I went to visit Rackspace at their UK office today, ostensibly to discuss new hosting options and provide due diligence for our current solution. It was a genuinely interesting trip; I thoroughly recommend a visit if you get the opportunity. We discussed at length different virtualisation options with Bruce who is one of their pre sales technical support guys. Again I ended up learning a thing or two about oracle, VM-Ware and SAN utilisation. Its all about the IOPS!
We were shown around the offices by Patrick Williams whom I have dealt with at Rackspace for about 3 years now, we have sparred over pricing every time; some say haggling, some say refinement of solution architecture!
The Rackspace offices themselves are pretty cool. 700 people in one office and every one a smiling face (despite our bad taste in suits!) and Rackspace themselves are not only fanatical about their client service and support, but also about their employee support.
After visiting Rackspace we visited Titan internet (now part of the Iomart group) who have provided hosting for part of our services for a few years now. It was unfortunate that the monitoring system went down during the day, locking itself up whilst still responding to ping requests. No real hassle as during the day a our intensive glassfish consoles give the developers far greater granularity, but annoying none the less as our SMS and email alerts were not online whilst we were away from the office. I spotted it fairly early as we didn't get the normal 7:30 alert as the indexes were rebuilt, but it's a manual process that needs a sysadmin to start it. Somewhat of a highlight that we are awfully dependent on the skill of our internal personnel, something we really need to automate so we can concentrate on innovating rather than managing what we already have!