Using Cloud Storage in Your Data Protection Strategy

January 3, 2017
By Jessica Weber

Data Protection Puzzle

Reading Time: about 7 minutes

Many businesses opt to use Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), particularly for cloud storage, backup, and disaster recovery, to improve upon their existing storage options while controlling costs. The scalability and flexibility of the cloud has a lot to do with these cost-saving measures; many companies pay very little upfront to access a wide variety of storage options, and scale those options up or down as their demand shifts.

In fact, there are many reasons that IaaS offerings have broad appeal – businesses see the value in low capital investments, paying as they go, anywhere access, and tight security. Unlike many in-house options, using cloud services means that the burden of IT development and upkeep is on the cloud provider, not the primary business. The IT staff at the cloud company take care of the routine and maintenance tasks associated with storage and backup. This allows organizations to focus on other areas within their business services, while still having a reliable way to safeguard their information.

Data Protection Defined

Developing a data protection strategy for your organization primarily means thinking about how your critical data would survive a complete failure of some kind. One of the most important decisions your business can...

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6 Reasons to Use Bare Metal in the Cloud for Gaming

December 19, 2016
By Daniel Morton

Bare Metal Logo

Reading Time: about 4 minutes

Power Up for Game On! Today's gamer has come to expect fast development turn-around for high definition, no-latency, multi-player games with the speed that is available globally. In short, they want a seamless, dynamic gaming experience. To deliver on these expectations, many game developers and publishers look for hosted infrastructure that is high-powered and built on speed, performance, scalability, and high availability to provide games to their customers. Anything less than that is insufficient. A platform that is sluggish or delivers interrupted performance means "game over". And that impacts the game publisher's bottom line. CenturyLink addresses that challenge.

You can build a scalable server architecture for your gaming engine that leverages all the advantages available to you on the CenturyLink Cloud® platform while voiding the capital expenses associated with managing an in-house data center. Our high-performing CenturyLink Cloud infrastructure allows you to focus on the things you do best — creating unbelievable games and bringing them to market. Bare Metal servers on our platform give you the ability to deliver an awesome gaming experience seamlessly, with more computing power available to you than you usually find in a virtualized environment.

Advantages of Gaming on Bare Metal

The CenturyLink...

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Transform Your IT via the CenturyLink Cloud Platform

December 16, 2016
By David Shacochis

Helping our customers transform IT through a cohesive set of services that span workloads, infrastructure, and network is our core focus at CenturyLink. Many service providers in the market are focused exclusively on innovating within the cloud services layer, and then partnering for service management and network connectivity. CenturyLink’s strategy is more workload-oriented: We focus on integrating solutions that span the layers of the Hybrid IT stack because we feel it unlocks more value for our customers over time.

Customers have different needs, and many are gravitating toward strategic partners like CenturyLink to support a range of workload scenarios. Businesses can unleash the power of the CenturyLink platform, to create a recipe of products and services that not only meet their individual business needs, but also offload onerous tactical items where IT departments often can't afford to invest scarce resources.

The CenturyLink Cloud platform is one of the core pieces of this strategy. We've architected our platform to be an easy way for enterprise technology efforts to get started quickly, with access to the right networks. We expose this platform publicly, so that our customers and partners can co-innovate with us.

We have created a quick "Platform Overview" video highlighting the...

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Detecting and acting upon anomalous events in an IoT network

December 7, 2016
By Ryan Kirk, PhD., Principal Data Scientist, CenturyLink Cloud

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CenturyLink Cloud facilitates real-time, data-driven, situational analysis through real-time anomaly detection at a global scale.

Many practitioners and researchers are familiar with cloud computing. However, a seldom-discussed aspect of this industry is the way that we use data to operate business. From operations to marketing, our decision-makers rely on timely, accurate data about our ecosystem that they can use to make both short- and long-term decisions.

