Former Rackspace Channel VP Jumps To ViaWest


One of the key architects of the Rackspace channel program has taken a position with Denver-based ViaWest, CRN has learned.

When asked about the reasons for the move, Chris Rajiah, ViaWest's newly appointed senior vice president of sales and marketing, pointed to the expanding cloud channel opportunity, combined with the opportunity to assume a higher-level position that can better enable him to facilitate the market inflection.

"I see an incredible business potential in the markets in which we play," Rajiah told CRN. "It's a complete portfolio of solutions that spans colocation, private cloud and public cloud consolidated within a single data center."

[Related: Rackspace Acquires Exceptional Cloud Services, Extends Developer Tool Set]

ViaWest operates 24 data centers in Colorado, Texas, Oregon, Utah and Nevada. Customers include e-commerce companies, financial service companies and a variety of other verticals that need to abide by compliance requirements.

Roughly 25 percent of the company's revenues are currently indirect, and Rajiah's top priority is to reinforce the programmatic and operational components necessary to drive further growth. "Training and channel enablement are among the things that I intend to bring to the table," Rajiah said. "It's all about building the next phase of the channel. And I definitely think we can raise our channel revenue number above 25 percent. We have solid direct sales capabilities, but there's plenty of opportunity for partners.

"The channel has a great deal of influence in the cloud," continued Rajiah. "There are many different channel models within this space, and we are committed to helping our partners find profitability and success. We will help them to evolve, and give them the tools that they need."

Rajiah previously served as vice president of worldwide partner sales at Rackspace, where he was responsible for the go to market strategy, and the channel sales and marketing organization. He previously served as the channel lead at Sunnyvale, California-based Extreme Networks.

"Chris knows how to partner with the channel," said Bill McCarthy, senior vice president of cloud and managed services at Tempe, Ariz.-based Insight Enterprises. "He knows how to engage key executives in ways that bring different companies together to build solutions that meet the market needs. He has an appreciation for the cloud, and has good balance between direct and indirect sales. That's what's needed."

PUBLISHED APRIL 16, 2013