How to Build Cloud at Scale: The Secrets of Tinman

July 19, 2016
By Brandy Smith

cloud automation

The proliferation of mobile devices, rapid generation of data, and cheap broadband access (all contributing to the “Digital Tsunami”) has forced many data center providers to re-think how they build capacity, specifically public cloud capacity. Only a few of the traditional providers have transitioned to public cloud. For our part at CenturyLink in the last few years, we’ve expanded our reach to 14 public cloud nodes around the world. Each one offers a compelling mix of elastic services at a competitive price. And we are expanding in each data center constantly. Because of this expertise, many enterprise customers offload infrastructure management to us. But even as many of these businesses shift to public cloud, IT leaders often ask us about how they can run their on-premises deployments more effectively. To paraphrase “how can I bring some public cloud automation pixie dust to my private cloud deployment?” With that backdrop, we wanted to share some of the best practices behind one of our internal automation projects, Tinman. Tinman is a collection of APIs and scripts that ingests a rack of gear, then quickly transforms it into usable compute services. Tinman is how we bring new gear online, in a completely automated way.

Where to Get

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CenturyLink Cloud Provides the Top Price & Performance Value in Europe

June 29, 2016
By Kevin Yurica

CloudSpec1

Cloud Spectator, an independent testing organization, recently reported the results of benchmark testing on cloud performance across nine of the largest, most well-known public cloud providers with data centers in Europe. Across this group of cloud providers that included Google, Microsoft, Amazon AWS, IBM and others, CenturyLink Cloud® had the highest CloudSpecs™ Score in the test and was recognized as the cloud service provider offering the highest overall value to customers. This pattern has played out before in similar studies.

For 2016, Cloud Spectator has focused industry attention on the considerable performance variability across otherwise similar product offerings from different cloud vendors with operations in Europe - and they note that this observed performance variability directly impacts the value delivered to cloud customers. Based on testing against all the major public cloud vendors with data centers in Europe, Cloud Spectator describes three common misconceptions about performance in the cloud:

  • VM performance is pretty much the same across different cloud service providers (CSPs).

    False. Cloud Spectator netted entirely different performance results given similar VM configurations from different cloud service providers.

  • When it comes to performance, you get what you pay for.

    False. In this study focused on performance, Cloud Spectator found no real correlation between price and performance.

  • Resource

  • ...

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    The Hadoop Phenomenon

    June 22, 2016
    By Tom Coffing

    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 Tom Coffing, President and CEO at Coffing Data Warehousing.

    coffing logo

    Experts say that up to 75% of the entire world’s data will be on Hadoop by the year 2020. Yes, that’s right — 75%! This means a huge influx of data over the next several years, which translates into a huge opportunity for your organization! This means data not captured today will become commonplace over the next several years.

    What is Hadoop, Where did it Come From, and why is it so Popular?

    Hadoop was created by the genius minds at Google to analyze massive amounts of web data. It was then utilized and expanded by Yahoo! who began working with the open source community. The name Hadoop came from Doug Cutting, chief architect of Cloudera and one of the original creators. Cutting's son, then 2-years old, was just beginning to talk and called his beloved stuffed yellow elephant "Hadoop".

    Hadoop is so popular is because it is all about unstructured data. As much as...

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    Cloud Migration: Don't go it Alone

    June 15, 2016
    By Jonathan Townsend

    Migrate to Cloud

    There are many variables to consider when migrating from one platform to another. The whole process can be daunting; factors that directly affect business like associated costs, current and future states of software and data stores, and the decommissioning of physical properties, are a few of the considerations related to migration. Luckily for customers, CenturyLink makes cloud migration easier than ever.

    Migration Made Easy

    Depending on your business-specific needs, either as a new customer looking to migrate to a new cloud provider or as an existing customer who needs to migrate from a legacy platform (VPDC, OCC, CDC, or DCC), migration doesn't have to be overly-stressful. At CenturyLink, we have a team of experts that make migration smooth and less complicated. We encourage our customers to explore the CenturyLink Cloud® platform and familiarize yourself with the interface and, of course, let CenturyLink show you how to make cloud migration easy.

    Don't Go it Alone

    By getting in-touch with a cloud specialist, customers can find migration documentation with information and receive details on migrating to the CenturyLink Cloud Platform with free onboarding support. Our team of experts understand the need for companies to diversify their offerings across product and service lines while maintaining and providing...

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    Apache Spark: Mining More Value from Data

    June 8, 2016
    By Daniel Morton

    Use Cases

    Apache Spark for the Big Data Marathon

    Apache Spark is an Open Source, parallel data processing framework that is quickly becoming an industry standard and the engine-of-choice for big data processing. It's built around speed and ease of use with sophisticated analytics that complement Hadoop. Spark comes with built-in modules for streaming, SQL, machine learning, and graph analytics. Spark reduces time-to-insight by giving you visibility into huge amounts of data. The result is the business intelligence needed to make better business decisions, faster. It's an excellent choice for enterprise-level big data processing in the cloud.

    CenturyLink Cloud® automated the process of installing and configuring Apache Spark in one of its Blueprints. The Blueprint is a repeatable workflow that bundles components together like templates, packages, and even other Blueprints, into an easy-to-use install process. That way, the deployment of Apache Spark requires only a few clicks of the mouse.

    The Apache Spark Blueprint is available as a standalone on a CentOS or a Red Hat Linux VM. In addition, 8 of the most critical Apache Add-On Services are also available when you deploy our Hadoop Cloudera Blueprint. Simply select the components you want and they will be fully configured and ready for use after...

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    NEM and Expanse Blockchain Automation Come to CenturyLink Cloud

    May 23, 2016
    By Chris Meyer, Product Analyst

    Blockchain Coin

    CenturyLink Cloud® announces new automation to deploy blockchain nodes for both NEM and Expanse services.

    What is a Blockchain and why is the Technology Significant?

    Blockchain is a catch-all term for a shared immutable cryptographic distributed database. In this special kind of database the data, commonly referred to as the 'ledger', is encrypted for security and permanently stored in numerous systems across geographically varied sites for diversity and redundancy.

    One of the top struggles of IT departments today is making data frictionless to consume by their customers, internal and external, yet doing so in a secure manner. With today’s technology and services those goals can be difficult to balance. Blockchain technology, however, can mitigate these concerns. By storing the data in an encrypted 'ledger' that spans numerous servers across the globe the data will be readably accessible at all times and secured against malicious modification.

    The applications for blockchain technology interacting with our daily lives could be limitless - from making land-records more secure and invulnerable to fraudulent behavior, facilitating secure communication between smart devices (IoT), to promoting real-time financial transactions between banks -- the possibilities go on and on. With just this small glimpse into the practical uses for blockchain, it is easy...

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    How the IoT is Changing the Freight Industry

    May 11, 2016
    By Jonathan Townsend

    smartfleets.jpg

    Noted entrepreneur, investor, author, public speaker, and Internet personality Gary Vaynerchuk once addressed an audience member's comparison of his innovative idea and service as the 'Uber of a burgeoning industry' by interjecting with a simple, yet valid statement: "Everybody is calling everything the Uber of everything." Regarding the impacts the Internet of Things (IoT) has on many industries, such comparisons have become day-to-day realities in the 21st century.

    As an industry-affecting concept, the IoT unlocks endless capabilities that have ramped up data cultivation and analysis to the point where ideas have become industry-standard practices. This is readily apparent in regards to trucking fleets and shipping practices. As noted in this CenturyLinkVoice article, "Nearly 70 percent of all freight moved in the United States travels by truck, a haul that totals an eye-popping 10 billion tons each year, according to the American Trucking Associations, a trade group. Without trucks, the American economy brakes to a halt."

    As we start integrating the IoT with the fleet industry, which fuels and feeds nations while facilitating trade and shipping on a global scale, we could see the beginning stages of government and private sector trucking company partnerships with innovative companies like Uber, Tesla, and Google (to...

