CenturyLink counting on data centers, network to take on Amazon

|By:, SA News Editor

"We believe we have the scale to compete," declares CenturyLink (CTL) cloud SVP Andrew Higginbotham as his company unveils major cloud infrastructure (IaaS) price cuts and new support/service features in response to big price cuts from Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

Higginbotham argues CenturyLink's 56 global data centers and massive U.S. and international fiber networks will help it gain enterprise clients - the company claims its network allows it to provide outbound bandwidth pricing that's 50% cheaper than Amazon's (AMZN).

CenturyLink has 1K+ enterprise customers and is the second-largest U.S. provider of data center colocation services, behind Equinix (EQIX). Its latest moves were enabled in part by recent acquisition Tier 3, an IaaS provider that tries to differentiate by simplifying service management and automation.

Nonetheless, CenturyLink still has to contend with Amazon's umatched mindshare, feature set, and developer support - Synergy Research estimates Amazon's Q4 cloud IaaS/cloud app platform (PaaS) share was north of 30%, and bigger than that of its top 4 rivals (Microsoft, Google, IBM, and Salesforce) combined. It also competes against other IT and telecom giants (Verizon, H-P, VMware), and independent players such as Rackspace.

Synergy's John Dinsdale: "The public IaaS market is essentially becoming commoditized ... Companies like CenturyLink have little option but to respond to pricing initiatives from [Amazon] (and Google and Microsoft) if they want to aggressively grow their IaaS revenues."