& 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.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Muni Policies Stymie Edge Computing
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/17/2017
'Brutal' Automation & the Looming Workforce Cull
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/18/2017
Is US Lurching Back to Monopoly Status?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Pai's FCC Raises Alarms at Competitive Carriers
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Worried About Bandwidth for 4K? Here Comes 8K!
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 10/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Selfie Game Strong Click Here
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives