Rackspace or HP Cloud? Host on Your Favorite OpenStack Flavor

February 3, 2015
By

Pick Your Flavor

Today, Rackspace and HP Cloud are popular public clouds based on OpenStack. To run your workloads on OpenStack, find out if Cloud Application Manager is the right DevOps platform.

OpenStack is an open source infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud platform. While providers in the ecosystem like Rackspace and HP Cloud built public clouds, some organizations build their private clouds using OpenStack. All these cloud implementations share the same common OpenStack platform. That’s why those organizations find it easy to manage their deployment workloads in any OpenStack model, be it private, public, or hybrid.

Auto-Provision and Orchestrate

By all means, you can implement a private cloud using OpenStack, or go the managed hosting route with Rackspace or HP Cloud. In either case, you expend a lot of valuable time and resources to manually provision servers and set up machines to handle workloads. On top of infrastructure costs, you incur a lot of IT setup overhead.

Wouldn’t you prefer to offload this work and speed up your deployments, automate all the remote provisioning and orchestrating? As you’ll see below, a few steps is all it takes in Cloud Application Manager to auto-provision and orchestrate application workloads remotely.

Deploy to Rackspace or HP Cloud in 4 Easy

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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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SoftLayer in Cloud Application Manager: Deployments Made Easy

January 22, 2015
By

SoftLayer Logo

Isn’t freedom a beautiful thing? Think zero lock-in with IaaS and PaaS cloud vendors and cross-cloud workload compatibility. Well, that’s the kind of freedom you experience when you host on the IBM SoftLayer public cloud through Cloud Application Manager.

Cloud Application Manager supports SoftLayer like many popular clouds. Besides SoftLayer, we automate applications and manage their lifecycle on clouds including AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, VMware vCenter, OpenStack, CloudStack, Rackspace, and HP Cloud.

Developers Focus on Applications

As a developer, you shouldn’t have to care about machine resources or infrastructure provisioning. You care about what matters most like getting your development environment set up fast. You care about deploying and testing complex application stacks quickly. You care about running Jenkins builds to deploy reliably and rapidly in staging and production.

IT Operations Focus on Infrastructure

On the infrastructure side, as IT operations you care about how much resources developer teams consume, how to provision specific services, what ready-to-consume services to provide on top of OS platforms.

Whether you automate through a user interface or do it through API calls, in Cloud Application Manager you provision infrastructure resources through settings that are common to all cloud providers.

Deploying to SoftLayer

SoftLayer deployments are no exceptions. When launching workloads, developers pick...

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Turn IT into a Service Catalog

January 16, 2015
By

Service Catalog

Unless you live under a rock in the world of cloud computing, you’re probably aware of a growing generational gap between public clouds and enterprise IT.

Public Clouds Versus Enterprise IT

Consider the size of budgets public cloud companies invest in R&D. The budgets are astronomically huge when you compare to the budget of a typical enterprise IT. This economy of scale is only going to widen with time. Most enterprises will be unable to match the scale or technical expertise of public clouds in their private datacenters.

This gap forces innovative developers in enterprises to play mavericks. They bypass traditional IT departments and operate outside enterprise control to look for the next-generation services and infrastructure. To avoid this gap, IT should focus not on provisioning infrastructure. But provide infrastructure and application components as a service to empower developers.

IT Service Catalog

Service catalogs are the wave of the future for IT teams. It sets them up to serve as true internal service providers to their customers who are mainly developers, QA, and the like.

A service catalog provides components to build your app. It is a collection of services that organize the available technology resources within an organization. Just as how you combine Legos to...

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3 Steps to Launch a RabbitMQ Docker Container

January 12, 2015
By

RabbitMQ and Docker

Do you want to deploy RabbitMQ as micro services in multiple virtual machines? Do you want the freedom to launch a RabbitMQ Docker container in any cloud, any infrastructure? Then my friend, you’re in the right place. Read on to find out how.

In Cloud Application Manager, you can deploy a RabbitMQ Docker container out of a box.

RabbitMQ, as you may already know, is an open source message queuing system based on the AMQP standard. RabbitMQ allows application components and services to talk to each other over a variety of protocols. You may also be aware that you can configure RabbitMQ as a cluster or as a federation to queue and route messages.

In this post, I’m going to show you how I define and deploy a RabbitMQ Docker container using Cloud Application Manager.

Defining a RabbitMQ Docker Container

  • On the Boxes page in Cloud Application Manager, I select a pre-defined Docker RabbitMQ box. To get this box, contact me.

    Select RabbitMQ Docker Box

  • In the Docker box, I edit the Dockerfile to customize it. To deploy the RabbitMQ container, in the Dockerfile, I configure the upstart command to not start RabbitMQ after installing. I add instructions to install RabbitMQ, and define an endpoint to start the RabbitMQ server.

  • ...

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    Bird’s Eye View of IT as a Service

    January 7, 2015
    By

    ITaaS Diagram

    In working closely with large enterprises for several years, we consistently hear businesses talk of IT needs to achieve critical and strategic goals. Commonly these large enterprises span many verticals like technology, online media, finance, banking, and more.

