Ready for an Ever-Increasing Cloud Disaster Recovery Market?

September 22, 2015
By Ian Masters, Vision Solutions

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 Ian Masters, Vice President, Cloud & Strategic Alliances at Vision Solutions

Vision SolutionsThe Cloud DR market is finally maturing. I believe this is confirmed by the release of the first Gartner Magic Quadrant (GMQ) for Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). According to the report, the Gartner estimates the size of the DRaaS market to be approximately $1.3 billion, with a related compound annual growth rate of approximately 30%. Impressive, to say the least. Interestingly, the Gartner also states that, “DRaaS vendors initially provided VM recovery primarily for VMware. However, given the rapid growth of other VM types, such as Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen, Linux-centric KVM, and Oracle VM (OVM), service instances are becoming increasingly heterogeneous.

Unified Solutions Suite

Additionally, the GMQ reports "there is an ever-increasing customer demand for more integrated support of hybrid recovery configurations – that is, recovery configurations containing both virtual and physical servers." Due to this development, it’s easy to see why Service Providers are having to use such a...

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How to Achieve the Top 3 IT Ops Objectives

September 15, 2015
By

Jenkins Logo

Back from an exciting week at the Jenkins User Conference in Santa Clara, I want to thank all of you who stopped by the Cloud Application Manager booth to share your thoughts and questions. From the 600+ attendees representing various enterprises, some key themes emerged that reflect their IT organizational challenges and objectives. I’ll go over the top three.

A Desire to Increase Deployment Frequency

Gene Kim, a keynote speaker at the conference rightly, said, “Deploy smaller changes more frequently.” While most enterprises deploy applications in some form or fashion, a huge amount of manual tasks and steps slows down the process. It’s a combination of a process and tools issue.

Confidence in Successful Deployments

Many IT and DevOps teams experience sleepless nights and get on pins-and-needles when it is time to deploy into production. Reducing errors, predictability and stable applications in production are key. As Gene Kim said at the conference, “At the end of each spring, we must have working and shippable code… demonstrated in an environment that resembles production.”

Faster Lead-Time to Deployment

Not only are frequent deployments a good thing, but reducing the overall time of a single deployment is a major IT goal. Deployment orchestration is the next step in driving...

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Point, Click, Deploy with Bitnami on CenturyLink Cloud

September 14, 2015
By Erica Brescia, COO, Bitnami

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 Erica Brescia, from one click application tool Bitnami.

BitnamiEver wished you had an easy way to deploy Redmine, SugarCRM, Alfresco, Drupal, or your favorite app in the cloud? Preferably one that didn't involve dealing with complicated server infrastructure, cryptic configuration files and multiple software versions?

Well, now you have one. We're pleased to announce that many of Bitnami's server applications and development environments are now available to CenturyLink Cloud customers as Bitnami Cloud Blueprints. With this integration, you can deploy over 100 Bitnami pre-configured applications quickly and securely on your CenturyLink cloud server...no tweaking necessary!

At Bitnami, we've taken the data we get from our million-plus deployments each month and used it to make sure that launching complex, multi-tiered application environments with our cloud images is as painless as possible.

Here’s how:

  • All our applications are pre-compiled and pre-configured with all necessary dependencies so that they work out-of-the-box.
  • They’re quick and easy to install; simply sign into your CenturyLink account and select the Bitnami Cloud Blueprint of your
...

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Corporate IT: Transformative Agent or Roadblock?

September 10, 2015
By Pat Brennan

Cloud Takes Business Agility and Flexibility to New Heights

How does IT BECOME the business?

For many CEOs, the question is no longer “if” information technology will impact their business – it’s by how much. Data is being produced and replicated at unprecedented speeds, ushering in a new age of IT growth. The emergence of cloud, big data and IoT is transforming the data center, and those who capitalize on this technology movement stand to gain significant competitive advantage. As the ultimate goal is to maximize efficiencies, cut costs, and drive revenue – cloud and “as-a-service” models now put corporate IT in the unique position of becoming a transformative change agent in business.

Global businesses are in the midst of a “Third Industrial Revolution,” where competitive advantage comes from capitalizing on the new digital infrastructure and massive amounts of data flowing across it. As our recent e-Book points out, this digital transformation is empowering companies to move faster, serve customers in new ways, and create expanded opportunities for growth and innovation. Perhaps that’s why Bessemer Venture Partners pegs the cloud computing market at nearly $128 billion by 2018 – a 22.8 percent growth rate. A survey of large and mid-sized corporations by...

