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Managed Services

CenturyLink Offers Managed Services on Tap

In the first joint engineering project between the two major groups it acquired, CenturyLink said Wednesday that its cloud platform will now support on-demand managed services, delivered via pay-by-the-hour options, as cloud computing is today.

The new service represents a combination of the Savvis managed services expertise with the Tier 3 cloud computing prowess, says Richard Seroter, head of product management for cloud at CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL). Initially, Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux managed operating systems, as well as the managed applications Active Directory, Apache HTTP Server, Apache Tomcat, Microsoft Internet Information Services, Microsoft SQL Server, and MySQL, will be available on demand on a pay-as-you-go basis. Some of those had required weeks to deploy in the past.

"We wanted to drag the concept of managed services into the cloud era, but we were aware that it would be easy to do it incorrectly, and say, 'Let's not do anything to change that business; let's just cram it into the cloud,'" Seroter says. "We made a concerted effort not to do that."

Instead, CenturyLink Cloud chose to automate manual processes, install agents, and leverage the expertise of the Savvis 600-plus engineering staff on how to streamline the managed services process. In addition, he says, CenturyLink took advantage of application programming interfaces (APIs) in both the CenturyLink Cloud and Savvis platforms to connect the two in an automated fashion.

Total integration of the two platforms isn't currently on the technology roadmap. What the company is trying to do is make it easier for business customers to turn to CenturyLink for more of what they need in terms of cloud, managed, and network services.

The product announcement "is the next stage for CenturyLink in terms of putting the pieces together of the companies it's acquired -- Savvis and Tier 3," said Philbert Shih, an analyst with Structure Research. "It was a natural place for them to start."

Managed services on demand are a hot topic in the marketplace right now, but not a lot of people are actually doing it, he said. "CenturyLink has jumped ahead of the curve here."

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

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