CenturyLink Lights up First Cloud Data Center in Asia
A view of the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore River. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

CenturyLink Lights up First Cloud Data Center in Asia

Singapore one of many new cloud locations planned this year

Just as Asian service providers are extending their infrastructure reach to the U.S. and Europe, American and European companies are building out local presence in Asian markets.

The most recent example of the latter is the launch of a cloud data center in Singapore by CenturyLink, announced Tuesday. This is the first location in Asia for CenturyLink’s cloud infrastructure, although the company has been providing other services in the region for years.

The cloud infrastructure is in one of the Monroe, Louisiana-based company’s two data centers in Singapore. The launch is part of a global cloud expansion push CenturyLink is undertaking this year, which will take its cloud services infrastructure from the current 13 locations (including the new Singapore site) to about 20. Other existing CenturyLink cloud data centers are in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Pent-Up Cloud Demand in Asia

The company’s reasons for launching a cloud data center in Asia are similar to reasons other service providers have cited for expanding to the region. There is pend-up demand for IT infrastructure services from both local companies and multinationals looking either to enter the market or expand their existing footprint there.

CenturyLink has heard many requests from its existing customers for a cloud location in the region, Richard Seroter, director of cloud product management for the company, said. “We are seeing a number of large multinational companies looking to expand into the region.”

Seroter ended up at CenturyLink in 2013, when the telco and IT services giant bought his former employer Tier 3, a cloud service provider where he worked as senior product manager. Tier 3’s products formed the foundation of what is today CenturyLink cloud.

The list of cloud services available out of the Singapore data center is similar to the services available from the cloud’s other locations, including high-performance and standard servers, storage, orchestration, white label cloud, and service catalogs. The company plans to add its managed services to the list in the near future, Seroter said.

The idea is to make the customer’s experience of deploying cloud resources in Singapore the same as anywhere else. “It just kind of shows up for them [on the customer portal] as a destination,” he said.

Singapore is Just the Start

The company is planning to deploy more Asia-Pacific cloud locations, but Singapore was a logical place to start building CenturyLink’s cloud presence in the region. The company already had a successful colocation and managed hosting business there, as well as people who were familiar with the local market. “Singapore has proven to be a successful area for us,” Seroter said.

CenturyLink is competing with Asian as well as American and European players in Singapore and the Asian market at large.

A New Jersey cloud provider called Linode announced plans to add a Singapore data center to its existing cloud location in Tokyo earlier this year, for example. Amsterdam-based LeaseWeb opened a Singapore site within a Pacnet data center last year. Microsoft’s Azure cloud has a Singapore location, and so do Amazon Web Services and IBM SoftLayer.

Local Firms Care About Data Sovereignty

Over the past couple of years, data sovereignty has joined the list of top considerations for users of cloud services, as a result playing a bigger role in data center site selection by cloud service providers.

Seroter said customers in Singapore, especially local companies, were increasingly concerned with data sovereignty, wanting to make sure their data does not leave the country. “We field those questions a lot,” he said.

CenturyLink guarantees that its cloud customers’ data does not leave the region it’s in. “We’ll make sure that you’re comfortable knowing that your business data has never left that region,” he said.

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