Ecosystem Showcase: Orchestrate Brings Database Heroics to the CenturyLink Cloud Ecosystem

April 9, 2015
By Jennifer Lankford

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 Jennifer Lankford from Orchestrate, a provider of NoSQL database services focused on developer agility.

As interest from enterprise customers began to increase in late 2014, we decided to run some benchmarks on CenturyLink Cloud and take it through its paces. The results pleasantly surprised us and should make the users of competing cloud providers take notice. Not only did CenturyLink Cloud perform consistently better than the biggest providers on all fronts, its pricing is highly competitive, and it boasts a web-based GUI that makes the user experience a breeze. So today, we’re very excited to share that Orchestrate is now available on CenturyLink Cloud, and can be deployed today through the ecosystem.

This is great news because it gives CenturyLink’s global network of Fortune 1000 companies immediate access to the flexibility and cost-savings associated with Orchestrate. The partnership makes perfect sense for both companies and especially their customers — CenturyLink and Orchestrate share a common vision for simplifying the deployment of applications to...

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Dynatrace Free Trial Utilizing CenturyLink Cloud Blueprint Now Available

April 8, 2015
By Kim Bannerman, Matthew Keenan, Michael Masterson

In February 2015 Dynatrace, a leading player in the field of Application Performance Management (APM), launched integration with the CenturyLink cloud platform. Dynatrace APM is laser focused on the details that matter for application performance, starting with 100% visibility into of the End-User transactions and spanning both Pre-Production and Production environments. Dynatrace provides integration with automation frameworks like the CenturyLink Cloud blueprints, Ansible, Chef, and Puppet, as well as many ticketing and notification systems. As cloud adoption increases across SME and Enterprise organizations, teams must fundamentally rethink the way they monitor scaling applications and dynamic infrastructure.

Some of the most common use cases for APM in the Cloud include

  • Dev/Test - Development and Test teams are moving faster than ever to support business needs, even shipping code releases multiple times per day. Reduce risk by measuring and comparing performance in every build and test in conjunction with real browser synthetics from around the world
  • Cloud Benchmarking - Baselining how applications perform in the cloud vs. their native compute habitat provides organizations with quantitative metrics to make the optimal infrastructure decision the first time, instead of iteratively guessing and testing
  • Dev/Ops - Managing the performance of applications in a cloud environment requires the ability to

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CenturyLink Cloud Celebrates Pi Day with Pi Day Kids Hack Event

April 6, 2015
By Kimberly Bannerman, Director Cloud Evangelism Programs

Saturday, March 14, 2015 was one of the most epic version of “Pi Day” that most of us will see during our lifetimes. As everyone knows, when stretched to 31 decimal places pi is represented in decimal notation as 3.1415926535897932384626433832795 (whew!). When truncated, 3.14.15 gives us a few additional significant digits — enough to make any math enthusiast completely irrational!

To celebrate, CenturyLink Cloud organized an afternoon for young people in our technology community — helping them learn to “hack” on miniature Raspberry Pi units and learning software development practices with Seattle CoderDojo. The event was an idea that CenturyLink Cloud’s CTO, Jared Wray had been considering for over a year. Jared has 3 boys, and they have built projects using the Raspberry Pi units at home. Once the CenturyLink Cloud Development Center opened in Bellevue, WA, the event had a home.

"These days, I often find myself looking back to my childhood and using a computer for the first time. I remember placing my hands on that keyboard and thinking of all the things that I could do and create — like wielding a magical sword. Coding is more than just telling computers what to do for kids, it is showing...

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying About My On-Prem Data Center and Love the Cloud: The Data Center Transformation Playbook

March 25, 2015
By Jared Ruckle, Product Manager

I was chatting with a CIO the other day about his goals and vision for the organization. Highlights: supporting 2x revenue growth over the next several years. Delivering a differentiated customer experience. Mobile apps. Empowering his teams in the field.

Pretty good list, right?

We went on to discuss how cloud services could help his company achieve all of the above. But there was another pressing project on his mind: retiring his on-premises data center, in favor of the public cloud. Why was this “data center transformation” project a high priority for him?

  • Risk due to location. Office buildings, no matter how secure, can’t compare to the facilities offered by most data center providers. Environmental factors come in to play as well – the threat of natural disasters and even shoddy HVAC systems keep execs up at night.
  • Inordinate amounts of human time and effort. Administering servers, running procurement, fiddling with cabling, monitoring power and cooling - it's time consuming. And there’s just no upside to it. Best case? Your team keeps things running on par with what an outsourced provider can deliver…only without the price drops and new features. Think of all the other things these folks could

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Explosive Growth and Rapid Change in Asia-Pacific – Announcing our Cloud in Singapore!