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3 Steps to Connect Service Bindings of Complex Deployments

September 9, 2015
By

Bindings

Bindings make it easy to connect services together. They enable components of large-scale, multi-tier applications to interconnect in a virtual cloud deployment that can span hybrid clouds. Recently, Cloud Application Manager made bindings even more powerful. Now at deploy time, services can automatically detect dependencies — with the help of binding tags.

Binding tags boost complex deployments in a couple of ways:

  • Dynamic bindings. Tagged bindings discover instance connectivity dynamically. They serve as an auto-discovery mechanism where instances with binding tags can automatically connect to other instances that match those tags.
  • One to many bindings. Bindings can connect one or many services together, again, using tags. Previously, every connection required an exclusive binding. But that’s no longer necessary.

We’ll use an example to see how bindings work. Let’s suppose that an Nginx loadbalancer needs to detect freshly launched Node.js instances and automatically add them to its loadbalancing pool. We do three things to achieve this scenario. The first two are part of box automation:

  • Define binding variables

  • Configure bindings for your application

  • Tag bindings for instance connectivity

  • Step 1. Define Binding Variables

    Bindings are defined as variables in box automation. In the Nginx loadbalancer box, for example, we defined that the binding can connect to instances of...

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    Open DevOps automation catalog for cloud deployments — Now Available

    September 2, 2015
    By

    Open DevOps

    Cloud Application Manager brings you public boxes, a knowledge repository of sample deployments for popular application stacks. Public boxes are now freely available to all. Explore simplified automation and deploy in minutes without writing code.

    As a DevOps or operations engineer, you often get code thrown at you last minute to make it work in staging or production. Not enough thought is given to operational considerations like storage, access control, backups, networking, high availability, maintenance, security, and other aspects. Testing in a development environment is one thing, but a totally different ball game when it comes to production. One way to resolve this disparity is to provide engineering teams a ready-made deployment catalog with matching infrastructure deployment policies with which they can self-service one-click environments to push code to development, staging, as well as production.

    Public boxes enable you to give developers the freedom to innovate while you ensure that deployments follow company approved practices and budgeting guidelines as well as operational best practices.

    What’s the benefit of Public Boxes? Simplifying deployments?

    At the core of any automated deployment are scripts that make the magic happen behind the curtain. This magic can range anywhere from connecting to a GitHub repo to pull...

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    Data Encryption Made Easy on the CenturyLink Cloud

    September 1, 2015
    By Chintan Gosalia, Sr. Cloud Architect, and Alan Eng, Cloud Product Marketing, at Vormetric

    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 data encryption provider Vormetric.

    Enterprises have been concerned about data security long before the advent of the cloud. Throwing cloud to the mix has added fuel to the fire; yet "companies of all sizes and industries, including some of the most regulated, are finding that enterprise cloud service providers offer security that is superior to what they can provide in-house." A combination of deeply-embedded security principles and ecosystem partnerships with best-in-class security companies makes this possible.

    CenturyLink and Vormetric have partnered to deliver data-at-rest security solutions for enterprises using the CenturyLink Public Cloud. Now you can encrypt your sensitive data, own your own encryption keys, and create a data protection policy that gives only authorized users, groups, and applications the ability to decrypt that data, thus creating a highly secure cloud environment. Vormetric applies the least privileged principle enabling system administrators to continue managing servers, backups, and replication services without changing their workflow. They're able to view encrypted data in clear text.

    Vormetric diagram

    Here are...

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    Security and Audit Compliance is Hard – Automate It with Cavirin and CenturyLink Cloud

    August 25, 2015
    By Tim Thompson

    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 Tim Thompson of security and compliance provider Cavirin.

    Cavirin ARAPNo business wants to be exposed to risk, fail an audit, or get breached. We can help. With Cavirin’s Automated Risk Analysis Platform (ARAP), now integrated within the CenturyLink Platform, you can elevate your security posture and add an extra layer of transparency and visibility in your cloud ecosystem, without any additional security staff or heavyweight security tools.

    Strengthen your cloud infrastructure without sacrificing security or compliance.

    ARAP can help strengthen your infrastructure by continuously monitoring your CenturyLink Public Cloud environment as well as on-premise environment -- seeking out configuration changes as well as new devices and grading the associated risk based on security and compliance guidelines that you apply. Our platform paints a clear picture of the risk within your dynamic IT ecosystem, so that you stay proactive, well ahead of potential risks to security or gaps in compliance.

