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Level 3 Cloud Connects Digital Realty

Carol Wilson

In the latest indication of how networks and clouds are becoming more tightly interconnected, data center infrastructure provider Digital Realty today said it will offer its data center customers private, direct connections to the cloud infrastructure via Level 3 Communications' Cloud Connect solutions.

The service starts with two of the largest direct cloud connections: the AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute. (See Digital Realty Taps Level 3 for Cloud Connections.)

Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) announced its direct connections to Amazon Web Services Inc. and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) earlier and will be adding other cloud ecosystems, says its CMO Anthony Christie, as enterprises look to move to the cloud with services that are scalable and secure. (See Level 3 Offers Private Links to Cloud.)

Digital Realty Trust Inc. builds the physical infrastructure for data centers, providing the building, power and support structure for enterprises, service providers, and Internet companies, and until recently, wasn't engaged in helping its customers make network connections.

"This is a seachange," says Digital Realty CTO Jim Smith. "We were viewed as passive real estate providers for their data center infrastructure. As we have engaged more with the cloud teams, enterprises are now looking to us for more help. There is a rise in the complexity of all this that is fueling us all."

By offering direct connections to the AWS and Azure clouds within its data centers, Digital Realty can help enterprises adopt hybrid cloud approaches that more closely mirror what they need to support the range of applications they want to push into the cloud, without requiring them to have the networking expertise.

"These apps have been in private data centers and campus data centers for decades and it's not an insignificant undertaking to make that step to the cloud, whether it's public, private, or hybrid," Christie says. "Enterprises are saying they want to save money and increase security and have a bit more scalability so they can start to migrate those apps into the public cloud or a hybrid cloud in the data center."

The direct connections offer lower latency and secure private connections that have higher appeal for some apps, he adds.

Smith says the direct connection to Level 3's services will let Digital Realty offer its customers lower costs as well as reduced complexity. The deal isn't exclusive to either party and, at first, covers 14 markets within Digital Realty's global footprint which includes 131 properties.

Cloud services are becoming an increasingly important part of Level 3's service portfolio, as data center revenues constitute more than 10% of its total revenues, and the company continues to expand its global data center footprint.

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

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User Rank: Blogger
4/30/2014 | 12:43:26 PM
Re: The network is the cloud
For Level 3, it's one of the ingredients in the carrier's increasing success in the enterprise sector. L3 just reported oretty positive first quarter earnings today thanks in large part to its enteprise growth.
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
4/29/2014 | 12:33:59 PM
The network is the cloud
This is hardly a surprising trend - in fact, I think it was predicted in 2011 -- but tighter links between the network and the cloud are becoming de facto. Level 3 is clearly making a push to provide cloud connections, unlike other SPs who have their own cloud services units. 
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