March 18, 2015
By Chris Levanes, Director of Cloud & Managed Hosting, APAC

For the past fifteen years, my professional life has been centered in Asia, with ten of these years as a resident. And throughout this time I have always held strong personal views on the economic potential of the region. However, the current and future growth projections have outpaced my most optimistic predictions and expectations.

Some recent stats from various sources which illustrate the extent of the growth that is occurring, include:

  • Of the current 3+ billion global internet users, more than 46% reside within Asia-Pacific. It is estimated that Asia-Pac will represent more than 50% before the end of 2015.
  • Global e-commerce transactions are currently estimated to be around ~USD $1.5 trillion. In 2014, Asia-Pacific became the world’s largest e-commerce market. By end of 2017, consumers in APAC will be responsible for more than USD $1 trillion of the estimated $2.3 trillion in global e-commerce sales.

Coupled with these growth trends, the region is also experiencing dramatic change. For example, Asia-Pacific is the fastest mobile device growth region in the world, and already accounts for more than 50% of global mobile phone ownership. In fact, many users from Asia-Pacific will connect to the Internet for the first time via a mobile device, and that...

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Ecosystem Showcase: FoundationDB and the Multi-Model Database

March 6, 2015
By Jessica Rampen

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 Jessica Rampen from FoundationDB, a provider of polyglot database services focused on simplifying the database layer.

When CenturyLink announced their Hyperscale offering in early 2014, they were clearly focused on helping customers with their implementation of scale-out, NoSQL technologies. The proliferation of NoSQL databases is one response to the needs of modern applications, where not all data is best managed in a relational model. One challenge we've seen customers struggle with while experimenting with different database models: database bloat.

"If you're trying to choose a database technology for your application it can be really tough. The database market is evolving rapidly. From NoSQL, to NewSQL, to the mature relational systems, there's no shortage of solutions to sort through." – Stephen Pimentel, FoundationDB

Trying to run different databases together to power an application is an operational nightmare. Each has its own storage and retrieval requirements, and each requires developer and DBA skills that can be hard to find.

Why a multi-model database

We're one of the...

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Take Control! Channel Partners and Enterprise Customers Can Make Our Cloud Their Own

March 6, 2015
By Richard Seroter, Director of Product Management

Like most people, I have a mobile phone that is representative of my personality and productivity needs. Carefully chosen phone cases, background images, apps, and settings all create a level of personalization within the boundaries defined by my phone provider. My phone is basically a platform for delivering what I want, how I want it. Why can't your cloud behave the same way?

CenturyLink Cloud has offered a deep set of channel-friendly features for years. This month, we went even further to make sure that all our customers have greater control over their cloud experience. What does it mean to make our cloud your own?

Control the Appearance

Change how the CenturyLink Cloud Control Portal looks to your customers and users. Alter not only the color scheme and logos, but go deeper with modifications to listed support phone numbers, email addresses, and Knowledge Base links. Tweak the outbound email templates so that new users get a personalized message when they join the account.

Control the Access Point

With this latest software release, it's easy to use a non-CenturyLink branded domain to access the Control Portal. All customers can immediately use {account alias} to see a personalized login page with their logo. Soon, we'll make it...

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The Platform Effect: Marketplace Provider Program

March 4, 2015
By David Shacochis

Plug In to Platform CenturyLink

It's great to have a thriving Cloud Development Center where we crank out new features for our platform, but we know we can’t do it all ourselves. As Al Gore once said on 30 Rock, “there's an old African proverb that I made upIf you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We need to go far, quickly.”

Integrating With CenturyLink Cloud

We’ve been cultivating a technology ecosystem that we think will help our users go far, quickly. You can visit our newly-published CenturyLink Cloud Marketplace Provider Program to learn more. This new initiative supports integrations with a wide range of partner technologies who can "plug in" to CenturyLink Cloud as part of their user experience.

Technology partners can choose from three different types of integration patterns, one of the most flexible in our industry:

  • An Application Programming Interface (API) for automated interactions between any management system and the CenturyLink Cloud.
  • Our Blueprint orchestration engine. This powerful tool enables automated provisioning workflows for partner technology that combine dozens of configuration steps into one single click.
  • An Add-On framework (coming soon) for automating sign-ups to popular web services, while binding these external services to the CenturyLink Cloud platform.