This blog discusses the analytical side of cloud computing. It covers the global landscape of thousands of interconnected devices. Additionally, it discusses how we at CenturyLink use data from these to help inform how we manage a healthy cloud ecosystem. Finally, it describes one of the analytical techniques that CenturyLink Cloud uses to achieve real-time, situational awareness about the health of every device. In particular, we will cover the following topics:

  • What data do we collect?
  • How do we make use of this data?
  • How do we create smart alerts?
  • How does all of this drive value and impact our business?

Dragnet the Infrastructure, not the Consumer

Collecting signals from every smart device results in a data lake that contains many types of signals. This digital data exhaust represents the only tangible artifacts we have to describe the interactions of customers...

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Advantages of Running Containers on Bare Metal in the Cloud

November 22, 2016
By Daniel Morton

Bare Metal Logo

Reading Time: about 5 minutes

With each passing day businesses become more and more reliant on data analytics and high-performance infrastructure needed to power data workloads. Enter CenturyLink Cloud® Bare Metal, the next evolution in cloud computing. It's a natural progression of virtualized cloud technology that offer's the capability of cloud without drawbacks of virtualization.

Handling the incredible amounts of information streaming across company networks is a huge challenge for any system administrator. Businesses are realizing that running bare metal servers in the cloud and combining them with container technology, built on top of a complete enterprise cloud platform, is essential for success.

The container you choose depends on the complexity of the project and your specific business needs. If your DevOps team is smaller and you want broad functionality right out of the box, Docker is a good choice. If customization is an important criterion, CoreOS Rocket is a good selection. If you're looking for operating system isolation between instances, Canonical LXD is a good option. You can find tutorials on our Developer Center that show how to implement any of these three containers on our platform. When it comes to physical servers that provide the flexibility and control of a virtual...

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Simplifying Health Information Management in the Cloud

November 21, 2016
By Chad Zerangue

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Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem to share how they leverage our platform to enable customer success. This week’s guest author from the Cloud Marketplace Provider Program is Chad Zerangue, CEO, at Simplicity Health Systems.

Health information is becoming increasingly difficult to manage as clinical and financial requirements and regulations become more stringent and partnering relationships become increasingly complex. This is especially the case when it comes to sharing information with ancillary services like pharmacies, radiology departments, medical laboratories, third-party providers, and specialist providers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has a growing HIPAA Audit Program. HIPAA-covered entities will be required to make sure their systems are compliant with the HIPAA Privacy Act or face heavy fines, jail time, or both. Many small and medium sized healthcare businesses can’t afford multi-million dollar health information systems that larger hospitals and other large health entities can. In turn, they resort to non-compliant tools such as email, fax machines, eFax, RingCentral, Box, and DropBox. Simplicity Health Systems is disrupting that paradigm with a system that allows healthcare businesses to easily share information with their partners,...

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Big Data on Bare Metal

November 14, 2016
By Brandy Smith

big data on bare metal

Reading Time: about 4 minutes

Recently we beefed up our Bare Metal servers to provide customers with more ways to utilize, build, and customize their bare metal instances. These new configurations were designed to allow the Bare Metal servers to support more intensive compute workloads, as well as accommodate a wider range of use cases while still providing the flexibility and control of virtual machines.

CenturyLink Bare Metal servers are fully-integrated into the CenturyLink Cloud®, allowing you to create and manage physical servers alongside virtual instances. Customizable solutions are available such as the ability to power on and off your bare metal instances as needed with pay-as-you go flexibility, and host a wide range of applications from a unified interface. Ideal for compute-intensive applications like databases, analytics jobs, grid computing, and other workloads requiring consistent performance.

Big Data on Bare Metal

Bare Metal Servers on CenturyLink Cloud provide an excellent environment for your business’s big data application workloads. They provide the ability to provision and manage physical machines fast via API or Control Portal. Design and grow your clusters to meet the exact demands of your data. Compute isolation and consistent performance are essential when mining demanding scenarios like recommendation engines, machine learning, and...

