& cplSiteName &

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
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Documentaries
All Change in Video

2|11|16   |   33:12   |   (1) comment


At this moderated panel at 2020 Vision in Dublin, Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader of Light Reading, sits down with Jeff Finkelstein, director of network architecture at Cox Communications, to discuss the rapidly changing video market.
LRTV Custom TV
Hosting in Ireland, Past & Present

2|10|16   |   16:07   |   (0) comments


Garry Connolly, president of Host in Ireland, presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
What's Hot in Mobile Commerce?

2|10|16   |   12:18   |   (1) comment


Claire Maslen, financial services relationship manager at the GSMA, talks about the development of the digital commerce sector and the types of relationships that mobile operators are developing to further their m-commerce strategies.
LRTV Documentaries
EANTC Tests Nokia IP Routing & Mobile Gateway VNFs for Real World Deployment

2|9|16   |   5:08   |   (1) comment


Nokia obtained validation of its virtualized router and virtualized mobile gateway capabilities through rigorous testing performed by EANTC. The results set a new industry benchmark for outstanding performance, scalability, resiliency and manageability. Nokia VNFs are ready for telco cloud deployment, so that service providers can accelerate mobile, business and ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
AT&T Lights Fire Under 5G, Plans 2016 Trials
Iain Morris, News Editor, 2/12/2016
Yahoo & Verizon Sitting in a Tree...
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 2/8/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
It's Time to Integrate OTT Video
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/8/2016
Andreessen Facepalms on Facebook Free Basics
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 2/10/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.