Rackspace Managed Hosting today announced Intensive Hosting for ASPs™, a new offering from its Intensive Hosting division tailored specifically for Application Service Providers. Rackspace is the first hosting provider to offer a custom solution for companies seeking to offer their software application through the Software-as-a-Service model, and created this solution in response to market demand for an offering that directly addressed the specific needs of hosted software vendors.

The ASP market is growing steadily and more software vendors plan to transition to the Software-as-a-Service model to deliver products to their end users. As published in a recent issue of Network World, IDC expects the ASP market to more than double from $1.6 billion in 2003 to $3.5 billion by 2008.

“The ASP market is experiencing a revival as many developers add or shift to a hosted software model,” said Ben Pring, principle analyst, Gartner. “ASPs need a stable infrastructure on which they can build their business. However, building out an infrastructure is not a viable option for most. ASPs need to focus on their own software development and outsource the infrastructure to a trusted hosting provider.”

Rackspace’s Intensive Hosting for ASPs offers the following features:

*A world-class infrastructure with no upfront capital investment. Rackspace delivers industry-leading infrastructure and service guarantees – including the company’s brand of customer service, known as Fanatical Support™. To ensure the highest levels of performance and availability, Rackspace offers the full spectrum of hardware, software and services to run any hosted environment.

*A usage-based model that allows ASPs to scale their application infrastructure as they add customers. Intensive Hosting for ASPs includes utility pricing for spikes in network, server and storage usage. Customers can pay for bandwidth and backup capacity fluctuations by usage and can deploy new servers, security devices, capacity and services in less than eight hours guaranteed.

*Tools to guarantee that current levels of service meet or exceed the customer’s service level agreement (SLA). Intensive Hosting for ASPs offers application monitoring thresholds for notification when hosting resources begin to run low. Scalability planning experts work monthly with ASP customers to prepare for future changes in traffic and capacity.

*A customized SLA for ASPs ensures software applications are available to customers 24/7. Intensive Hosting for ASPs guarantees 100 percent network uptime and up to 100 percent application availability. Off-network Web services are monitored and rapid response and incident resolution are guaranteed. Additionally, Rackspace will assist the ASP in crafting an SLA for application delivery to its own customers.

*A partner that ASPs can take to market with them. Rackspace offers marketing support including executive and security briefings for ASPs’ customers in addition to data center tours. Rackspace collateral assists ASPs in communicating the hosting integrity of their Web-based software offering. Rackspace will deliver proposal and pricing support along with technical documentation to answer infrastructure-related questions in customers’ RFPs.

Many ASPs already trust Rackspace with the mission-critical applications their customers use every day. Examples include Advectis (Paperless Mortgage Transactions), AngelPoints (Corporate Community Programs) and Excedent (Email Hosting).

“Rackspace offers the ideal solution for ASPs who must cater to the stringent SLA requirements of their customers,” said Mike Shutt, chief technology officer, Advectis. “Rackspace’s application availability guarantees, advanced security protections, capacity planning and monitoring capabilities help to specifically address the needs of companies like ours who offer hosted software applications.”

“We provide ASPs an infrastructure that was previously only available to very large providers who could build out their own data center and IT department. By hosting with Rackspace, software delivery can be transitioned more easily to a hosted model and can free up resources to focus on application development,” said John Engates, chief technology officer, Rackspace Managed Hosting. “Rackspace’s new Intensive Hosting for ASPs can decrease costs an average of 40 percent while mitigating the risks associated with managing the application infrastructure on your own.”