    ARAP is agentless and automated, which means cost and time savings for you.

    To us, automation is just...

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    Real-time Data Distribution with Apache Kafka

    August 21, 2015
    By Chris Kleban

    Like most enterprises and service providers, at CenturyLink we aim to please our customers by making data-based decisions. As our business grows, so does the amount of data we collect. The effort required to distill, distribute and analyze the data in meaningful ways was increasingly strenuous to our team. In short, we needed to become faster with our analytics. If your organization is becoming overwhelmed with data, read on, as I’ll share how the Cloud analytics team used Apache Kafka to solve the following challenges with collecting and distributing data at scale:

    • Efficient access to data
    • Speed
    • Scalability
    • Distributed, Fault Tolerant, and Highly Available

    Challenge #1: Efficient access to data

    Getting access to data is sometimes the hardest part. Sometimes the data that you need lives in some isolated software service and a one-off data export is required. Perhaps your data integration flow is overly-complex due to your adoption of a service-oriented architecture (SOA). Maybe you have a process that requires multiple teams to perform work before data is moved around. We saw all of this and more, and decided to make it easier to move our data to increase the overall velocity of our organization. Our data distribution flow between services looked something like this:

    Previous...

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    High Availability: It's About Scale Factor

    August 20, 2015
    By Daniel Morton

    Richard Seroter, VP ProductWhether you're a CIO or a developer you can't assume that the cloud just magically gives you high availability (HA). Cloud gives you the tools. We think a little healthy skepticism on the part of the customer that the cloud will be available all the time is actually a good thing. A customer should say, “I build my systems to be resilient and accommodate failure that the provider experiences. I'm going to use whatever services the cloud providers offers to build the best system I can, but I have to plan for all scenarios.”

    We applaud that skepticism! It’s up to you to implement the cloud products and managed services offered by the cloud provider in a way that gives you the resilience you need. To build highly availability applications, you have to design systems to handle both routine interruptions and unplanned failures of components and infrastructure — from a single instance all the way through the data center.

    A platform offering that can simplify building that in terms of scale, configuration, and managed infrastructure services has a lot to offer. That’s why we sat down with CenturyLink Cloud’s VP of Product Richard Seroter to discuss how his teams help customers scale...

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    Meet the New IT Ops, Same as the Old IT Ops

    August 19, 2015
    By Jared Ruckle

    In this space, we have discussed the benefits of running virtual servers, bare metal, and AppFog (powered by Cloud Foundry) with CenturyLink Cloud. The pitch: create and scale your apps via self-service, across a variety of infrastructure options, within the same UI and API framework.

    These services empower developers to build new apps faster than ever before. This is the sea change occurring in our industry.

    Under the backdrop of this change, however, one constant has emerged. Yes, companies want infrastructure services that are elastic and highly automated.

    But they want to administer and manage cloud deployments like incumbent systems.

    "The More Things Change..."

    Customers tell us that governance, control, transparency, billing, and reporting are still important. These priorities persist in the cloud era. To IT Ops teams, these administrative features complement the on-demand, pay-as-you-go goodness that fuels rapid app development.

    To this end, we've launched several new features to help customers realize the benefits of cloud computing...while helping them adhere to their current operational practices and policies.

    Below are a few examples.

    Service Catalog

    IT Ops Perspective: "Things in my org change quickly, and I want to retain control over how new services are exposed to employees. Ticket volumes go up when unfamiliar things are available to the...

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    Why Is the Developer’s Dream an Operations Nightmare?

    August 19, 2015
    By

    Face Palm

    As a developer at Cloud Application Manager, I wear the IT Ops hat just as often as I spend time writing code. So I understand all too well the pain IT Ops endure to keep things running smoothly after a production update. In the continuous delivery world of devops where small, incremental code changes are deployed every day, chances are that IT Ops have to constantly put out fires. Luckily, in my own job, I’ve been able to leverage a combo of tools and workflows to catch the problems right where they originate — in the development environment.

    Defining Reusable Components for the Development Stack

    I believe that a developer’s dream should not turn into a nightmare for IT Ops. So I rely on a set of workflow and tools that help IT Ops like me sleep better at night. One such method is to provide a base level environment for the development stack. This stack usually comprises a company-approved base level runtime that is tested and production certified. The idea is that when it’s time to push updates in staging or production, the code is more stable and less likely to involve bugs or errors.

    Let me give a simple example. At...

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