Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts 

Utilizes Markley Facilities to Build a Fully Redundant Private Cloud

The Problem

As a premier provider of quality health insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBS of MA) was facing a large investment for its IT infrastructure due to a relocation of its headquarters. However, the team's specialty is in healthcare and insurance applications, not designing, constructing and managing data centers. BCBS of MA needed a partner that could scale with them and provide 100% uptime to support its endeavor of making the patient experience better than ever. Further, BCBS wanted to use this opportunity to enhance its disaster recovery resources; doing so with another in-house managed data center would significantly increase the complexity of the project.

Some organizations embrace managing their own facilities, but for BCBS of MA that meant wading outside of its core competency and potentially putting the patient experience at risk.

Upgrading its current data center and building new whitespace for both primary and DR requirements within the BCBS of MA properties would lead to increasin costs, both predictable and unpredictable. Further, the BCBS of MA facilities team was not equipped to take on such a large project. The company was used to managing people and offices, not 24x7 mission-critical data centers.

The right decision quickly became clear. BCBS of MA was in the business of helping people, not managing complex facilities and their underlying infrastructure.

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Business Need
A colocation partner that could provide 100% uptime across two facilities

A DR facility accessible to the BCBS workforce, yet with a diverse infrastructure

A team of data center experts to advise and assist BCBS of MA with operations


A private, dedicated suite designed to  accommodate 300 cabinets and a BCBS of MA NOC and office space in Markley Boston

A Disaster Recovery facility at Markley Lowell

Use of Markley's Diverse Dark Fiber between each location to create an 'active/active' environment



The Solution

After touring and meeting with colocation providers all over Massachusetts, BCBS of MA quickly knew that Markley's One Summer Street facility, New England's largest and longest operating mission-critical data center and telecom hub, and Markley Lowell, the region's most reliable and well-connected suburban facility, was what was needed to usher in BCBS's next generation of IT investments. Additionally, Markley's Lowell facility was easily accessible to the BCBS workforce and is supported by diverse utilities.

BCBS of MA knew it needed reliability and expertise above all else. With Markley, BCBS of MA has the secure, reliable 100% uptime backed infrastructure it needs to run its Private Cloud 24x7x365 and continue to deliver a seamless and world class user experience. Further, the move to Markley gave BCBS of MA the expertise it needed to create a custom build data center operation that could support its lofty goals. Markley's team was able to step in and assist in any area that the BCBS of MA team required at any time.

Today BCBS houses nearly 300 cabinets worth of equipment in its own private data center within the Markley Boston facility. Not only is the BCBS of MA infrastructure backed by Markley's unique 2N infrastructure and scalable 5x redundant cooling system, but BCBS also has its own private NOC and office space for its team to monitor and work on its environment, all supplemented by Markley's world class 24x7x365 operation team.

While no Markley facility has ever experienced a primary utility outage, BCBS of MA wanted to ensure that the patient experience is consistently seamless. To that end, BCBS deployed a 50 cabinet private cage in the Markley Lowell facility as its Disaster Recovery footprint. Further, BCBS of MA has been able to utilize the fully protected, dark fiber paths between Boston and Lowell, as well as independent connectivity that is not dependent on One Summer Street, to create an 'active/active' infrastructure architecture, for full redundancy.

All of Markley's technical capabilities are important, but are not the only things BCBS of MA considers valuable. Being in the Markley facility has given BCBS of MA seemingly unlimited options of network connectivity. Managing a Private Cloud for thousands of users across the Commonwealth of MA requires sophisticated and diverse network needs. At Markley, BCBS of MA is able to take advantage of an ecosystem of over 100 carrier and ISP options, which in turn has helped BCBS of MA decrease its network costs.

The Results

With its private cloud hosted at Markley, BCBS of MA has been able to reduce its facilities, operations and maintenance costs to levels it would never otherwise see by committing to an on-premise solution. BCBS of MA can continuously develop and improve its customer platforms, even on relatively expensive machines, while seeing an overall reduction in costs. Since BCBS of MA became a client in 2014, it has seen no downtime or data center performance issues of any kind.


With its infrastructure at Markley, BCBS of MA has been able to build a robust, scalable and, most importantly, effective private cloud with robust disaster recovery capabilities, that gives its user community access to the best possible healthcare. Beyond that, BCBS of MA has found a dedicated partner who cares about the company's goals and mission.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is a national leader in developing innovative strategies that help ease the burden of rising healthcare costs for families, businesses, and governments, and improve the quality of care. As a community-focused, not-for-profit health plan, BCBS of MA aims to generate a small margin from operations that is then reinvested in the business, its people and technology to constantly improve the patient and user experience of all its platforms.


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