What to Look for in a Cloud Management Platform

June 28, 2018
By Jim Greene

Choosing a cloud management platform begins with knowing the business needs it is designed to address. Features can vary by vendor, and needs will vary from one organization to the next.

With the growth and ease-of-access of the cloud, many businesses already consume resources at a fast-paced rate. Having visibility into what is being consumed, as well as how much and by whom, is a critical part of an investment decision-making strategy. Cloud management refers to administrative control over public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud deployments as way to centralize control of various cloud-based infrastructures. So, a cloud management platform is a suite of integrated software tools that a business can use to monitor and control cloud computing resources. Some target niche industries or vertical markets, while others offer a broad toolset. Some are delivered as on-premises applications, while others come as software as a service.

The success, predictability and stability of a hybrid IT environment is directly related to the implementation of policies and oversight that frees up business units to consume services on-demand. This includes ensuring that permissions are allocated appropriately and cloud-consumption services have safeguards to ensure that costs are kept in check.

A fully managed service provider experience enables business...

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Make Disaster Recovery Easy and Worry-Free

June 19, 2018
By Jim Greene

Easy and worry-free disaster recovery

Downtime is money, and peace of mind is worth its weight in gold when it comes to knowing that your company has a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place.

At CenturyLink®, we go beyond making sure disaster recovery plans are regularly audited and tested. We can manage your DR solution end-to-end with a team of experts ready to protect your entire infrastructure. In this age of virtualized servers across a distributed IT environment, disaster recovery is more than just a necessity; it's an imperative. The Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council found that:

  • 73% of companies are not sufficiently prepared to recover from a prolonged outage.
  • 78% have experienced outages of critical applications
  • 63% say their losses ranged from a few thousand dollars to over $5M
  • 64% say that their organization’s disaster recovery (DR) budget is inadequate and underfunded
  • 28% say their organization lost data center functionality for up to weeks at a time

DR Readiness

Those are ominous numbers. The question is not whether an outage, equipment failure, or disaster will occur, but when that will happen and how well prepared your company will be to face the scenario and recover.

Don't let your company become a statistic. Your organization can easily mitigate the likelihood of downtime, save money, and...

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Office 365 E-mail Data Management with SUREedge O365

April 17, 2018
By George Symons

Surelinelogo

Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem to share how their technology on the CenturyLink Marketplace provides customers with low-friction solutions to solve complex business challenges. This edition’s guest author from the CenturyLink Marketplace Provider Program is George Symons, COO, at Sureline Systems.

I would like to thank CenturyLink for the opportunity to leverage its blog to tell you about a new solution we have for data management of Office 365 e-mail on the CenturyLink Cloud. Sureline is known for our award winning SUREedge® enterprise-class software solutions for Cloud Migration and Cloud Disaster Recovery. SUREedge works with a wide variety of on-premises hypervisors and cloud systems and provides automated transformation of virtual servers to target environments. It reduces risk through encryption and provides efficient data transmission through deduplication and compression technologies. SUREedge technology allows CenturyLink customers to rapidly migrate any workload from physical or virtual systems into the CenturyLink Cloud, use the CenturyLink Cloud as a DR site, and now manage Office 365 Email data on CenturyLink Cloud. SUREedge and CenturyLink Cloud offer a flexible Office 365 e-mail data management solution for enterprises. The solution allows you to take...

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5 Fundamental Advantages of Hyperconvergence

April 5, 2018
By Jim Greene

With its simplicity, ease of management, and cost savings over traditional data center architectures, hyperconvergence appeals to an organization’s business management as well as its IT operations.

An infrastructure system with a software-centric architecture, hyperconvergence tightly integrates compute, storage, and networking – along with virtualization resources and other technologies – in a commodity hardware box supported by a single vendor.

Improved management of IT infrastructure is an important goal, but the real aim of hyperconvergence is to make business more agile. Hyperconvergence is a cost-effective solution that can keep a business nimble enough to compete despite continually shifting technology. Beyond agility, scalability and cost savings – the three fundamental promises of cloud computing – hyperconvergence delivers two additional key benefits: redundancy (through SAN storage) and data protection.

