CenturyLink connects with Microsoft Azure cloud

Using its Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections platform, CenturyLink is turning up cloud connections for enterprises in Microsoft Azure and Azure Government.

CenturyLink's Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections, which are delivered over private MEF Carrier Ethernet 2.0 connections, provides enterprise customers with the ability to self-provision their network connections. CenturyLink first announced Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections in October of last year. CenturyLink has a similar arrangement in place with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that was also announced in October.

As an authorized connectivity partner for both the AWS and Azure clouds, CenturyLink could get a trickle-down piece of the Pentagon's $10 billion JEDI contract, which is slated to be awarded to either AWS or Azure next month.

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By tapping into CenturyLink's software-defined network, Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections, which is a private Layer 2 service, delivers IT agility by enabling customers to connect with hybrid environments on-demand, across private cloud, data center locations and public cloud destinations such as Microsoft Azure or AWS.

With more workloads and applications, such as Salesforce and Office 365, moving to the cloud, enterprises want more flexibility in regards to how their services can be dynamically connected.  With Dynamic Connections, customers can, in real-time, turn up or turn down private Ethernet connections to cloud service providers via a self-service portal or an API that was developed by CenturyLink.

The Dynamic Connections application requests can be one of the following types:

• Connection creation

• Connection deletion

• Connection status check

• User Network Interface (UNI) service query

CenturyLink's usage-based model allows enterprises to consume bandwidth in the same way they are used to consuming cloud services.

“With this addition of Microsoft Azure, CenturyLink can now directly connect to approximately 70% of the desired destinations for all public cloud market users,” said CenturyLink's Paul Savill, senior vice president of core network and technology solutions, in a prepared statement. “This gives customers even more flexibility for how they leverage their cloud workloads. Our robust global network and the self-service features of Dynamic Connections combine to deliver secure, reliable and scalable connectivity so enterprises can deliver IT agility with their cloud environments.”

While a typical switched Ethernet service can take an average of two months, from signing the contract to turning the service up, Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections can cut that time frame down to a matter of minutes for the same service. Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections, which is part of the CenturyLink Cloud Connect portfolio, is available across North America, Asia Pacific and Europe.

Resiliency is included in every Dynamic Connection using Azure via redundant virtual circuits and the connectivity capabilities of CenturyLink Dynamic Connections and Microsoft ExpressRoute. CenturyLink also offers Dynamic Connections in separate physical facilities for locations such as Washington, D.C., which allows customers to create even more resiliency while having similar latency performance for their Azure ExpressRoute connections.

CenturyLink’s network capabilities include about 450,000 route miles of fiber, with more than 150,000 on-net buildings, including connectivity to more than 2,200 public and private data centers across the globe.