Data center service provider CenturyLink has completed data center expansion projects in six markets in the first half of the year, adding a total of 10.8 MW of power capacity to address growing demand.
While the Monroe, Louisiana-based company provides a plethora of upper-layer services, from dedicated hosting to Platform-as-a-Service, its colocation customers continue to take up the bulk of the space in its 55-plus data centers in North America and Europe, Keith Bozler, senior director of colocation product management at CenturyLink, said.
Decisions on where to expand are driven largely by demand patterns, Bozler explained, and the latest round of expansion was to address growing demand in Boston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and London. The company also recently entered new markets: central Washington State, where it launched an 8 MW data center earlier this year, and Australia, a market it entered through a partnership with its Australian peer NextDC.
While most of the space in CenturyLink data centers is occupied by colocated customer gear, the company rarely signs pure colo deals, Bozler said. Customers usually combine colo space with its other services and ultimately deploy some form of hybrid infrastructure.
But data center expansion projects provide capacity to grow the colocation business unit first and foremost, he explained.” There’s always some sort of combination of colocation and network [or] colocation and managed,” he said.
The foundation of CenturyLink’s colo business was its $2.5 billion acquisition of data center service provider Savvis in 2011. Since the acquisition, the company has aggressively pursued the services higher up the stack, but colocation has always been core to its strategy, as Drew Leonard, VP of colocation product management at CenturyLink, told us in an interview last year.
The general aim is to become a provider to whom customers come for all of their data center services needs, be they colocation, hosting, or Infrastructure-as-a-Service. The company has built a technology platform that unifies all of its services under a single pane of glass, aiming to make it easy for customers to stand up infrastructure that combines a variety of types of IT resources.
It uses the same platform to make its data center capacity expansion decisions. CenturyLink has a group of data scientists on staff analyzing usage data generated by the platform and helping make a variety of operational decisions.
Earlier this month, CenturyLink launched a bare-metal cloud service companies can use to spin up dedicated physical services almost the same way they spin up cloud VMs.