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Data center operator CenturyLink has launched a private cloud service aimed at clients who need the flexibility of public cloud but the physical isolation of hardware needed to meet compliance and security standards.

It now claims that clients have a choice of public, private and hybrid cloud computing resources with instant options to move between the three offerings.

Though each private cloud is ring fenced, user’s systems can call on extra resources available in the operator’s public cloud, by a federation into the operator’s network of public nodes, according to CenturyLink.

Clients will be given a single standard interface that can span all three options, according to the scale of their workload and the constraints of security and compliance.

CenturyLink said enterprises needing a private cloud hosted locally will have a choice of 57 data centers in 34 cities around the world.

CenturyLink Cloud’s director of cloud product strategy Richard Seroter said most companies want a private cloud, but with the pace of change of standards and technology types in the industry now, it is impossible for IT departments to keep up.

“Internal private clouds are hard to set up and maintain and even harder to update, because the cloud is constantly innovating. We’re getting down to running on bare metal now. When I worked in an IT department, the systems people used were often two versions behind the market. In the cloud era, customers can get new features every 30 days,” said Seroter.

“The user experience is much harder to manage now. Service level agreements are tricky too. Our rationale is to run a complex but deliver it in a simple way.”

CenturyLink is offering opt-in managed services for critical applications.

IDC’s research VP on hosting and managed network services Melanie Posey described CenturyLink’s Private Cloud as “a frictionless hybrid cloud option for organisations that want to source private and public cloud services from a single provider”.