CenturyLink Continues Enterprise Cloud Blitz With Tier 3 Acquisition

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Tier 3 in September was dubbed a "Niche Player" in Gartner's 2013 Cloud IaaS Magic Quadrant, with Gartner praising Tier 3 for its "excellent, highly differentiated set of features" as well as its "well-engineered platform" and "easy-to-use self-service portal."

Tier 3 represents one of several cloud providers CenturyLink has acquired over the past few years. In addition to its blockbuster $3.2 billion acquisition of Savvis in 2011, CenturyLink in June scooped up Portland, Ore.-based PaaS provider AppFog for an undisclosed amount.

CenturyLink's Higginbotham said AppFog's PaaS is expected to "sit neatly" on top of the Tier 3 IaaS offering.

For CenturyLink partners, Higginbotham said the Tier 3 platform will be the flagship enterprise cloud offering they sell moving forward. "They are already selling cloud today," Higginbotham said of partners. "They will now sell the Tier 3 cloud."

New partner opportunities, Higginbotham continued, will include solution providers being able to sell Tier 3's while-labeled cloud services.

Andrew Pryfogle, senior vice president and general manager of Cloud Services and Complex Bids at Intelisys, a Petaluma, Calif.-based master agency and CenturyLink partner, said CenturyLink's Tier 3 buy suggests the telecom giant is doubling down on its enterprise cloud push.

"We haven't done business with Tier 3 yet, but they have a great reputation in cloud infrastructure. We do a lot of business with CenturyLink and Savvis. We're excited to see CenturyLink continuing to double-down on their cloud strategy," Pryfogle told CRN in an emailed statement. "The Tier 3 acquisition is a bold move and solidifies CenturyLink's leadership position in the cloud."

At its annual Alliance Expo conference earlier this year, CenturyLink pledged to grow the company's percentage of channel revenue from 15 to 30 percent within the next five years, as part of a broader effort to leverage partners to attack hot markets like cloud.


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