New Graphs Help Customers Adjust to Higher VPN Demand

April 28, 2020
By Matthew Close, Senior Manager, IT Systems Engineering

In response to COVID-19, many CenturyLink customers have had large increases in the number of client VPNs, and this new demand has pushed the limits of some installed firewall models.

Client VPN usage has been historically small (50 to 100 users per site, per customer) because of how the service is normally deployed. Often just a handful of administrators will connect remotely to firewalls via a VPN. That has changed drastically, with some customers requiring 1,000s of remote users as their employees started working from home.

Engineering has seen escalations for real-time usage tracking. In instances where usage was reaching platform limits, customers have wanted to upgrade to larger platforms or direct some users to other installed sites.

In less than a week, engineering implemented three new monitoring points — client VPN connection count, IPSec VPN tunnel count, and IPSec VPN traffic count — to the devices. We were able to also rapidly deploy the graphed data into the customer’s portal.

The graph below shows client VPN connections. The red line indicates the platform’s VPN connection maximum. The firewall in this example is a Cisco ASA 5525 with a platform maximum of 750 remote users. From this graph, it’s easy to see...

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Success Story: CDN Mesh Delivery for Video on Demand

February 25, 2020
By Jim Greene

CDN Mesh Delivery can be used for both live streaming and video-on-demand. All you need are viewers who are watching the same content at the same time, so it is particularly effective for large sporting events, series premieres, popular movies, and other streams with large numbers of simultaneous viewers.

This VOD platform [figure 1] delivers popular series and catch-up TV in several countries in Europe. Delivery to average audiences of more than 500,000 viewers and evening spikes of more than 1 million are common, and peer-to-peer technology helps scale infrastructure to growing audiences and improve distribution architecture by decentralizing data exchanges and allowing viewers to obtain content quickly from multiple sources.

Reliability is increased by reducing a platform’s dependence on traditional CDN architecture. If a server or CDN fails, users can continue to stream content supplied by other viewers. It also helps platforms scale. Where server infrastructures are weighed down by traffic peaks, a peer-to-peer system becomes more efficient. The more peers there are to share content, the more they can share among themselves. Platforms can use traffic spikes to their advantage, saving money and offering a better quality of service for end users.

CDN Mesh Delivery effectively shields viewers from the effects...

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Frost & Sullivan Honors Cloud Application Manager for Second Straight Year

October 8, 2019
By Jim Greene

CenturyLink's Cloud Application Manager is a two-time recipient of Frost & Sullivan’s Excellence in Best Practices Awards after it was honored recently at a ceremony in San Diego.

Cloud Application Manager’s powerful, best-of-breed hybrid cloud platform received the 2019 North American Hybrid Cloud Management Platforms Product Leadership Award, adding to the Product Leadership Award given by Frost & Sullivan in 2018.

Frost & Sullivan's Best Practices Awards are presented annually to companies that encourage significant growth in their industries, identify emerging trends ahead of the marketplace, and create advanced technologies that will catalyze and transform industries in the near future.

Since its launch in February 2017, the Cloud Application Manager platform has delivered a wide variety of infrastructure options across diverse public and private cloud environments to assist companies in automating application deployments, scaling workloads across disparate operating environments, and optimizing costs as part of their digital transformation efforts.

Utilize the trusted platform's inherent features, including Cloud Optimization & Analytics and Application Lifecycle Management, as well as a designated Technical Account Manager for advisory support, businesses can confidently and effectively implement and manage a hybrid IT or multi-cloud strategy. These benefits are available through Cloud Application Manager’s single interface as part of CenturyLink’s Managed...

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CenturyLink Network Storage: Handling Data Where It’s Created and Consumed

September 17, 2019
By Jim Greene

With more than 20 billion connected devices expected to be in use by next year, businesses are seeking new solutions for collecting, analyzing and storing a vast and continually growing volume of data.

But more data is just the first challenge when considering storage solutions. There’s also how data will be created and consumed — often by other devices, and in larger datasets for content like online videos, healthcare information, and game applications.

Through this expanded connectivity, data creation and consumption now occur in hospitals, bank branches, satellite offices, sports stadiums or arenas, retail stores, and restaurants through an array of connected devices —health-tracking devices, ATMs, photocopiers, security cameras, and inventory trackers, to name a few.