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    Benefits of Cloud Load Balancing

    May 9, 2016
    By Thomas Broadwell

    load-balancing.png

    Businesses large and small are leveraging the cloud to run a variety of applications that are critical to their success. Tools for sales and customer management, inventory management, expense tracking, file storage and sharing, websites, and custom applications are just a few of the many cloud-hosted services that keep businesses running. The scalable and global nature of the cloud helps to create affordable and flexible applications in a web hosting solution for most businesses today. Since servers host these applications in the cloud, it only makes sense to load balance the servers in the cloud as well.

    Proven Performance

    Real-world application performance can be unpredictable. To ensure maximum uptime and reliability, the CenturyLink Cloud® platform offers a portfolio of cloud load balancers to meet the unique requirements of your apps. Less complex applications can deploy shared load balancers, while more involved apps can use dedicated load balancers that support advanced OSI Model Layer 4 - Transport and Layer 7 - Application rules. SSL offloading is also available, from 100 Mbps to 500 Mbps.

    Cloud Load Balancing from CenturyLink uses a multi-tenant, scalable, and programmable infrastructure presented to the customer as a service. The Dedicated Load Balancer uses Citrix® NetScaler®, the industry’s leading web...

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    Hadoop Add-On Components Made Easy: Click to Install

    May 5, 2016
    By Daniel Morton

    Big Data Footprint

    Hadoop is one of the hottest enterprise big data technologies in the cloud today. To make big data in the cloud easier for our customers, 8 Cloudera Hadoop Add-on Services are now available for CenturyLink Cloud®. Through an ecosystem of open-source components, Hadoop Add-on Services fundamentally changes the way enterprises store, process, and analyze data to solve all kinds of big data problems.

    For many, Hadoop is too difficult to deploy and manage. Automating a four-node cluster can be a daunting task. But not with the Cloudera Blueprint for CenturyLink Cloud! We've taken the complexity out of Hadoop by automating the dozens of deployment steps associated with a new cluster environment. We reduced all these steps to just a few clicks of the mouse.

    Benefits of Cloudera Blueprint for CenturyLink Cloud

    CenturyLink's Cloudera Blueprint simplifies the process of installing, configuring, and adding components for an entire Hadoop cluster. The Blueprints come in 1 and 4 server configurations. If you need more than 4 nodes, additional nodes can be added in minutes by upgrading the Cloudera Blueprint version.

  • Log into the Control Portal. Control Portal
  • Search for Cloudera in the Blueprints library.
  • Click the Blueprint version and cluster configuration you want.
  • Fill in the appropriate details.
  • Select your Cloudera version and
  • ...

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    The Nexus Chameleon on CenturyLink Cloud

    May 4, 2016
    By Tom Coffing

    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 Tom Coffing, President and CEO at Coffing Data Warehousing.

    coffing logo

    Become a Cloud Rock Star

    The best kept secret in cloud computing just might be the Nexus Chameleon software. It has been designed and developed for over a decade to integrate all databases as if they were one giant system. Coffing Data Warehousing is excited to be providing its amazing service on the Century Link Cloud platform.

    One of the best complements we ever received was from a Vice President at the world’s largest bank who said, “Nexus is so powerful and easy-to-use that it puts the business user on the same playing field as the Data Scientist”.

    The Challenges Solved by the Nexus Chameleon

    The Nexus Chameleon has automated the most difficult challenges in today’s computing environment by doing things nobody else in the world is doing, but yet doing so with the click of the mouse.

    Imagine that you have transactional legacy systems such as DB2, Oracle, and SQL Server and, on top of that, you...

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    Sharpening the Cloudy Arrow

    May 4, 2016
    By Mike Kane

    dynclclogo

    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 Mike Kane, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, for Dyn.

    We’ve all done it at one time or another. You know… drawing a fuzzy arrow between two system components without really knowing exactly how the data is going to get from point A to point B. Almost every reference architecture scribbled on a white board has at least one such cloudy arrow. If the information has to travel between customers and users, as well as cloud and data center assets, typically the path is usually not well understood. Yet these paths can have as much impact on service performance as anything else. The situation requires deeper examination.

    The chances are, unless you’re specialized in network operations, you may not be completely aware of the nuances and challenges involved in moving data and procedure calls on the Internet. It’s time to get on it though. As your organization transitions from on-premises infrastructure to cloud-based and Hybrid architectures, you will likely find yourself relying on...

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