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Cloud Strategies

CenturyLink Buys Into Database Simplification

CenturyLink's acquisition of Orchestrate, announced late Monday, illustrates the company's continued investment in its CenturyLink Cloud, this time adding a software startup that offers managed database services, making it easier to pull stored data together in support of applications or Internet of Things deployments. (See CenturyLink Buys Orchestrate for Managed Database Service.)

This is just the latest acquisition aimed at adding functionality to the platform, following CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL)'s purchases of Cognilytics and Data Gardens, and marks CenturyLink Cloud as a telecom cloud operator still being aggressive in adding functionality at a time when there is less activity in the telecom cloud space overall. (See Cognilytics Deal Speeds CenturyLink's Big Data Play and CenturyLink Acquires DataGardens for Cloud Disaster Recovery.)

Orchestrate software was already integrated into the CenturyLink Cloud marketplace, but the decision to acquire the company allows database-as-a-service to be offered across the CenturyLink footprint, giving customers on-demand access to multiple databases through a single applications programming interface.

The deal, the value of which was not announced, brings a startup firm from the Pacific Northwest into the CenturyLink family along with its core talent: Orchestrate co-founders Antony Falco, CEO, and Ian Plosker, CTO, as well as Dave Smith, vice president of engineering, and others will join CenturyLink.


Want to know more about CenturyLink Cloud's strategy? Come hear CTO Jared Wray deliver a keynote address at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event on June 9-10 in Chicago. Get yourself registered today or get left behind!


What they had developed was a method of simplifying what had become the complex environment of multiple data stores known as NoSQL databases. These are a new generation of databases that have sprung up in the last six years or so, and are known for being non-relational, distributed, open-source and scalable. Richard Seroter, director of product management for CenturyLink, explains in an interview with Light Reading and in a blog here, that the ability to collect, store and analyze a lot of different types of information is part of what is enabling diverse applications to develop.

It's the availability of a wide variety of stored data types that fuels things like recommendation apps to "show me anything my friends have recommended that's within five miles of where I am right now," notes Orchestrate CEO Falco. But the proliferation of these databases is also forcing those who want to develop apps or use all that data "to pay a complexity price," he says. "We decided to build something that would consolidate and simplify complexity that was erupting in the database world. It's like before the iPhone, you had a music player, a phone and a camera and now with smartphones you have all that converged into one. We did the same thing with databases."

Instead of having to manage multiple databases, customers get a single API, and Orchestrate manages the databases on the backend, doing the database dips, Falco explains.

CenturyLink sees a strong market trend behind proliferation of these databases to support IoT, mobile apps and more that customers and CenturyLink itself are looking to deploy, says Jonathan King, head of cloud strategy and business development.

"This brings together multiple NoSQL databases and adds query and really valuable capabilities to that. Customers can collect data and use it in an 'as a service' and on-demand way," King says. "That means they can develop and deploy apps more rapidly and save money in the process."

The new capbability will be offered as a service, he adds. Orchestrate had offered a "freemium" service but also a paid service and CenturyLink will continue that and expand it into its cloud footprint. In addition to making money directly, however, CenturyLink sees the addition of Orchestrate as complementary to its existing business by driving more apps that will require more of the other things CenturyLink Cloud sells such as compute and storage.

"We have been investing and growing CenturyLink Cloud as a platform and this adds to that platform, not just as a service in its own right, but so the whole becomes greater than the parts," King says.

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

Mitch Wagner 4/21/2015 | 3:35:32 PM
Re: CL Still Expanding Cloud Functions- Who Else? Seems like CSPs that don't get into the cloud market are relegating themselves to a future as dumb pipes.
cnwedit 4/21/2015 | 12:07:19 PM
CL Still Expanding Cloud Functions- Who Else? A year ago, cloud platform expansions seemed common. Now, not as much. Interesting to see CenturyLink continued to add capabilities. 
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