Capturing all this information in larger volumes and faster speeds than ever before becomes more than a centralized cloud can adequately handle. Storing data for high availability in a data center, private cloud, or public cloud becomes more costly. Storing and processing data at the edge on a Network Storage Node (i.e, a Point of Presence) with CenturyLink Network Storage solves both problems by bringing cloud computing and storage capabilities to data, wherever it is.

With more than 100 edge locations, CenturyLink’s highly dynamic network can deliver latency...

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CenturyLink Cloud Availability in Latin America

August 20, 2019
By CenturyLink Cloud

Latin American customers registering for CenturyLink Cloud Services online may access any of CenturyLink’s global data centers located outside of Latin America.

Due to regulatory guidelines, access to CenturyLink Cloud Services hosted within CenturyLink’s Latin America data centers is not available through the online sign-up process and requires additional contracting. Please contact a regional CenturyLink Representative for contract options and additional information.

Not all service features and functionality may be available in all regions or data centers. Consult a CenturyLink Representative for details and availability via email, or call during business hours Monday through Friday from 09:00 to 17:00, Argentina Standard Time. Contacts are:

Country Phone Email
Argentina 0800 800 4562 Contacto.AR@centurylink.com
Brazil 0800 771 4747 Contacto.BR@centurylink.com
Chile +56 22 422 5950 Contacto.CL@centurylink.com
Colombia 1800 012 6033 Contacto.CO@centurylink.com
Costa Rica 800 057 0033 Contacto.CA@centurylink.com
Ecuador 1800 000 969 Contacto.EC@centurylink.com
México 01 800 123 9578 Contacto.MX@centurylink.com
Panamá 800 570 7186 Contacto.CA@centurylink.com
Perú +51 1 705 5667 Contacto.PE@centurylink.com
Venezuela 0800 285 83 00 Contacto.VE@centurylink.com
...

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Optimize Your Field Service Business with StreetSmart

August 6, 2019
By Brandy Smith

StreetSmart Logo

Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our Marketplace Provider Program to share how their technology on the CenturyLink Hybrid IT Marketplace provides customers with low-friction solutions to solve complex business challenges. This edition’s guest author is Taylor Hyams, Channel Marketing Manager at StreetSmart.

With great pressure to innovate and differentiate themselves from the competition, companies big and small across all verticals are in the middle of a digital transformation. This new era changes how work is completed, and one major piece of that transformation is mobility.

Organizations with field service have been at the forefront of mobilization in the workplace, and the ability to anticipate real-time visibility and better engage customers would be a game-changer for their field workers and dispatchers. Most organizations that are looking to implement field service are focused on scheduling or visibility and location of resources. However, this is only a small portion of the benefits associated with a mobility solution like StreetSmart.

A Better Approach to Field Service

StreetSmart, a product of ClickSoftware, has been empowering companies to gain visibility, improve productivity, and better engage customers with its turnkey mobile workforce management solution that can automate administrative tasks and back office APIs.

StreetSmart...

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Lower Operational Costs with Managed Services Anywhere

July 23, 2019
By Jim Greene

Managed Services Anywhere

Companies struggling to keep pace with rapid technological change may find it hard to retain existing staff with high-demand skillsets while keeping operating costs sustainable and predictable.

As an example, look at company with a blended multi-modal environment of legacy applications in a private cloud environment, applications that have moved to a public cloud infrastructure, and several new applications being developed cloud native.

The skills required to support existing or legacy applications are not necessarily the same ones required to support a cloud-native application on a public cloud, let alone multiple public clouds. Hiring for those positions presents administrative and financial challenges, putting the IT team into a difficult position as it tries to maintain production environments, support development teams, and expand skillsets to stay relevant in the market.

Let’s run through some numbers. The average salary for a cloud engineer, according to indeed.com, is $119,020. If you apply the industry standard cost multiplier of 1.7 for fully loaded cost, one cloud engineer costs $202,334 annually.

But that’s still only part of the story. You still need to account for off-hours support. Even accounting for lower-cost offshore support options, 24x7 support will likely increase your cost to $505,835 (2.5x), and...

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Better Governance of Multi-Cloud with Managed Services

July 16, 2019
By Amy Sorenson, Senior Lead Product Manager

Governance

Enterprise and mid-market businesses moving to a multi-cloud environment hope to achieve cost savings, increase speed to market, and reduce shadow IT.

