Light Reading

A Peek Inside CenturyLink's Cloud Expansion

Carol Wilson
3/25/2014
50%
50%

CenturyLink has continued its aggressive expansion of its cloud, collocation and managed services businesses, adding three new data centers and significantly expanding five others, in an effort to stay ahead of what the company says is growing demand. (See CenturyLink Expands Global Data Centers.)

Two of the three new data centers -- in Minneapolis and Phoenix -- reflect the CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) strategy of more closely tying its CenturyLink Cloud offers to its network services businesses, and will build on the sales relationships CenturyLink's local service operations already have, says Drew Leonard, VP of collocation product management. (See CenturyLink Cloud Goes Hyper.)

"We have an existing sales force hungry to sell our collocation products," Leonard says. "These are traditional CenturyLink markets that have large numbers of sales teams in the market, and relationships with a large number of enterprises."

The company is also touting another differentiator, however, in its Tier 3 certification status, when it goes into established markets such as Minneapolis and Phoenix, says David Meredith, senior VP and general manager.

Data center certification is done in four tiers, with Tier 3 being the second highest. A Tier 3 data center guarantees 99.982% availability, including redundant capacity components, dual-powered equipment and multiple uplinks. CenturyLink is going beyond that to guarantee 100% uptime.

"We are Tier 3 certified -- we are the first -- and we will have 1.2 megawatts of capacity day one that will be on-net for CenturyLink and connected to all of our other data centers," Leonard says. "We will have metro connectivity that will reach out to legacy facilities and other key data center providers in that metro, which is a level of service above and beyond what others are in that market."

The third new data center, in the Toronto market, is being driven by existing CenturyLink customers and appearing in a Canadian market where Leonard says CenturyLink has been finding success.

Among the facilities being expanded are those at Weehawken, N.J., a key financial services hub set up outside the New York City footprint in the post-911 era, and at Chicago, where the Chicago Board of Exchange is a key customer planning to take advantage of both new sites.

Other expansion sites include: Sterling, Va., part of the data hub in the northern Virginia area; Irvine, Calif.; and Reading, UK, where CenturyLink has substantial managed services business.

"In markets such as Weehawken, Sterling, Chicago, Toronto, Reading -- these are all high traction markets for us, and our strategy there is not to go dark, it is to keep expanding to stay ahead of demand to ensure we continue to have sellable capacity on site." Leonard says. "We are getting interest from all different types of customer, large deals and small deals -- we need to be nimble and react ahead of that demand."

The other two points of differentiation for CenturyLink include the range of services on offer, and its people, according to Leonard.

"We are the second largest retail colo provider in the world and we are a significant services and cloud provider, so when a customer goes with us... they may have been doing everything themselves in colo, and now they want to migrate and do more with managed services or in the cloud," he says. "We can provide these hybrid solutions, some managed, some cloud, whereas many of our competitors are colo only."

Even in the world of virtualization where the size and scope of the data center matters, expertise is still an important commodity, he adds.

"A lot of people argue that a data center is a data center, but that is not really true," he says. "What we offer is our people, who operate, manage and maintain on a day-in and day-out basis, and that is our history and legacy, delivering reliable colo services to our customers. We have 55 data centers now and some are brand new, but some are 17 years old and we are still offering 100% uptime, based on our experience."

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/25/2014 | 5:11:04 PM
Differentiator
Service providers need to work hard to differentiate themselves. Uptime, strong local ties, and expertise are significant ways to stand apart from the other guys.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Eyes Cloud-Based Home Networks

4|27|15   |   05:30   |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Finkelstein explains how moving services to the cloud will let cable deliver services faster and eliminate constant hardware replacements.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
Comcast Reportedly Dropping $45B TWC Bid
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/23/2015
Adtran Is Developing White Box GPON Tech
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/24/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Amazon Earnings: What to Watch For
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment