A new cloud-based offering from CenturyLink’s savvisdirect unit aims to attract business customers that have not previously used cloud services, said Bill McLeod, director of product marketing for savvisdirect, in an interview.

The new offering, dubbed AppGrid, is “a great middle ground for companies that want to develop and house applications where they can leverage the benefits of the cloud and have a hypervisor and multiple virtual machines in one physical presence but it’s not on shared infrastructure,” said McLeod. Each AppGrid customer will have at least one server dedicated for its exclusive use, he said.

McLeod sees two uses cases for AppGrid, including providing a platform for customers to develop their own apps or supporting traditional apps previously hosted in house.

savvisdirect is an online channel for data center operator Savvis, which CenturyLink acquired in 2011. As McLeod explained, customers can sign up for savvisdirect services online and pay for them using a credit card. Other savvisdirect offerings include infrastructure-as-a-service, software-as-a-service and hosted applications such as Sharepoint. Specialists at savvisdirect work with customers to get them started on using these applications through a program called FastForward Onboarding.

Savvis previously offered virtual private data center services based on VMware through its traditional channels. The new savvisdirect service offers a different take – it uses a Xen hypervisor.

Also underpinning AppGrid is the AppLogic platform from CA Technologies. As McLeod explained, AppLogic supports drag-and-drop functionality and is object based. He said customers will be able to pull applications, virtual machines, firewalls, load balancers and other elements from a template, with configurations determined by how various icons are arranged.

“By putting it in this kind of service wrapper, it’s available to more people on a more affordable basis,” said McLeod.

Authorized users can access the AppGrid platform using a variety of connection types, including Layer 2 and Layer 3 virtual private networks or VPNs based on secure sockets layer, McLeod said.

Savvis has more than 50 data centers worldwide, all of which are integrated with CenturyLink’s fiber network, McLeod said. In some markets, he said customers can use CenturyLink/Savvis end to end.

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