Telecommunications company and cloud provider CenturyLink is at it again: acquiring another startup to expand its rich cloud platform. Today CenturyLink announced that it has bought DataGardens, a company that provides disaster recovery as a service.

That’s not the most hip service for a company to start using in a cloud. But it does bring into the fold a service that CenturyLink can sell to risk-averse companies as a sort of point of entry or gateway drug for other cloud services.

Here’s the sweet spot for DataGardens’ service, according to the statement today about the acquisition:

The DataGardens technology platform is ideal for small to midsize business (SMB) customers or enterprise departments that cannot tolerate unexpected downtime, but have traditionally seen disaster recovery as too expensive or complicated to set up. With this disaster recovery software suite, customers can quickly set up a redundant cloud architecture that protects them from stress events such as unplanned outages or local hardware failures.

The move comes after CenturyLink last year bought both infrastructure-as-a-service provider Tier 3 and platform-as-a-service provider AppFog. Earlier, in 2011, CenturyLink bought hosting provider Savvis. And it comes as other telecoms, like Ericcson and Verizon, appear determined to generate solid cloud portfolios.

The challenge here is to look distinct from the most popular cloud infrastructure providers around today, namely Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, and Microsoft Azure. They all constantly lower prices and add features. But publicly traded CenturyLink, based in Monroe. La., has a foothold in certain geographies, and now it appears to be looking to more conservative types of cloud services, not the more edgy options like the simple, highly abstracted application development that AppFog offered. And so with moves like this, CenturyLink might just find itself a way to differentiate and not let Amazon and the other big cloud providers take home all the winnings

DataGardens, based in Edmonton, Canada, has already had a special tier of service for disaster recovery called SafeHaven. Today’s deal “lets us more fully integrate this innovative toolset into our product suite,” CenturyLink said in the statement.

The¬†terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

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