Yesterday my colleague, Mike Mozey, posted a great article on reselling hosting services using the Rackspace Cloud Sites platform. Since then we have received several inquiries about reselling our Cloud Servers platform so I thought I’d post some thoughts on this subject.
Cloud Servers does not yet have built-in reseller functionality in our control panel and it may be some time before we see something similar to Cloud Sites implemented. This leaves you with a few different options:
- You can leverage the robust Cloud Servers API and develop your own front-end control panel for communicating with our services programmatically. This would allow your customers to login to a custom interface (you would have to build) for your specific brand and perform the same functions you would in the Rackspace Cloud control panel. This option would require intensive development work, but you could essentially put your own face on top of the Cloud Servers infrastructure and have your own management portal for each customer.
- If you don’t want to go so far as to build your own control panel for your customers, some of our current resellers have a custom sign-up process for their customers that trigger the deployment of a Cloud Server and the customer is simply provided with the IP address of their server and the root login credentials. You would still need to implement your own usage tracking and billing portal for your customers, but there are many open-source and commercial products that you can leverage for this piece.
- Another common method for reselling using Cloud Servers (not necessarily reselling Cloud Servers themselves) is to offer standard shared hosting type plans by carving up your server instances. You can do this with a wide variety of open source software or commercial control panels such as cPanel/WHM. The great benefit here in comparison to offering this type of hosting on a dedicated server is the fact that you can easily scale up your resources as your customer base increases. Purchase for actual demand, not planned demand and you will save a lot. This is the power of Cloud hosting.
I hope this article helps to clarify some of the questions about reselling the Cloud Servers platform. It may take a little more work and the implementation of an outside billing system and some custom development, but it allows you to be highly flexible with your business workflow. If you have not seem the API guides for Cloud Servers or Cloud Files be sure to check them out.
If you have any questions feel free to email me or post a comment below and I’ll get you an answer!
UPDATE: One important thing I forgot to mention is that the Rackspace Cloud is soon going to launch their new reseller program which will provide volume based discounts to registered resellers. So if you build up a large client base leveraging the Rackspace Cloud platforms not only can you add your own value to our infrastructure but you will receive discounts on your monthly service at different tiers based on your monthly recurring charges. The more services you resell, the lower it will cost you which only increases your profit margins more.