CenturyLink continues revitalization with new private cloud

Andrew Higginbotham, SVP of CenturyLink Cloud.

New-look CenturyLink is making a new private cloud option — that exactly mirrors its own public cloud — available across 57 data centers. The company, like its many rivals, is targeting companies that want the warm-and-fuzzy feeling of private cloud paired with the ability to “burst” into public cloud as needed.

The new private cloud is “an exact replica of our public cloud but completely dedicated and isolated to our enterprise customers… They are based on our new CenturyLink platform and associated orchestration,” Andrew Higginbotham, CenturyLink SVP of cloud, said in an interview.

That platform leans heavily on CenturyLink’s acquisition of Tier 3 last year and relies on the VMware ESX hypervisor but not the rest of the VMware stack. Centurylink is also a big VMware partner in that it hosts vCloud Hybrid Services (vCHS), so the spirit of industry coopetition lives on.

CenturyLink says its telecom and networking roots to be price competitive with the big public cloud boys — the private cloud instances are “federated” into the CenturyLink public cloud nodes so customers get one interface for private, public or hybrid implementations that span both.

The company, based in the Silicon Bayou town of Monroe, La., started rebuilding itself as a cloud provider with $3.2 billion purchase of Savvis, a data center provider, three years ago, then buying PaaS player AppFog and then Tier 3. The company is now discontinuing the Savvis brand name and moving those cloud customers over to the platform, Higginbotham said.

While there’s potentially huge business here among companies moving more workloads to cloud, there’ s no dearth of options, including VMware’s vCHS, which we’ll no doubt hear more about next week out of VMworld; Microsoft says companies that run the full Windows Server stack in-house can form a hybrid cloud by tapping Azure as needed.  Even public cloud power Amazon is talking more about hybrid cloud deployments and will likely roll out more services a la Storage Gateway to ease private cloud-AWS co-existence.

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