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Wednesday, 09 February 2011 10:35

Macquarie Tel launches second IaaS offering, via subsidiary

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When Macquarie Telecom launched its Infrastructure as a service offering last month it sought to differentiate this from the 'click-wrap' agreement, pay-by-credit card, self-service model of major overseas cloud providers. Now it has set up an arms length subsidiary to offer exactly these services.

The new company, Ninefold, kicks off today after opening its doors to beta customers in January. It has two key differentiators from the global players like Amazon: local storage and lower latency.

Prior to the launch of its IaaS offering Macquarie Telecom released a white paper highlighting the dangers posed by overseas data storage for Australian customers of services like Amazon. And, according to Ninefold CEO, Peter James, "Against a group of global competitors including Amazon we are anywhere from 750 percent to 900 percent faster across a range of apps, using a number of independent tests."

Although Ninefold is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Macquarie Telecom, James stressed that it was a quite separate entity. "We are a startup but we run at arm's length as a separately incorporated business. There are 15 of us and only one is from Macquarie Telecom'¦We are a separate brand, separate culture, separate people."

He told ExchangeDaily: "Our target market is the startups, web centric people, digital agencies and anyone who is looking for self-service, pay only for what you use cloud services.

"We have spent the last few months researching the local and overseas markets to come up what we think is a unique offering. When we did that market research people said they wanted someone who would be visible in the community, who could have longevity and the ability to scale."

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The company is also taking a different tack to marketing, relying entirely on social media, and IT community organisations such as Silicon Beat, Mobile Monday and Ruby On Rails. "We have not spent a cent on traditional marketing," James said.

Ninefold does not have a marketing manager and its second employee, Jonathan Crossfield, holds the title of 'community manager'. He told ExchangeDaily: "One of the reasons I joined the company was the idea that social media, the community and working with the customers would be built into the DNA of the company from day one.

"That meant our whole go to market strategy was lead by blogging, Twitter and social networks rather than traditional marketing. And we were blown away by how successful that was'¦We had a target in mind of how many beta customers we wanted and we hit that in the first hour."

He added: "I am not the only person in the organisation who spreading the word. The blog is from everybody in the team, and a lot of people in the office are on Twitter. People don't want to talk to the marketing guy, they want to talk to the people who build the system."

James said: "Our audience typically lives on line but they meet up off line, There is whole sub culture of meet-ups and we are very active in those'¦So while we are working with the community on line we are meeting with them in pubs and cafes."

Pricing for Ninefold's services start from 12.3 cents per hour for its smallest server with billing calculated in five second increments. Storage is 18.2 cents per GB per month. Bandwidth is 90 cents per GB per month. Initially Ninefold is not charging for inbound bandwidth, to encourage prospective customers to transfer their services to its servers.

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