Some, however, struggle to find the benefits they anticipated. These businesses lack the in-house resources required to transition from private data centers to multi-cloud environments while also monitoring and maintaining cloud services related to compute, storage, network, and security.

When a business needs to grow its IT team to support a multi-cloud environment, it has two choices: hire employees, or partner with a managed service provider. Two big reasons to consider managed services: A skill gap in the market makes it a challenge to find qualified cloud administrators. And, hiring or training employees is expensive and time-consuming – delaying the cost savings and efficiencies your business could gain from cloud services.

Scenario: Avoiding Vulnerabilities of Shadow IT

A company’s big data analytics team utilizes Azure services, while the DevOps team uses AWS. How does IT quickly give them access to the resources they need while maintaining company standards for compliance, security and operations?

If IT can’t deliver cloud services fast enough, teams may go directly to cloud providers for services. The resulting Shadow IT can lead to security risks by creating vulnerabilities that...

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Managed Services Add Value to Hybrid IT Strategy

June 18, 2019
By Jim Greene

Managed Services Hybrid IT

Businesses deciding to pursue a Hybrid IT strategy face challenges in implementation and complexity in management. Many recognize that expert guidance is needed to integrate public and private cloud components, so they look to managed services to optimize these cloud environments.

Through managed services, a business’ systems are migrated to the cloud, where a third-party provider is responsible for their management. The business is then free to focus on other goals, like finding new markets or achieving greater customer satisfaction. In the public sector, innovation can include new ways to engage with constituents and provide enhanced services.

What to Look for in a Managed Services Provider

Helping businesses better predict and control costs is a primary benefit of managed services. The right managed services partner ensures that the best combination of solutions and services is applied to workloads, offers access to a sophisticated technology platform that provides granular visibility and reporting, and improves decision-making ability for IT and business managers alike.

CenturyLink® Managed Services Anywhere enables IT transformation by fully managing and orchestrating the delivery of infrastructure, applications and services across multiple clouds and cloud provider environments, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, CenturyLink Cloud and CenturyLink Private Cloud on VMware Cloud Foundation.

The combined services...

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Shifting Priorities Push Digital Transformation in Public Sector

June 11, 2019
By Jim Greene

Public Sector Digital Transformation

The move to full digital transformation moves more slowly in public sector and governmental organizations. Procurement cycles are longer, and spending constraints often prevent governments from adopting cutting-edge technology.

According to a Gartner report on CIO priorities, digital business and digital transformation are still important goals for government and other public-sector organizations. A 451 Research study found four key operational goals driving digital transformation for public agencies: improving agility, enhancing efficiency, boosting customer (citizen or constituent) experiences, and managing risk and security.

While many organizations place full responsibility for digital transformation on their IT departments, these groups find it’s essential to involve impacted departments as early as possible in projects. Digital transformation requires more than simply implementing new technologies because it changes both how people work and how they think about work.

When tasked with improving operations and services, governments can take advantage of shifts in enterprise technology to accomplish their goals and overcome a reliance on legacy systems. As agencies find themselves under pressure to meet rising expectations set by constituents’ commercial online activities, digital transformation projects can help them leverage new platforms and services to provide smoother, faster, contextually relevant experiences.

No matter the size of the organization, embracing and adopting cloud-based...

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Hybrid IT Approach Helps Businesses Speed Up Digital Transformation

May 30, 2019
By Jim Greene

Digital Transformation

To realize the benefits of the digital future, forward-thinking organizations are transforming everything from their business models to their operational processes and network architecture.

Reaching the goal of changing how they “serve customers, employees and partners; support continuous improvement in business operations; disrupt existing businesses and markets; and invent new businesses and business models” takes a well-planned business strategy, analyst firm 451 Research says.

For a growing number of organizations, that strategy includes Hybrid IT — infrastructure that includes some combination of public and/or private cloud, managed hosting, and on-premises or co-located data centers — linked by a robust network.

In a Hybrid IT environment, organizations can manage both internal and customer-facing applications that reduce downtime, save money, increase productivity, and deliver new solutions — everything from SaaS to address applicable workloads, public cloud infrastructure to support custom application development and complex projects around data analytics, and workload migration from on-premise servers to the cloud.

The speed, agility, and scale that come with a Hybrid IT environment also require a connective network infrastructure that can scale and change with the IT platforms that run across it. To meet those demands, the network has to be faster, more powerful, more scalable, more reliable, and...

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