Level 3 Offers Direct Line to Amazon Cloud

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Level 3 Communications (NAS: LVLT) has become the latest partner to join Web retail giant Amazon.com's (NAS: AMZN) cloud services effort. The transport network operator announced this week that it will offer dedicated network connectivity to Amazon Web Services through the budding cloud service provider's direct connection program.

Through the AWS Direct Connect program, Level 3 will make connections between the data centers of fellow Amazon partner Equinix and the data centers of enterprise customers, likely at a rate in excess of 1 Gb/s in many cases, according to Connected Planet.

The recent explosion in cloud services has been both exciting and confusing for businesses sizing up cloud benefits. For some business, the affordability and easy hookup to Internet cloud offerings like Amazon's or Google's (NAS: GOOG) is a no-brainer, but other businesses may fear the reliability and consistency of a pure Internet cloud offering. Level 3's involvement with Amazon will likely make the latter group feel a bit more secure about the idea of buying cloud services from Amazon.

Level 3's dedicated connections also may lure larger corporate enterprises -- the kind that usually would buy from a large, traditional IT vendor or network operators -- to give Amazon Web Services a try. That could be significant to Amazon's long-term validity in the cloud services market as the sector awaits either consolidation or a competitive shakeout that could result in fewer participants.

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