Rackspace Hosted Exchange & Office 365 vs. Microsoft 365
What Rackspace Offers
For the sake of this blog, we will be focusing on only their Office 365 offerings to provide a direct comparison.
Rackspace offers most of Microsoft's O365 and M365 licensing with all of the same features you would get with direct with Microsoft or a Microsoft CSP, so you could feel confident that you are not losing most features in M365 when going with Rackspace. They also offer most of the a-la-carte products and security options that Microsoft provides such as Enterprise Mobility and Security, Azure Information Protection, Email archiving, Power BI, etc., but as Microsoft does, these are add-ons with extra costs, unless you go with a higher level license that can include these.
In terms of email with Exchange, Rackspace offers hosted Exchange. This means that they have their own cloud email servers within Rackspace that your email is hosted on. This is different from Microsoft as they host Exchange Online and Office 365 on their servers across the US.
Rackspace also claims that they support all of their users on Office 365 with a 24/7 support team.
As mentioned, Rackspace does offer a fair amount of Office 365 licensing and you will get most of the same features with it as well, but one of the main differences between Rackspace and Microsoft (including MS CSP's) is pricing. There is a decent discrepancy when you compare license price on each platform. Let's look at an at-a-glance comparison of the two:
|Microsoft 365||Rackspace Office 365|
|License Type||Cost (per user/month)||Cost (per user/month)|
|EOL Kiosk/Exchange Essentials (RS)||$4||$5|
|Exchange Online Plan 1||$4||$7.50|
|Exchange Online Plan 2||$8||$11|
|M365 Business Basic||$6||$11.50|
|M365 Business Standard||$12.50||$13|
|M365 Business Premium||$22||$30.17|
|M365 Apps for Business||$8||N/A|
|M365 Apps for Enterprise||$12||N/A|
As you can see in the table above, Rackspace offers most of the M365 and O365 licensing that Microsoft offers, but not all. There are a few key licenses in the Enterprise and Business lines that Rackspace cannot accomodate. Although, these aren't the most popular Microsoft 36 licenses, not offering these can certainly make customizing your license types for you users a bit tougher.
Why Microsoft 365 is the Better ChoiceThere are a lot of 3rd party platforms out there that offer Office 365 options, Rackspace being one of them, but you will always lose some features or functionality with them. As mentioned at the top of this blog, the difference between Rackspace and Microsoft can certainly be the deciding factor:
- Rackspace is certainly more expensive in almost every license type. They are significantly marking up the prices, but offering the same thing. If cost is a factor in your decision, which it almost always will be, Microsoft is the better option.
- Rackspace is hosted Exchange. This means that they host email on their own cloud servers as opposed to Microsoft's cloud servers. This is a big difference as Microsoft has the knowldge, experience and power to support cloud servers all of the country/world, which increases redundancy and severly reduces downtime. With Rackspace, you are putting a lot of stock in their local cloud servers.
- Rackspace offers support of it's Office 365 users, but the feedback on said support is not great. Customers have experienced long wait times on submitted support tickets of days, sometimes weeks, before hearing anything back. As Microsoft does not have great support directly with them, they have CSP's, like RyanTech, to offer that support for them.