CenturyLink® Private Cloud on VMware Cloud Foundation relies on the self-contained, hyperconverged cloud infrastructure to provide many of the self-service features in its offering. The integrated compute, storage, networking and virtualization of each VM allows for plenty of security without the heavy burdens usually imposed on high security. With hyperconvergence, VMs sit on dedicated cloud infrastructure designed to maximize performance without sacrificing security. Convergence is made feasible in the data center through:

  • Applications and the servers that
...

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Data Security and the GDPR

March 20, 2018
By Server General Team

Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem to share how their technology on the CenturyLink Marketplace provides customers with low-friction solutions to solve complex business challenges. This edition’s guest from the Cloud Marketplace Provider Program is Server General.

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, replaces the Data Protection Directive (“Directive”), which has been in effect since 1995. The GDPR became law in April 2016, but organizations were given a two-year grace period to comply. The effective date for compliance is on May 25, 2018. The GDPR enables all EU nations to have a single set of rules that apply to all organizations that process personal data of EU citizens. The underlying idea is that every EU citizen has a fundamental right to privacy. To ensure compliance the GDPR employs two tiers of financial penalties; up to 2 percent of annual global revenue/10 million Euros for violations such as failing to notify a supervisory authority and affected parties about a data breach or for failing to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) if one is needed; the penalty could increase up to 4 percent of annual revenue/20 million Euros for violations...

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A Cloud Network that Scales with CenturyLink Cloud Virtual Firewall

March 13, 2018
By Matt Schwabenbauer, Product Owner, Infrastructure as a Service

CenturyLink announces the availability of CenturyLink Cloud® Virtual Firewall, our next generation public cloud networking service.

Built on VMware’s NSX for vSphere, Virtual Firewall is your solution for cloud-based Software Defined Networking at scale. Available today for new customers in our VA1 (Sterling, Virginia) NY1 (New York East) and UC1 (Santa Clara, California) service locations, Virtual Firewall offers per-customer dedicated virtual networking instances.

By segmenting our network infrastructure at the individual customer level, Virtual Firewall enables us to reduce the “noisy neighbor” effect that can affect customer workloads hosted in a shared environment. The Software Defined Networking architecture of Virtual Firewall also allows our customers to grow their cloud networks at scale with their compute workloads.

Virtual Firewall supports all of our existing cloud networking features, such as:

  • Private cloud networking (up to 200 private IPs per network)
  • Site-to-site VPN tunnels (connect the cloud to your existing network)
  • Cross-data center connectivity
  • Client VPN access
  • Public IPs
  • Custom firewall rules

We are excited to announce that additional next-generation cloud networking functionality enabled by Virtual Firewall is coming soon.

Virtual Firewall is currently available in our VA1, NY1 and UC1 service locations, and will soon be available in VA2, GB3, WA1, and DE3 sometime in Q2 2018. We expect to have the service...

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Customer Experience Testing from IR available on the CenturyLink Marketplace

February 27, 2018
By Russ Zilles

IR-logo

Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem to share how their technology on the CenturyLink Marketplace provides customers with low-friction solutions to solve complex business challenges. This edition’s guest author from the Cloud Marketplace Provider Program is Russ Zilles, VP Testing Solutions for IR.

Assess, tune, and verify the Customer Experience (CX) delivered by your UC and/or Contact Center technology with StressTest™ load/performance testing and HeartBeat™ experience testing and alerting, two cloud-based offers from IR available on the CenturyLink Marketplace. No need to purchase hardware or software; we test from the outside-in, without adding any products to your infrastructure.

StressTest goes beyond component level testing to deliver comprehensive performance verification of production systems and environments. Test calls are generated remotely and access your system via the Public Telephone Network, just like real Customers, following a carefully defined test case script to access and interact with your communications technology. By testing UC, IVR, and contact center systems from the outside-in, StressTest reveals the customer perspective of system performance under real-world conditions.

Whether it’s a new service, recovery after repair, or upgraded or expanded self-service capabilities, StressTest allows you to proactively identify issues and manage...

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Tapping into powerful benefits of hybrid cloud

February 20, 2018
By Jim Greene

As your business strives to support new initiatives, bolster resiliency, innovate and grow, cloud computing will be the centerpiece of your digital strategy. But businesses can take different paths on their IT journeys to reach the cloud. Which one is best for yours?

Public cloud services can’t meet all of your requirements alone. You need an environment that is secure enough to handle sensitive customer data and flexible enough to support highly customized applications, so a hybrid cloud approach might be a better option.

By combining public services with one or more private clouds, you can tap into hybrid cloud’s powerful benefits---improved agility, seamless scalability and reduced capital expenditures. The private cloud component of your hybrid environment will let you retain strong control of data while providing the flexibility to create a highly tailored environment.

Important factors to consider when choosing your cloud solution include:

  • Location
  • Time to value
  • Security
  • Expertise
  • Costs

Whichever approach is right for you, CenturyLink can help. DCC Foundation is a next-generation software-defined data center solution based on VMware Cloud Foundation. With software-defined networking and VMware vSAN Storage, it delivers a completely integrated hyperconverged infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solution. Built on industry-leading technologies, DCC Foundation offers deep flexibility to meet a wide range of private cloud requirements.

Download...

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Elevate Your Infrastructure Monitoring with Panopta

February 20, 2018
By Robert Black

Panopta-logo

Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem to share how their technology on the CenturyLink Marketplace provides customers with low-friction solutions to solve complex business challenges. This edition’s guest author from the Cloud Marketplace Provider Program is Robert Black, Director of Marketing for Panopta.

Organizations of all sizes, across the globe, are all in some stage of a digital transformation. A huge part of this journey is finding the right cloud technologies for reducing operational expenses, increasing security, visibility, and maximizing employee productivity. Even the most reliable cloud infrastructures are subject to downtime and performance degradation, which have a tremendous impact on the quality of the end-user experience. A comprehensive monitoring solution is paramount to ensure that the server, application and network infrastructure is operating optimally. A robust infrastructure monitoring solution not only saves time and resources, but also reduces data center overhead and ensures service availability.

Panopta: Powerful Monitoring Solutions

Panopta is excited to join the CenturyLink Marketplace as an Ecosystem Partner to provide CenturyLink customers with advanced infrastructure monitoring available as a SaaS offering through direct provisioning on existing CenturyLink Cloud infrastructure. Regardless of how much infrastructure you need to monitor, Panopta...

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Digital transformation depends on a new kind of data center

February 6, 2018
By Jim Greene

Businesses know digital transformation is an important factor in their success, but most still have much work to be done. Only 10% of companies describe themselves as fully digital, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit[^1].

[^1]: The Economist Intelligence Unit Digital Evolution Report, 2016

While a new breed of IT services is required to propel business into this digital age, that doesn't mean the IT organization will need a huge budget increase to obtain the IT systems critical to this transformation. There are ways to reduce costs for existing activities and processes so IT organizations can free up funds for systems to support digital transformation. For example, CenturyLink and VMware have collaborated to deliver the Dedicated Cloud Compute Foundation (DCCF) service. This hosted private cloud solution delivers next generation data center technology in a turnkey model, providing businesses the means to leverage cloud services for digital transformation.

Public cloud services were innovative and cost-attractive when they launched more than 10 years ago. Now, most organizations understand there are limitations to this model, and that transformation requires changing from legacy data center concepts to a software-defined data center (SDDC).

Businesses now demand that cloud services enable faster and more efficient transformation of IT infrastructure. For many...

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Big Data as a Service on bare metal with Cloudera

February 1, 2018
By Jim Greene

CenturyLink(R)
           Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) Foundation

Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) describes a wide variety of functions that can be outsourced to the cloud. They range from data collection and storage, to the tools used to analyze data, to providing analysis and reports. For businesses, the end goal is being able to apply the insights gleaned from analysis to drive growth.

CenturyLink has developed a BDaaS offering that includes managed Cloudera, professional services and methods to on-ramp customers. We deliver this solution on bare metal infrastructure for performance gains over virtualized environments.

Our BDaaS solution consists of three core components:

First, we offer a managed infrastructure, delivered on bare-metal hardware. This is differentiated from the virtual servers generally offered for many cloud Hadoop environments. And while bare metal is a differentiator, we also offer networking expertise, as well as advanced security capabilities.

Second, the service is based on Cloudera. Through our strong alliance with Cloudera, we have been in tight collaboration to roll out this service and have integrated CenturyLink’s scripts with Cloudera’s API to drive fast deployment on the servers.

Finally, CenturyLink provides consulting services and professional services for data analytics. Our scientists and data engineers help organizations drill down into their use cases to find the solutions that...

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