LAS VEGAS — CenturyLink advanced its edge strategy at re:Invent this week with a new managed storage service. It’s called CenturyLink Network Storage, and it’s built on NetApp’s software-defined storage technology.
The service provider first announced its “several hundred-million dollar” investment in in edge computing services back in August, and the storage service is “a continuation of that story,” said Dave Shacochis, VP of product management for hybrid IT solutions at CenturyLink, in an interview at re:Invent this week.
CenturyLink’s new software-defined storage allows companies to create storage in the network in close proximity to where data is created and consumed, Shacochis said. “The service allows us to add storage protocols, and storage services become one of those virtualized network functions to deliver and store general purpose data,” he added.
Amazon Web Services also announced two new edge computing efforts at re:Invent. One, called Local Zones, essentially sets up Outposts — this is Amazon’s new on-premises infrastructure — in other, non-customer locations where AWS doesn’t currently have a region. This gives customers access to AWS compute, storage, and other cloud services closer to where they create the data and allows them to create lower-latency services for end users.
Shacochis said CenturyLink doesn’t view AWS’ edge efforts as competition. CenturyLink already provides managed AWS services to its customers, and adding edge networking, compute, and storage to the roster will be a value add.
“We think of the whole AWS Outposts initiative as very complementary to everything we’re doing at the moment,” he said. “We’re talking to a few customers now about supporting AWS Outposts inside those edge computing facilities, and we’re doing a lot of deep discussions with AWS about their Outpost initiative — especially around all the networking options.”
Local Zones and on-premises Outposts need a reliable network connection to deliver the these low-latency services, he explained. “So we’re working with AWS from a networking standpoint, and we’re also getting a lot of those edge computing facilities inside our network certified as a host location.”
This means CenturyLink will be able to essentially place Outposts in its network via its edge computing facilities. “So as those land inside the network, instead of trying to put an Outpost in every single physical location, [customers can place one in CenturyLink’s network] and you can start to have very low-latency serving many locations.”