CenturyLink service offers self-serve connection to AWS

CenturyLink has launched a self-serve, pay-as-you-go service that lets companies create a temporary virtual Ethernet connection between AWS and a colocation facility or office location.

The new CenturyLink service, called Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections, is available to businesses that use any of the 2,200 colocation data centers with CenturyLink optical fiber. The service is also accessible by companies with offices located in more than 100,000 commercial buildings with the carrier’s fiber.

Geographically, Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections is available in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe. The broad accessibility stems from CenturyLink’s $34 billion acquisition of Level 3 Communications in 2017.

Level 3’s software-defined networking technology powers Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections, which creates a private Layer 2 connection to AWS. A corporate engineer would create the link by logging into the CenturyLink portal and choosing the location he wants the carrier to connect to the AWS data center where his company’s applications are running.

New CenturyLink service bills by the hour

CenturyLink charges by the hour for the virtual circuit, which the engineer would delete when it’s no longer needed. If the link remains after five to 10 days — CenturyLink hasn’t decided on the exact time — the carrier will switch the connection from the hourly rate to a monthly subscription.

Companies sometimes need temporary circuits to transfer data to or from applications running on AWS. Companies can choose circuit speeds ranging from 5 Mbps to 3 Gbps, depending on the amount of data headed to the cloud provider. CenturyLink plans to up the maximum speed to 30 Gbps soon, said Chris McReynolds, vice president of core network services at CenturyLink.

Dynamic Connections is a part of CenturyLink’s Cloud Connect service, which provides long-term links to AWS through the cloud provider’s private network connection, called Direct Connect. Companies use the CenturyLink service when corporate policy or government regulations prohibit them from using the public internet.

Last month, CenturyLink used the broader fiber optic coverage it received with Level 3 to make its software-defined WAN service available in more than 30 countries.

The acquisition resulted in CenturyLink exiting the colocation business. Less than a week after announcing the Level 3 takeover, CenturyLink sold its 57 colocation data centers to private equity consortium BC Partners for $2.15 billion in cash. The carrier used the money to help finance the Level 3 deal.