CenturyLink Achieves Microsoft Azure Expert MSP Status

August 31, 2018
By Lyza Latham

Microsoft Azure Expert MSP

We are pleased to announce that CenturyLink has achieved the Microsoft Azure Expert MSA status. This status recognizes CenturyLink’s experience and reliability in all aspects of hybrid cloud infrastructure to support our customers' Digital Transformations.

Assessment Factors

Microsoft assessed a wide range of factors including:

  • Technical approach
  • Planning and design, transformation and migration services
  • Cloud operations and service management
  • Documentation and processes
  • Security and governance
  • SLAs, customer satisfaction, cost optimization and reporting

The Azure certification recognizes CenturyLink's investment in resources, training and technology to support clients and follow through on expected outcomes of our customers and partners.

CenturyLink Managed Services

CenturyLink offers a variety of managed Hybrid IT and Cloud Services, including Big Data as a Service, Managed Disaster Recovery Services, and Cloud Application Manager Managed Services Anywhere.

Cloud Application Manager

Cloud Application Manager is a powerful, scalable platform for deploying applications into production across any cloud infrastructure – private, public or hosted. It provides interactive visualization to automate application provisioning, including configuration, deployment, scaling, updating and migration of applications in real-time. With Cloud Application Manager, CenturyLink offers two support models — Managed Services Anywhere or Platform Advisory Support. These two approaches offer flexibility in engagement and level of expertise so businesses can choose whichever best fits their needs.

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Two Choices for Meeting Your Organization’s Support Requirements

August 14, 2018
By Jim Greene

Make the Right Choice

Companies operating in a Hybrid IT environment need to manage both internal and customer-facing applications so they can reduce downtime, save money, increase productivity, and deliver new solutions to market. And most organizations recognize their need to align themselves with partners and consultants to provide expertise and guidance to properly fulfill their digital requirements.

With Cloud Application Manager, CenturyLink offers two support models — Managed Services Anywhere or Platform Advisory Support. These two approaches offer flexibility in engagement and level of expertise so businesses can choose the one that best fits their needs. The question is: Which one is right for your organization?

Platform Advisory Support is an enterprise-grade baseline support package for businesses that need less hands-on expertise. A designated Technical Account Manager is available to provide recommendations around best practices and platform triage, and CenturyLink leads and owns support responsibilities for all services utilized within the platform. That includes lead support responsibility for Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services whether you buy your own cloud, start from scratch, or build upon legacy assets.

Managed Services Anywhere orchestrates the delivery of infrastructure, applications and services across multiple cloud environments. Offering all the benefits of Platform Advisory Support, this is fully-managed service that...

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5 Fundamental Ways Cloud Application Manager Can Impact Your Bottom Line

August 14, 2018
By Lyza Latham

Winning at Tennis and Business

Watching Wimbledon 2018 last month was thrilling. Seeing the tennis world's best players give it their all, and push one another to the limits of human strength, agility and endurance is always captivating. Watching Novak Djokovic outlast Rafael Nadal to win after five sets over two nights was my personal highlight. One can merely imagine the countless hours of practice and drilling it took to achieve that level of mastery.

In business, the win isn’t always so crystal clear. From the executive suite, the demand on application teams and DevOps is to deliver faster, with higher quality. That’s the win. To achieve that win, the prevailing approach is to drill, practice and master the fundamentals of agile delivery.

At the heart of agile delivery, DevOps’ promise is “speed to value” for organizations. There’s a lot of discussion swirling about how to measure the ROI. In speaking with enterprise prospects and customers, it’s clear that while it would be awesome to have a sophisticated model to measure the ROI of DevOps tools and resources, most teams are seeking foundational progress.

1. “Our deployment process is chaotic and not repeatable.”

We see handcrafted deployment processes in many businesses. Using Cloud Application Manager, teams can automate application...

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Managing a Cloud Migration

August 1, 2018
By Jim Greene

cloud-integration

Managing a Cloud Migration with CenturyLink

Migration to the cloud doesn't have to be complicated. At CenturyLink®, we understand the importance of easing the complexity involved with migrating platforms.

Helping customers migrate from their legacy platform to CenturyLink Cloud is designed to facilitate a smooth, effortless, and cost-effective transition between service platforms using the best delivery methods.

Cloud Application Manager facilitates customer IT transformation by using a best-practices approach to orchestrate the delivery of infrastructure, applications and services across multiple clouds. Its key component is Managed Services Anywhere, which includes monitoring, patching and remote administration via automation and may be deployed on any cloud environment. With access to CenturyLink's 365x24x7 Global Operations Support Center, you’ll also spend less time on IT management while our experienced and accountable Managed Services teams manage tasks, minimize failures and downtime, and help you save on operational costs.

The following guide can help you through the important steps and criteria for a successful migration to the cloud.

Assess your existing situation

It's important to take stock of existing infrastructure, licensing, staffing, and hardware capabilities and limitations. When it comes to migration, this step goes beyond assessing the state of the physical equipment – it means getting a holistic perspective of your...

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Predictive Monitoring, Anomaly Detection with Metric Forecasting

July 31, 2018
By Jim Greene

Predictive monitoring has a range of business applications, from uncovering fraud in credit card transactions to detecting intrusions in a computer network.

With deeper context for fluctuating metrics through predictive monitoring, anomaly detection, and forecasting, identifying aberrant behavior in network traffic patterns can help an IT Security team ward off attempted attacks. Algorithms modeled to forecast expected behavior can give your team the ability to both visualize expected trends and specify when they want to receive alerts about potential issues.

CenturyLink’s Cloud Application Manager takes a best-practice approach to automation that weeds out a greater number of false positives than standard systems. This is where other options that rely on threshold-based alerts for cloud monitoring — especially when alerts occur and there’s really nothing wrong — leave much to be desired.

Infrastructure supporting workloads is supposed to work hard, so threshold-based alerting can define maximum efficiency as a problem. Signals that cross a threshold may not represent an actual problem, while changes that may be problematic may not actually cross the threshold. Likewise, signals that cross a threshold close to an outage scenario may not leave enough time to react to a problem, while adjusting thresholds closer to the norm of the signal...

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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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