CenturyLink starts airlifting managed services to its new cloud

CenturyLink(s ctl), which bought Tier 3 last fall to be the foundation of the new CenturyLink Cloud, is now starting to move its bread-and-butter managed services onto that cloud.

The first managed services down the chute will be Windows(s msft) and Red Hat(s rhat) Enterprise Linux managed operating systems; Active Directory; Microsoft Internet Information Services, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL(s orcl), CenturyLink plans to announce at Structure Wednesday. They will start rolling out in a few U.S. regions next week.

And, key for prospective customers, is that these services will be priced by the hour whereas with the traditional managed services, billing is by the month and a significant upfront buy is required.

In managed services, provisioning of server operating systems and applications like databases is all automated but real live human specialists are also available for licensing, administration, tuning, said Richard Seroter, director of product management for CenturyLink Cloud. The company’s stance is that this is the start of a transition of cloud consumption model to the realm of managed operating systems and applications.

The company will keep offering managed services via the traditional model as well.

While Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud dominate the public cloud in terms of size, companies like CenturyLink are betting that the availability of higher-end managed services on their platform will draw businesses. CenturyLink execs also say its telcom and networking expertise — it knows about bandwidth — will help it compete with AWS even on price, but at the same time it asserts the real battle field is shifting to higher level services.

For more on this check out the recent Structure Show podcast with CenturyLink SVP Andrew Higginbotham (pictured above.)

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