Tier 3 has joined CenturyLink.  We are going to build amazing things together.

But let’s look back before we look ahead.

Many people contributed to the success of Tier 3.  Developers launched feature after feature, while network engineers supported customers day and night.  A passion for problem solving fueled their achievements.  A tireless team of marketing, sales, and finance pros helped along the way as well – building our thought leadership campaigns, winning new business, and keeping our back office humming.

I’d like to thank these talented individuals.  This is the team that built APIs, designed the UX, rolled out new self-service functions, and helped our customers grow.  We’ve worked with lots of great partners too.  Together, we advanced cloud computing.

Cloud is really, really hard.  Just read the headlines – enterprises and traditional IT vendors are struggling.

We started Tier 3 to make cloud easier.  We created products, processes, and a culture to help enable cloud for the enterprise.

And cloud is a littler easier now, thanks to Tier 3’s ecosystem of people and partners.

This deal would not be possible without Tier 3’s customers.  Their support, their decision to trust a smaller company for their cloud needs, and their feedback on how we could improve our service – all played a part in this coming together.

Very little will change for our customers.  Here are 3 things our customers should understand:

  1. There are minimal changes to the cloud services you use today.  Our compute, storage, and networking services are unchanged.  If you have customized the portal interface, this color scheme will persist.  If you have the default Tier 3 theme, you’ll see an updated experience with the CenturyLink logo and color palette.
  2. No change to SLAs.  Our commitment to uptime and availability remains high, as it always has.
  3. No change to the people and processes you have come to depend on.  We plan to retain our team of network engineers, developers, and support team as we transition to a new phase of growth.

One thing will be changing, however.  We will have more resources to accelerate cloud innovation and adoption.

That’s a good thing, because there’s more work to be done.  The industry needs to abstract more complexity away from users. CenturyLink is committed to building an amazing platform that does just that.

Early next year, we’ll open the new CenturyLink Cloud Development Center in the greater Seattle area.  This facility will foster an innovative environment where the best and brightest come together to move the industry forward.

We know this collaborative approach is the right one, because of our history at Tier 3.  Our team pioneered new technologies, embraced open source with Iron Foundry and other projects, and established a unique “build for cloud scale” development culture.

This commitment to open source and “cloud scale” culture are the defining parts of Tier 3 for me.  And both components are central to our future as a part of CenturyLink.

The new CenturyLink Cloud team will apply these philosophies to solve a wide range of challenges – both external, for customers, and internal, for employees and partners.

What challenges? 

We want to make cloud dramatically easier for everyone.  Not just for IT, or developers that “get” cloud.  But for technical staff unfamiliar or wary of cloud, and for business users.

We’ll solve this with five ideas in mind:

  • The enterprise cloud market is evolving to be more than infrastructure.  The cost of infrastructure will continue to drop.  However, the human cost remains – transforming this dimension is where the industry needs to focus.  That means self-service cloud products combined with managed services, global data center footprints, high-performance networks, and fiber.* Platforms of the future need to do more than resource aggregation.  Self-service infrastructure that’s elastic and cheap is the first wave of cloud.  But the next wave goes far beyond that.  We are nearing the tipping point, with market adoption of projects like Cloud Foundry.  Will the majority of cloud users even interact with servers in the future?  I don’t think they will.
  • Startup Agility + Corporate Backing = Rapid roadmap acceleration.  At first, I was a little skeptical when talking to CenturyLink.  What would they know about self-service cloud?  How could they attract highly skilled engineers?  After going through this process, though, I will say CenturyLink gets it.  They love the Cloud Development Center idea, and are looking for this new team to help lead their business into the future.  That means more resources to drive their cloud business forward, with new products and services.
  • Any workload, any time, anywhere.  Platforms that control and manipulate virtual resources should be able to optimize workloads wherever they are.  Not just on the CenturyLink Public Cloud infrastructure, but on other systems as well.  We’ll continue to build flexibility and adaptability into our software, so we can support other ecosystems like OpenStack.
  • Open Source FTW.  We deeply believe in open source. We depend on open source code to run our global cloud, and we contribute back with projects like Iron Foundry. Open source will continue to have an instrumental role in IT, and we want to be a part of it.

The journey has been incredible so far, but we’re just getting started.