Exclusive: Markley Group adds cloud services to take on Amazon for business workloads

Markley Group, which made its name as a colocation, peering and data center provider in the heart of Boston, is adding business-class cloud capabilities to the mix with its new Markley Cloud Services, slated to debut on Tuesday.

The move shows that data center providers — companies like Equinix and Markley — see the need to add cloud services to their repertory. “Data center customers who buy cage space are all asking for additional services — it’s ‘bring me a cloud or I’m leaving'” said Carl Brooks, analyst at The 451 Group.

One of Markley’s aces in the hole is that it also owns and operates the carrier hotel — the largest telco and ISP interconnect site in the region — in the same building. And, as we all now know, proximity to those fiber pipes is gold for data center customers who want the fastest possible connections to their end users and partners.

Rooftop view of Markley's Boston facility.

Rooftop view of Markley’s Boston facility.

Markley data center

The initial Markley Cloud implementation builds on VMware(s vmw) technology, and Cisco(s csco) Unified Compute Systems, NetApp(s ntap) storage, and Juniper routers but Markley is also “playing around with OpenStack,” said ¬†Joshua Myles, product manager. “We polled 200 or so of our customers and 87 percent of them are VMware shops so we went with what they were comfortable with,” Myles said in a recent interview.

MarkleyThe new services mean that existing Markley business customers who want to try out a hybrid cloud model can “burst” workloads as needed from their own resources to Markley’s cloud.

The direct fiber links between Markley’s data center and the carrier hotel in the same building is a huge benefit to Markley and its customers, which include The New York Times, W.B. Mason, the Boston Red Sox, MIT, Harvard University, the Boston Internet Peering Exchange and other companies which prefer not to be named.

Initially, the new cloud services will be offered from this site, but will roll out at other Markley data centers across the country later, Myles said.  In total, Markley runs 13 data center sites in the U.S. and Europe.