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Leveraging Relational DB to Control IT Sprawl

November 7, 2016
By Daniel Morton

Reading Time: about 4 minutes

Control IT Sprawl

Data is the foundation of businesses today. Thus, database technology is a critical component of any IT infrastructure. In a typical enterprise IT environment, it’s not uncommon to see engineers and developers create hundreds or even thousands of databases and the bare metal machines or VMs needed to run them. That raises the issue of a significant problem for companies, both large and small -- database sprawl. The Uptime Institute estimates that up to 30% of servers in this country alone are "comatose," but still "racked and running." In the typical enterprise environment there are huge numbers of resources sitting idle, poorly optimized, under-utilized, or completely forgotten. A digital footprint like that consumes more in resources than many companies care even to think about.

The Problem of Database Sprawl

Management of IT sprawl is more than simply an administrative headache. There are both tangible and intangible costs that impact an organization’s IT operations, and those costs can add up quickly. Here is just a sample:

  • Poor Use of Resources - IT personnel now have the added responsibilities of administering databases and maintaining servers.
  • Best Practices Overlooked - The fact is, all databases are not implemented or maintained in the same
...

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Four Factors to Consider Before Taking Big Data to the Cloud

October 26, 2016
By Brandy Smith

EMC-Cloud-Big-Data

Big data is rapidly evolving from proof-of-concept to production. While the terms big data and cloud were previously taboo, many businesses are looking to big data as a source of customer insight and a way to bolster operational efficiencies. The cloud is becoming a viable option as many IT managers are faced with the challenges of finding ways to collect, store, manage, and analyze large amounts of data collected from thousands of sources.

As big data production applications migrate toward becoming the norm across organizations, it is being increasingly applied to enterprise-wide, mission-critical operations. Big data has become too massive to keep on a single proprietary system. As such, the demands for integration are increasing exponentially. The current task at hand for many IT decision makers is to create a plan for taking their businesses data to the cloud, and how it will be used after it is there. But once that is complete, the monumental task of building out a long-term strategy for their data to succeed in real-world corporate IT settings awaits.

The Big Data Model

Big data activity can be aggressive. Often this means that the issue of data collection is way ahead of storage and utilization capabilities. When...

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Let's Talk Storage

October 20, 2016
By Pete Peterson

storage.png Reading Time: about 4 minutes

At CenturyLink we love all things storage. We strive to incorporate new technologies into our platform to provide best-in-class service and unmatched performance. As the flash memory market undergoes radical changes we are excited to offer customers a portfolio of storage options.

What is Storage?

The question "What qualifies as storage?" needs to be asked because the line between what can and can not be considered storage has become blurred. Many do not consider RAM to be storage due to its lack of crash consistency, but it has the most lanes to the processor; each of the lanes directly translates into improved application performance. With the emergence of 3d-NAND flash and nano-second respond latency, we can now move to primary storage into the memory bus. This change provides 48GB/s throughput to the caching drive as compared to the 2.8 GB/s on the PCI bus. A memory bus type caching drives can scale-write IOPS in excess of 100M1. To put this into context, this translates to the storage requirements of 1,500 large enterprise exchange servers2 or 1000 SAP HANNA instances3. This type of disruptive technology changes what primary storage means.

How do we Define Performance?

When we designed our software defined...

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Tips for a Successful Security Strategy

October 19, 2016
By Brandy Smith

secure cloud

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), an annual campaign sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). The overall goal, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which participates in NCSAM, is to “increase the resiliency of the Nation in the event of a cyber incident.”

Security threats are vast and constantly evolving, as should your businesses security strategy.

Today, security isn’t just about basic protection. Companies have far more to consider than they once did. Now, a security strategy is a holistic approach to protection, prevention, detection and response—and it needs to encompass all aspects of an adaptive security architecture.

Top Business Security Threats

Here’s an overview of what you need to consider when implementing, updating, and enforcing your security strategy.

External Threats

According to Cisco's Annual Security report, 100% of multinational companies show evidence that suspicious traffic was emanating from their networks and attempting to connect to questionable sites.

The speed at which external threats are increasing is exponential. There are millions of malware variations that enterprises must defend against, but it’s difficult for signature-based malware to keep up. There are more distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks than ever before, and they vary widely; they can be highly targeted or generic, long...

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