cloud companies, but it still hasn’t beat out (NASDAQ:AMZN). That said, Microsoft has recently seen increased support for its cloud computing platform, Azure.
At the recent Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, both Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX) and automated service provider Odin announced that they will get behind Azure.
Odin — the recently rebranded service provider business unit of Parallels — announced it will adopt Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, which allows companies to sell Microsoft cloud services along with their own offerings and services. Microsoft said at the conference that it will expand its CSP program to 131 markets.
Odin noted in a release issued Tuesday that it is already using the CSP program. Service providers such as Cobweb and have been using Odin Service Automation to deliver Office 365 and other Microsoft cloud services through the CSP. The company also stated that it is now “one of the first platforms available for partners to automate the end-to-end service delivery, customer management and billing across Microsoft Azure services, Office 365, the Enterprise Mobility Suite.”
“The Microsoft CSP program is a powerful model which opens up new opportunities for partners,” Alex Danyluk, vice president, alliances at Odin, said in a statement. “Service providers who work with Odin have been able to future-proof their Microsoft investments by having access to the latest offerings such as Azure through the Odin Service Automation platform.”

Rackspace to help Microsoft move higher among top cloud companies?

Also at the conference, Rackspace announced Fanatical Support for Azure, a partnership aimed at helping companies get started using Azure. Rackspace will help companies minimize costs and optimize their performance for the platform, as well as help companies implement hybrid solutions that combine Azure with Rackspace’s own cloud platform.
“We’re pleased to expand our relationship with Microsoft and the options we provide for our customers by offering Fanatical Support for Azure,” said Rackspace CEO Taylor Rhodes in a Monday release. “By adding support for Azure to our portfolio, we can now serve customers who want public, private and hybrid cloud environments built on the Microsoft Azure Stack.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, the agreement between Microsoft and Rackspace is aimed at simplifying the shift from conventional to cloud computing for businesses. Case in point: a number of analysts have said that complicated processes are some of the biggest barriers stopping businesses from getting on board with top cloud companies.
The Journal also suggests that Rackspace’s stellar reputation could help Microsoft take a run at cloud computing rival’s Amazon Web Services.
To be sure, top cloud companies such as Microsoft appear to be taking over the cloud space. is still clearly in first place, but partnerships with companies like Odin and Rackspace could certainly be advantageous for Microsoft — Rhodes told the Journal that the deal will help Microsoft “enlarge the market for Azure customers.”
That said, there could still be space on the list for some smaller players. Back in May, Parallels/Odin CEO Berger Steen told The Register that Azure will help build awareness of the cloud, but that that smaller, targeted top cloud companies will win the day in terms of doing business with local, specialized businesses.
Certainly, those looking at top cloud companies will want to keep an eye on Microsoft, and on what Odin gets up to following the partnership.
Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 
Editorial Disclosure: Rackspace provides services to the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content. 



S&P 5004116.54+58.70


Heating Oil3.86+0.01
Natural Gas8.69-0.20