CenturyLink: Software-based data centers change cloud service model

CenturyLink data center
Following the recent debut of its VMware-based DCC (Dedicated Cloud Compute) Foundation, CenturyLink is looking at other options to serve customers

CenturyLink may have sold off its data centers in 2016, but the service provider sees its ongoing effort to virtualize more of its network as a way to change how it delivers IT and cloud services.

Unlike the traditional model of staffing data centers and installing hardware to support IT services, CenturyLink sees the role of software in the data center enabling service providers to automate the service delivery process.  

David Shacochis, vice president of Hybrid IT product management for CenturyLink, told FierceTelecom that the telco is already moving ahead with software enabling the data centers it offers services out of today.   

RELATED: CenturyLink says data center sale accelerates its IT services focus

“Increasingly, you’re moving to an era whereby you want to work with the critical data center resources to support your IT initiatives,” Shacochis said. “You’re looking to them to be software-defined, provisioned on-demand on a public or private context and the software-defined data center is at the apex of that vision.”

Following the recent debut of its VMware-based DCC (Dedicated Cloud Compute) Foundation, CenturyLink is looking at other options to serve customers. To further develop its IT capabilities, the service provider has been developing its own in-house solutions, while acquiring others that bring specific elements to the cable.

CenturyLink acquired SEAL Consulting, an SAP solutions provider, to enhance its integrated application transformation capabilities, for example. New Jersey-based SEAL brings is its expertise in implementing SAP solutions for customers across manufacturing, retail and consumer products industry verticals.

One option CenturyLink is considering is delivering the DCC Foundation service directly out at the customer premises and other data center environment. The service provider is also considering using the DCC foundation to tie together private clouds into its cloud management service called cloud application manager.

“If you had to slot cloud application into one particular category, it is more of our multicloud play where we can help customers design applications, provision them and do reporting on those workloads,” Shacochis said. “This works with a number of downstream providers.”

Leveraging the assets it purchased from Elastic Box in 2016, CenturyLink can deliver services across other third-party cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft Azure.

“We’re also able to use cloud application manager to deploy workloads to our DCC Foundation service,” Shacochis said. “We can deploy to it in a standard way and use cloud application manager as our control plane across the private and public cloud.”

CenturyLink has made decent progress with virtualizing more of its network. As of the end of 2016, CenturyLink incorporated SDN and NFV technology into 60% of its major points of presence (POPs). By 2019, CenturyLink has set a goal to have 100% of those POPs virtualized by the end of 2019.

Interestingly, CenturyLink sees the divestiture of its data center facilities as a way to enhance its standing as an IT partner for business customers without having to dedicate capital to maintain data center facilities.