CenturyLink garners AWS Managed Services Provider Partner status

After a nearly six-month process, CenturyLink has gained Amazon Web Services' (AWS) stamp of approval by being named as a Managed Service Provider Partner.

While CenturyLink had an existing relationship with AWS, being named an AWS Managed Service Provider Partner gives the telco's enterprise customers an increased level of confidence, according to CenturyLink's David Shacochis, who is vice president of product management.

"AWS has put a lot of thought into what they consider state of the art in terms of being a managed services provider, and the MSP certification is a seal of approval that says that what you're offering meets that state of the art (definition)," Shacochis said in an interview with FierceTelecom. "It's really just an overall level of confidence."

Shacochis said the MSP certification, which was validated by a third-party auditor, boiled down to CenturyLink being able to demonstrate that it could model, manage and orchestrate cloud services, as well as be able to monitor and predict failures. It also required a more analytical approach to operational metrics, as well as the ability to optimize and analyze financial patterns as they emerge in cloud platforms.

"These are the critical areas that AWS looks at in terms of achieving customer success and they want to make sure that we as a service provider are delivering that," Shacochis said. "One of the primary things that they're looking for is to make sure that you are not delivering managed services in a traditional way. That you're delivering them in a way that recognizes the dynamic nature of the cloud and that were adding value in ways based on predictive analytics. They want to see a lot of differentiators in that realm."

CenturyLink put its Cloud Application Manager, which is its platform for designing, managing and optimizing cloud platforms, into the AWS MSP certification process. Cloud Application Manager allows CenturyLink's customers to automate application deployments, optimize costs, scale workloads and manage connections across various operational environments.

RELATED: CenturyLink connects with Oracle Cloud to serve enterprise customers

CenturyLink struck up a partnership with Oracle Cloud last month, and it also announced support earlier this year for Google Cloud Partner Interconnect, a service from Google Cloud that allows customers to connect to the Google Cloud Platform from anywhere in the world.

Shacochis said CenturyLink has already gone through the VMware Cloud Verified process for all its services that are based on VMware technologies and VMware Cloud Foundation architectures.

"We are actively going through Microsoft's MSP audit process as well," Shacochis said. "They are all slightly different. Google has an MSP program that is still in the early days as is our relationship with Google, so that's a work in progress."

Competitive landscape

Shacochis said that CenturyLink's traditional telco competitors, which include AT&T and Verizon, haven't taken the same path in the enterprise IT solutions space. For managed IT services, he said CenturyLink competes more directly with system integrators, managed hosting companies and niche consulting companies.

"When you look at our competitors in the telecom sector, a lot of them are not making these kinds of investments," he said. "When you look at other competitors in the managed services sector, not a lot of them have the same class of assets that we do in terms of our global network interconnectivity as well as our global cybersecurity capablities.

"So this MSP certification is an example of how CenturyLink is a qualified managed service provider, but the breadth of our assets start to become the real differentiation in terms of connecting workloads to the right networks and then protecting them with the depth of cybersecurity and expertise that you're not really getting from some of the traditional managed service providers."