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 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 quickly
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Self-Serve Ganglia Monitoring

April 8, 2015
By

Ganglia

As an operations team engineer, monitoring virtual infrastructure health is a pretty big deal. You aim to catch and resolve issues for hardware, devices, storage, memory, network, hosts, and the like in computing grids and clusters very early on. Monitoring systems like Ganglia are a must-have for such purposes. I’ll show a quick setup of Ganglia monitoring via Cloud Application Manager that you can add to any deployment and track infrastructure performance.

In Cloud Application Manager, built-in monitoring is available as a service in a self-serve catalog for your engineering and operations teams to launch to any cloud infrastructure on-demand. Cloud Application Manager supports a wide range of configuration management tools, orchestrates provisioning on popular cloud providers, and allows teams to collaborate on deployment assets. If you follow or use Cloud Application Manager, you know that complex deployments happen much faster in a few clicks versus long hours.

Ganglia is a useful monitoring service for large-scale web applications. It provides distributed monitoring at scale for clusters and grids. It’s popular because it’s easy to set up and tracks a ton of metrics. It monitors computing systems including hardware, storage, network, and software. You can port metrics for alerting and visualization by integrating...

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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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Three-in-One Benefits of LDAP Integration

March 31, 2015
By

LDAP

LDAP Groups is a new feature soon coming to Cloud Application Manager. It helps sync LDAP groups in your organization with Cloud Application Manager workspaces. A team of users in your org can now sign in with their org credentials and right away start working in a team assigned workspace in Cloud Application Manager.

Consider how useful that is for your developers, operations engineers, or IT admins to access the same deployment assets and do their part in automating with necessary access levels.

You already have LDAP single sign-on support in Cloud Application Manager today. Coupled with LDAP groups, you get advanced LDAP integration. You will be able to sync with groups of any Active Directory or OpenLDAP implementation in Cloud Application Manager. Through the Cloud Application Manager web or API interface, you can directly add LDAP groups as members of a workspace instead of searching and adding them one by one.

If using the Cloud Application Manager Enterprise Edition with administrator access, you’ll find LDAP groups in the admin console. Once you sync with LDAP groups there, any user in your Cloud Application Manager organization can edit their team workspace and search or add the LDAP groups or a specific member of...

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Why Infrastructure Matters, But Also Doesn’t

March 27, 2015
By

Secret Sauce

Infrastructure is changing. It’s nearly impossible to design a product or application without carefully planning how it’ll deploy on specific infrastructure. I should know because in running a business that automates application deployments, I deal with infrastructure every day. So here’s my take on how I view infrastructure and its evolving changes.

The notion of cloud computing and a dynamic datacenter has matured a lot in the past decade. First we moved from the monolithic IBM computers to datacenters on commodity servers. Now we’re on the journey of commoditizing and standardizing infrastructure.

Cloud Reality Check

A few years ago, when we envisioned what this journey would look like we said infrastructure is a commodity, we called the CIO defunct and said platforms-as-a-service would fully abstract infrastructure. But look at the cloud reality now.

  • Infrastructure is a differentiating game. Though most providers offer the same things like rich computing types, software-driven networking (SDN), software-driven storage (SDS), some rate better in certain areas.
  • The CIO’s role is not redundant. She leads an important DevOps cultural transformation in the enterprise.
  • Platform as a service is only one part of the IaaS journey. Infrastructure is starting to become just like code in templates and containers.

Cloud Provider Capabilities

And the capabilities keep...

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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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Go Undercover with the Cloud Application Manager Agent

March 24, 2015
By

Agent Architecture

It’s no secret that Cloud Application Manager performs deployments on your remote virtual machines using an agent. But what goes on behind the scenes? What makes the agent tick? Join me for a deep dive.

Though not visibly apparent, when you trigger deployments from the web or API, the agent is the software we install on every virtual machine you deploy from Cloud Application Manager. Its sole purpose is to handle box deployments on the VM or service. It executes event scripts and runs lifecycle operations from the web or API calls. By itself the agent does not contain any other logic. It executes whatever Cloud Application Manager tells it to do and sends back the logs of the output.

