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News briefs: CenturyLink's cloud acquisition; Salesforce, HP partner

This week, CenturyLink makes another cloud acquisition with Tier 3, while and HP announce a partnership to market 'Superpods.'

CenturyLink acquires Tier 3

CenturyLink Inc. announced Tuesday its acquisition of Seattle-based cloud provider Tier 3. Tier 3's Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform will be immediately available to CenturyLink customers as CenturyLink Cloud. CenturyLink said in a press release that Tier 3's products, roadmap and vision will be the foundation of the carrier's cloud strategy and serve as its CenturyLink Cloud Development Center. CenturyLink will retain Jared Wray, Tier 3's founder and chief technology officer, who will serve as CTO of CenturyLink Cloud and oversee the Cloud Development Center.

Tier 3 will replace the Savvis brand, which CenturyLink acquired in 2011, within a year. Customers of Savvis products and services, which include Symphony Virtual Private Data Center and SavvisDirect, will be offered an upgrade path and professional services to help them migrate to Tier 3's infrastructure. Phasing out Savvis' products indicates that CenturyLink is shifting toward more automated and sophisticated services, said Carl Brooks, analyst with Boston-based 451 Research, in an interview with SearchCloudComputing.

Salesforce partners with HP to create 'Superpod' Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. announced Monday their partnership to offer a private cloud-like service based on HP's Converged Infrastructure within Salesforce's cloud, reported PCWorld this week. The dedicated infrastructure, known as Superpods, will be jointly marketed by both companies. The partnership shows a shift in strategy by Salesforce, which has historically served customers with its multi-tenant cloud, according to PCWorld. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a quarterly conference call that HP, a Salesforce customer, will be the first to use the Superpods, according to Business Insider. HP will also help Salesforce sell Superpods to other large enterprises, and the service will "only be offered to the biggest customers," Business Insider reported.

IBM's Watson becomes a cloud platform

IBM's Watson supercomputer, which famously competed and defeated its human opponents on Jeopardy!, has now become a cloud platform. IBM is giving developers access to the Watson system to foster the growth of applications that use Watson's artificial intelligence capabilities. Three developers have partnered with IBM to develop applications through Watson's system, IBM said in a press release.

Fluid Inc., a developer of online shopping applications, is building a retail application; MD Buyline, a provider of supply-chain applications for hospitals, is building an application for clinical and financial users to make decisions about medical device purchases; and Welltok Inc., a developer of social health platforms, is building a social health application for end users. All three applications are expected to be available on the Watson cloud early next year.

IBM revamped the Watson system to make it more accessible for developers, according to ComputerWorld. The Watson system that appeared on Jeopardy! was a 2,900-core system with 15 TB of RAM. The Watson system available to developers, dubbed IBM Watson Developer Cloud, will have a configuration that ranges from 16 to 32 cores and includes 256 GB of RAM. The Watson cloud will include a development toolkit, access to Watson's application programming interface (API), educational material and an application marketplace, according to ComputerWorld. The platform will enable developers to "build applications on top of IBM Power Systems running on an IBM cloud, while at the same time exposing a set of RESTful APIs that will make it possible to invoke those applications from within another application," according to ProgrammableWeb.

Open Data Center Alliance aims to control CO2 emissions

The Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) released a proof-of-concept paper that tested and validated the organization's Carbon Footprint and Energy Efficiency Usage Model. The paper was based on a study to demonstrate how companies can use the organization's model to compare, measure and optimize CO2 emissions from cloud computing environments. The study was conducted with ODCA members from German automotive manufacturer BMW AG, Jersey City, N.J.-based cloud provider Datapipe Inc. and Iceland-based data center operator Verne Global.

The paper details testing scenarios, results and benefits of measuring the carbon footprint of cloud operations of a data center operator (Verne Global), a cloud service provider (Datapipe) and a cloud service customer (BMW). The paper also provides companies a framework that allows them to identify and manage cloud services that are energy-efficient. ODCA will hold a webinar on Dec. 17 to review the paper's findings.

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