[SATLUG] Rackspace

Brad Knowles brad at shub-internet.org
Thu Nov 5 18:10:22 CST 2015

On Nov 5, 2015, at 4:52 PM, Joe <null.div.zero at gmail.com> wrote:

> All,  especially those of you that work at Rackspace or a similar company,

So, I currently work at VMware and not at Rackspace, but they have recruited me several times over the years, when I’ve worked at places like UT Austin, at a consulting company working on a contract at Apple, at a cloud/devops consulting company headquartered here in Austin working for companies like Raytheon, AT&T, Shopkeep, ServiceMesh/CSC, and others.  I know several people who work (or worked) at Rackspace.

Let me give you an outsiders perspective of Rackspace, which is also applicable to most other hosting companies I know of, albeit to a lesser degree.

Keep in mind that everything I say here is my own personal opinion, based on my own direct interactions with several different Rackspace recruitment attempts, and my personal observations of what I’ve seen happen to a number of people who work (or worked) at Rackspace.

I’m sure that there are plenty of Rackers on the list who will violently disagree with everything I say.

Basically, they’re involved in a race to the bottom.  In fact, I submit that Rackspace is one of the major players helping to cause the race to the bottom.

Rackspace is heavily stove-piped, and none of the people working in one product line know anything about anyone or anything in a different product line.  They actively work to pay the lowest possible wages they can for the least qualified people they can, and as soon as those people get too much experience or start making too much money, they get tossed aside.  That’s assuming that the people in question don’t get burned out and leave the company first.

They think that “Senior” means someone who has two or three years of experience.  Their most senior technical people in the company have only five to seven years of experience.  They are incapable of dealing with the concept of someone who has a decade of experience, or more.  Now, none of this may be a problem for you personally, but it does tell you something really important about the company — they don’t value experience.

The reason why Rackspace opened a large office here in Austin is because they had basically exhausted the supply of people who were available and willing to work for them in San Antonio, and so the largest market of potential employees that was close by was an hour and a half north.  All the people I know of who work in the Austin office were told that they would be working up here the entire time they’re employed by the company.  And then that become four days a week and one day a week that they had to commute to San Antonio.  And then three/two, and then two/three, and so on and so on.

The management has actively and repeatedly lied to their employees about their working hours, their place of work, and virtually everything else.

Of course, now Rackspace is finding it harder and harder to get people up here in Austin that are willing to put up with that kind of BS.

If you want to get thrown in the deep end of the pool and see if you can either sink or swim, I’m sure that Rackspace will certainly be happy to let you do that.  Oh, and they’ll also be happy to give you plenty of extra lead weights to take with you on your trip.  But, if you can survive long enough, I’m sure that you’ll learn a lot of things very quickly — most likely the hard way, and most likely having to do with ways you want to avoid ever doing those things again in the future.

But I’m sure it is a great learning opportunity.  If you can survive.

Of course, to that degree, AWS is no different, and if you’ve read the recent reports, you know that Amazon is actually worse.  Hostgator is in the same boat. I don’t know of any large hosting providers/ISPs that are good in this area.

There are companies that are good, but most of them aren’t hiring — they’ve got plenty of former Rackspace/HP/Dell/Oracle/etc… employees to choose from, and they don’t need to advertise.  Or, if they are looking to hire people, they use word-of-mouth through their current people who are good and who might know others who are also good and who might be available.

Where I was at UT Austin was great when I first got hired, but then they hired a new manager above me, and the entire central IT Services division tanked — of course, these two events may or may not be related.  Oh, and we got caught in University-wide layoffs, too.  And my thyroid cancer also played a bit of a role.

The consulting company I worked for when I was on contract at Apple was fine, but once the contract with Apple was over, they didn’t have anything more for me.  And I quickly learned that Apple just wasn’t the right kind of company for me, and the whole Bay Area was just way too bloody expensive to stay there.

The Austin-based consulting company has been good, but then they got bought by VMware in November of last year.  We’re still trying to figure out if that was a good thing or not.

> I've been working in oil & gas,  on SCADA networks.   I'm interested in
> changing directions.   And,  I'd like to do more with Linux.  So, my
> question is,  what kind of networking prospects are there at a company like
> Rackspace? And,  what kind of experience are they looking for?
> I have a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. I've got
> subnetting,  dns,  and  routing experience. I'm Network+ certified. And,
> I've been expanding my Linux experience on LinuxAcademy.com.   Also,  do
> you think I'm moving the right direction?  If not, what companies, or
> fields do you think I would be able to contribute,  with this skill set?

Skill-wise, it sounds like you’re doing reasonably well.

However, one question I would ask is what open-source projects are you involved in, and can we see what your work in that project has been?

For me, certificates have always been of questionable value.  I’ve always been more interested in seeing actual concrete results.

Brad Knowles <brad at shub-internet.org>
LinkedIn Profile: <http://tinyurl.com/y8kpxu>

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