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Cloud Services Estimator: Now Open Source for the Channel

February 24, 2015
By Nathan Young, Creative Director

CenturyLink Cloud Price Estimator

The advent of cloud computing has brought about one of the largest business opportunities in decades for managed services providers, system integrators and VARs many of whom have adapted their business models to offer the agility provided by elastic infrastructure.

CenturyLink has been a popular destination for enterprises and partners alike, with some of our partners choosing to white label and resell our product. The capabilities that enable this are a major differentiator of our platform. We constantly look for ways to enable our partners to pass value onto their customers and today we are happy to add another tool to their belt.

We are pleased to announce that we are contributing our Cloud Cost Estimator tool to the open-source community under the Apache 2 license. This web app makes it easy to estimate a monthly bill for a customized set of resources on the CenturyLink Cloud service.

As we’ve marketed cloud to our own end user customers, this estimator has been an invaluable tool to help buyers understand the costs associated with building and managing apps in the cloud. Deep visibility and monitoring coupled with showback and chargeback capabilities extend the value once resources are up and running.

Now, our channel partners can...

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Pets & Cattle: Self-Service VM Import Makes the Case for Co-Existence

February 4, 2015
By Jared Ruckle

Metaphors are common in tech. They help explain new concepts to the masses in familiar terms. The most common cloud metaphor? Pets and cattle – often used to underscore how users should think differently about infrastructure and application design patterns in the cloud. The phrase was first publicized by Randy Bias (more good reading on the topic is here and here).



Cloud-native apps — in the enterprise and otherwise — are almost exclusively run on instances best described as cattle. Why the term cattle?

  • Cattle are given numbers
  • They are similar to other cattle
  • When one gets sick, you get another one

Instances that are cattle can be quickly destroyed and replaced thanks to automation and modern application architecture.

Startups tend to use cattle for their flagship IP, with SaaS products to run their IT ops.

Go even further, and platform-as-a-service offerings like Cloud Foundry abstracts the management of cattle away altogether.


Exploring Kittens

In contrast, VMs that are pets are given names, and cared for extensively in the hopes of a long and happy life. Pets are more common in the enterprise world, where there’s an incumbent application portfolio that’s broad, diverse, and highly fragmented.

  • Pets are given names like
  • They are unique, lovingly hand raised and

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Use Cloud Network Service for Making Hybrid Cloud a Reality

January 27, 2015
By Robert Lesieur, Director of Product Management

Enterprises and large organizations are quickly adopting hybrid clouds in order to balance agility, cost of operations, and security requirements. Gartner predicts that 50% of all enterprises will use hybrid cloud by 2017. Public cloud offers a balance of agility and control for applications that require continuous development methodologies and flexible scaling, while private clouds provide extensive security and compliance features, as well as low cost models for steady capacity applications. Tying these models together requires thoughtful networking.

CenturyLink's Cloud Network Service (CNS) is the unifying element tying public or private cloud together with dedicated hosting or colocation options into a hybrid cloud. It’s a robust Ethernet data center network service that is delivered in either a shared or dedicated model, with a menu of options carefully chosen to meet the needs of the vast majority of our customers.

In addition to providing connectivity amongst heterogeneous compute islands such as public cloud, colocation and dedicated hosting, CNS provides the ability to chain enhanced services such as load balancers, firewalls and WAN services such as CenturyLink IQ, CenturyLink’s MPLS circuit products. (note: CNS itself does not provide WAN capabilities.). Customers experience a significant reduction in the complexity and cost of private...

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On Multi-Cloud Management: the Incremental and the Transformative

December 9, 2014
By Jared Ruckle, Senior Product Manager. Find Jared on Twitter

Public cloud has so many enterprise IT execs excited.  The excitement stems from the right objectives (agility, OpEx, getting out of the infrastructure business), but is often associated with false expectations. 

Namely, the idea of an expansive, highly-centralized multi-cloud strategy.  In this scenario, an IT pro manages multiple clouds with ease.  Key to this vision: a “single pane of glass” management and orchestration layer.

The idea is solid – it hypothetically delivers interoperability, access to innovation across providers, and pricing arbitrage.  Who doesn’t want to seamlessly move workloads across clouds, without missing out on new features or price drops?

But the reality doesn’t match up.  Here are the problems:

  • Cloud interoperability is very difficult to achieve.  From a slew of service provider APIs, and a few open source ones, to monitoring, metering and identity and access requirements – just to name a few – its clear that “lifting and shifting” workloads from one place to another is not as easy at it might seem at first glance.
  • New features from each cloud provider take time to integrate into each 3rd party management tool. These vendors need to keep pace with innovation as well.  By definition, they will always be a few steps behind the

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