Cloud Services

CenturyLink Thinks Inside ElasticBox

CenturyLink's acquisition of ElasticBox, announced today, will help jump-start its efforts to offer enterprise IT customers the maximum flexibility in managing a multi-cloud environment, with a high degree of automation, a company executive said today. As part of that flexibility, CenturyLink is integrating its network and managed services into the multi-cloud platform to offer the broadest array of options. (See CenturyLink Buys ElasticBox and CenturyLink Buys Cloud App Management Specialist ElasticBox.)

Pasha Mohammed, vice president of product development and strategy for CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), tells Light Reading in an interview that his customers need to manage public and private cloud environments on an application or workload basis, but need an automated way of doing that. As part of the evolution of its cloud and managed services, CenturyLink went looking for way of jump-starting its abilities in this area and after scrutinizing its options, chose ElasticBox.

"We quickly got to a point where we realized it was a great idea for CenturyLink to make sure we provide not only the capability for the customer to operate in a multi-cloud environment but also to integrate in our bread and butter network services, and our managed services including managed security services, under a single platform," he says. "ElasticBox offered us the greatest bang for the buck in jump-starting that process."

ElasticBox had been early to the game of creating a multi-cloud management platform, integrating the existing applications programming interfaces (APIs) of the market shift in this direction, Mohammed comments. ElasticBox recently integrated the CenturyLink Cloud into its platform and the speed with which they did that in a process that is "very Agile, very scalable and very repeatable" convinced the network operator that this was the right acquisition, he says.

"Being able to elastically scale [workload environments] up and down and move them from one provider to another provider is something they produced in such a way as to make it very easy to move from one to another," he says.

See the latest happenings as telecom business services migrate to the cloud in our cloud services section here on Light Reading.

The key for CenturyLink is to apply that flexibility to the full range of network services and managed services so that enterprise IT customers have a broad range of choices when it comes to deciding what to manage themselves and what to hand off to CenturyLink.

"At the end of the day, when the integration is completed, the customer will have a choice of using our platform to either self-manage a private cloud or public cloud, or multiple public cloud instances, network security and managed services, either by themselves, which means they can have a team of experts that use this platform to do it for themselves, or they can use our managed services organization on their behalf," Mohammed says.

That means an enterprise will be able to manage its networks, public and private, and its cloud workloads on public and private clouds, so that they can not only instantiate virtual machines and start workloads but also scale them up and down as needed and move them from one environment to another as needed as well, he explains. That means backing them up from one environment to another, batching operating systems or applications, doing other complex tasks "all with this platform as the façade in front of them," abstracting complexity, he says.

Or that same enterprise can contract with CenturyLink to do all that for them, as a managed service, based on service level agreements and other customer guidance. And it will be possible to mix and match managed service with self-management -- in the managed security arena, companies may be looking for more help, given the lack of available personnel, he notes.

The integration process has started and teams are hoping to accomplish that quickly, "in months," Mohammed advises. CenturyLink expects to retain the ElasticBox talent, as well as its technology, he adds. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.

Among the public clouds that ElasticBox already supports are: Amazon Web Services Inc. , IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)'s SoftLayer, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Azure, VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), the CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) Cloud and the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Compute Engine. It also supports OpenStack , as well container technology from Docker Inc. and Amazon, and the Kubernetes open-source platform for managing apps across containers.

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

danielcawrey 6/16/2016 | 4:31:37 PM
Re: Provider Virtualization? This seems like an interesting solution for managing both public and private clouds. 

In the past, this has not been easy as generally the two remain separated. That's for security purposes, but overall great to see a solution that can overcome issues like that. 
bosco_pcs 6/14/2016 | 3:47:01 PM
Provider Virtualization? This is interesting. So is it a way to jail break in case a subscriber is being held hostage?
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