Agent Architecture

We built the agent based on three important principles of software architecture:

  • To be platform interoperable, that is, work on any OS or platform.
  • To be network interoperable, that is, communicate over any network configuration easily.
  • To cover a small footprint, that is, consume the least amount of machine resources.

Platform interoperability is pretty important. The agent works across all platforms on any OS and runtime libraries. It works cross-platform because it’s written in Python, and doesn’t require any dependencies.

Agent Enhancements

In recent times, we made...

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Semantic Versioning and Auto Updates: Your Backbone to Innovate

March 19, 2015
By

Versioning

Versioning is a critical part of software development. It gains in importance as team sizes and complexity of projects scale. Tools like Perforce, Subversion, GitHub, which attracts the most users, address this challenge. Imagine the challenge of managing version control for software automation. In the soon to come release in Cloud Application Manager, we addressed versioning challenges in a big way.

Versioning for Deployment Automation

Versioning in the context of application deployment automation is huge. For one, with a solution like Cloud Application Manager, many people in different DevOps roles across an organization need access to a given deployment configuration. As technologies evolve, so must capabilities of the applications and virtual infrastructure. To keep current environments running and stable while you improve and innovate for the future, you need to collaborate, build on top of existing configuration and at the same time preserve the old and the new.

Though features like collaboration in Cloud Application Manager help people participate in creating content, versioning is the built-in capability that helps DevOps users and organizations manage changes smoothly and track what changed, who did what. Versioning systematically controls the chaos of ever changing applications as well as the infrastructure on which they deploy.

Semantics of Versioning

In...

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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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Deployment Policies Give Access to Cloud Infrastructure Resources

March 17, 2015
By

Diagram

I’m excited to talk about new features coming soon to Cloud Application Manager. Whether you’re new or have been using Cloud Application Manager for a while to auto-provision infrastructure or speed up automatic deployments, this post will interest you.

In talking to many of our customers, we came across a common theme. While deployment profiles, which spell out all the metadata for a deployment on a particular cloud, are very useful to configure infrastructure, customers want to do more. They want to share deployment profiles and intuitively give access to a well-defined set of provider resources without giving access to the entire cloud provider.

To address these needs, we re-imagined our approach to defining and giving access to deployment metadata. Instead of thinking of them as tightly-coupled attributes of a box (a box is like a template that defines automation for an application or a micro component), we evolved deployment profiles to deployment policy boxes.

Boxes as you know them are now going to be ‘script boxes’. And deploying a script box will follow the same exact flow as deploying a box today. The only difference is at deploy time, you will select a deployment policy box instead of a deployment profile.

PHP

It’s easy...

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More Than One Way to Do Cloud Bursting

March 10, 2015
By

Cloud Bursting

Cloud Bursting is a hot topic in cloud computing today. It’s a model that gauges an organization’s ability to use internal resources to host services critical to their business, and during demand spikes consume resources from public clouds on a pay-as-you-go approach.

Cloud Bursting Use Cases

Today only a handful of businesses face real cloud bursting challenges because of their special use cases. They run the sort of applications where the burst is high due to compute-intensive processes like image processing, scientific computing, monthly calculations, and such or relate to running the development, test environments. Since the latter typically don’t involve client data, they are not subject to strict regulatory compliance, which means you can run them on any infrastructure.

Support Model

To support a strong cloud bursting model, several parts must come together:

  • Shared network between the public clouds and the datacenter.
  • Automated and repeatable deployments to launch to the required clouds regardless of platform differences.
  • Single management console to consistently support and maintain all deployment artifacts.
  • Ability to specify the amount, ratio, and priority of cloud resources the applications can consume.
  • Ability to identify the load needs of an application and configure them into the tools that manage scaling.

Most cloud providers offer the first piece today, either...

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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}.cloudportal.io to see a personalized login page with their logo. Soon, we'll make it...

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