Big changes atop CenturyLink cloud as Higginbotham departs

Andrew Higginbotham, the CenturyLink exec who helped bring that telco into the modern cloud computing era, is leaving the company after 14 years, Gigaom has learned.

Higginbotham, who was SVP of cloud and technology, led CenturyLink’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Savvis in 2011 and subsequent purchases of AppFog, Tier 3 and DataGardens, all deals done to build the company’s cloud-and-services portfolio.

Aamir Hussain, the EVP and CTO brought aboard in October from Liberty Global Europe, will drive a reorganized cloud effort going forward, a source said. As part of that, I’m told that Jared Wray, the founder and former CTO of Tier 3, will have broader responsibilities.

The news has not been announced and the company had no comment for this story.

CenturyLink, Monroe, Louisiana, is one of several telco-oriented companies pushing beyond its roots and it’s services have garnered some good reviews from [company]Gartner[/company] and others. All of those companies face entrenched competition from public cloud leader [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services and the growing muscle of IT giants like [company]Microsoft[/company] and  [company]IBM[/company].

This is the latest of several executive changes at cloud providers of note. Lance Crosby, the former CEO of SoftLayer, who was IBM’s top cloud guy, left the company last month. Marten Mickos, the former CEO of Eucalyptus, who became HP’s top cloud exec in September, is stepping back from those duties.

Note: This story was updated at 2:33 a.m. PST February 27 to reflect that Jared Wray was CTO of Tier 3.

Cloud Foundry faces fear of forking

Forking of open-source projects can be good or bad. Developers love freedom of choice but big customers fear lack of compatilbility. In either case the prospect of a Cloud Foundry fork is worth examining.

Do federated clouds deliver?

Federated clouds, the idea that customers can span different clouds with their computing and data, decided on cost, location or other variables, isn’t really available today, but there’s hope that it will emerge in the future and help service providers compete against Amazon.

Tier 3 spiffs up cloud management

More granular cloud management features will make it easier for companies and service providers to set up group policies and lessen server sprawl in their environments, says Tier 3 CTO Jared Wray.