Century link acquires cloud player Tier 3

Mergers-and-AcquisitionsUS multiplay carrier and managed services provider CenturyLink has acquired Tier 3, a small infrastructure as a service and platform as a service provider. The double-play will bolster CenturyLink’s growing arsenal of cloud services, which already includes cloud service provider Savvis and Cloud Foundry-based platform as a service AppFog.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed but Tier 3’s 60 employees with stay on board to man CenturyLink’s Seattle-based Cloud Development Centre (Tier 3’s office), where the company’s cloud-focused technical resources will be consolidated. Tier 3’s cloud platform has been rebranded and is now available under the “CenturyLink Cloud.”

Jared Wray, the founder and chief technology officer of Tier 3, will serve as chief technology officer for the CenturyLink Cloud organization and head up the Centre.

“We founded Tier 3 in 2006 with a vision for cloud services that make life easier for enterprise developers and IT alike,” Wray said. “Our platform roadmap will combine with CenturyLink’s global network and data center footprint and managed services team to help change the face of enterprise computing.”

The Tier 3 acquisition complements CenturyLink’s purchase of Savvis earlier this year, its biggest push into the infrastructure as a service market. It’s also familiar territory for CenturyLink from a technology point of view. Tier 3, like Savvis, standardises on VMware and vCloud Director – though the company has made a big hypervisor-neutral push more recently, and is generally known for hosting complex workloads on its cloud platform. The acquisition could be a sign that CenturyLink is looking to hedge its bets in the IaaS space, particularly after Savvis reported a $1.1bn write-down in Q3 2013 citing slower-than-expected growth.

But Tier 3 is also involved in the PaaS market, which despite its size relative to the maturing IaaS and SaaS markets is one of the fastest growing in cloud. The Iron Foundry offering gained notoriety by adding .NET support to Cloud Foundry, the open source PaaS framework it’s based on, making it immediately appealing to enterprise developers that want to deploy and manage Microsoft-based applications. That said, the acquisition also gives CenturyLink the opportunity to consolidate Tier 3 and AppFog, the other Cloud Foundry-based PaaS it acquired earlier this year. And with its combined IaaS / PaaS / managed services offering becoming more robust it will be able to more effectively compete against IT giants like Microsoft and and a growing number of telcos moving to offer a similar service combination.

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