    At the heart of their business goals, lie technology hurdles they need to overcome to scale as enterprises of the next decade.

    Visualizing IT as a Service

    So we captured in this mind map high-level business goals that require a broad set of IT services ranging from infrastructure, applications, management, integration, service provider, and architecture.

    ITaaS Thumb

    If you look to the left, you see needs centered around applications. These detail all the services required to provision, deploy, and manage applications including application architecture models to design automated deployments and serve all the right infrastructure resources.

    On the right, you see needs that revolve around compliance, reporting, and integrating with various service providers to supply virtual infrastructure and a slew of related services to keep the infrastructure running smoothly and reliably.

    We find that this visual captures the entire IT-as-a-service industry as a whole and this exercise helps to understand where the customers’ needs are and where in that spectrum we assist them.

    See if you can pinpoint the areas where...

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    Create your ElasticSearch Cluster in Four Steps

    December 12, 2014
    By

    ElasticSearch

    In this blog post, we show how to install an ElasticSearch Cluster on any cloud in four easy steps. If you’re new to ElasticSearch, it is a powerful open source search and analytics engine that makes it easy to explore, query, and manipulate big data. It’s built on top of Apache Lucene, a Java search engine library. To process large amounts of data, it helps to configure ElasticSearch as a cluster on which different ElasticSearch nodes process data in parallel.

    To install an ElasticSearch cluster on a Linux distribution using Cloud Application Manager, you just need our ElasticSearch box where you can adjust configuration parameters to suit your scenario.

    Get to Know Some ElasticSearch Cluster Concepts

    First, let’s go over some of the concepts in our cluster configuration:

    • Shard is the Lucene instance that stores each document (data) also known as primary shards.
    • Number of replicas are the number of shards with a copy of the primary shard.
    • Data nodes are those on which ElasticSearch distributes primary and replica shards.
    • Master node is the one in charge of managing cluster operations. Although not recommended, you can configure a master node to act as a data node.

    Deploy an ElasticSearch Cluster in Cloud Application Manager

  • Click New Instance and select

  • ...

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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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    DataGardens joins CenturyLink, adding proven disaster recovery offering to cloud portfolio

    December 8, 2014
    By

    A comprehensive disaster recovery architecture requires careful planning and robust technology. To make this easier for CenturyLink customers, we’re excited to announce the acquisition of DataGardens Inc., a Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) provider based in Edmonton, Alberta. This is big news for our customers because it gives them a cost-effective and innovative way to mirror physical or virtual machine data to a highly available cloud environment. The acquisition announced today brings a proven disaster recovery offering into the CenturyLink Cloud portfolio and lets us more fully integrate this innovative toolset into our product suite.

    Listen to any CIO and you’ll hear that business continuity is a critical component of a healthy IT portfolio. However, only 23 percent of technology professionals think that they can get their IT systems back up and running after disaster. This might explain why Forrester is seeing a growing number of enterprises turn to cloud and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS).

    CenturyLink and DataGardens have a longstanding partnering relationship and formed a closer cloud relationship earlier this year. DataGardens’ flagship software suite, SafeHaven, provides cloud-based disaster recovery by creating an offsite virtual data center in locations such as CenturyLink Cloud. Customers can define recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives, and...

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    This Cloud has a Silver Lining

    December 3, 2014
    By Jeff Katzen

    As a cloud architect, trying to explain to my family and friends what I do is sometimes amusing and often times a frustrating experience. Cloud is a term that is greatly overused and because of that everyone has a definition. For me, cloud is all about automation.

    For end users who have had to endure extremely long procurement and delivery cycles for IT services, automation can be an intoxicating thing. Automation equals possibility… It is a powerful capability, and when used appropriately, can drive your business forward. It is all about speed, and wrapped in the economics of a public cloud model, enables businesses to try new ideas, launch new applications or expand into new geographies in a low risk way.

    However, without an appropriate level of financial governance, automation can bring on storm clouds. It is not uncommon that I speak with organizations that have embraced public cloud only to have to change their course a short while later because they spent far more than originally anticipated. Pricing model transparency, or lack thereof, by a Cloud Service Provider is certainly a cause of these types of challenges. The real challenge is lack of financial governance or visibility into spend.

    But don’t...

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    Control Resources and Costs with Instance Scheduler

    December 2, 2014
    By

    Instance Scheduler

    In infrastructure-centric organizations, the IT operations team centrally manages infrastructure needs to efficiently utilize resources and streamline costs. To that end, IT defines policies and plans resources based on expected workload, budget, and general business requirements. Developers depend on IT for new machines to deploy applications and services, and again to dispose of or recycle them after use. From a developer’s point of view, this dependency slows down their development cycle.

    But what happens when IT is delivered and consumed as a service, and when developers can deploy their applications on the organization’s infrastructure at will, at the click of a button?

    IT as a Service with Cloud Application Manager

    In application-centric organizations, IT operations remove as much friction as possible. Infrastructure is provisioned from the top down, based on the resources needed to serve the application.

    IT as a Service empowers both the IT and the development teams. Empowers IT because they no longer focus on low-level constraints around infrastructure, but on high-value activities around applications. Empowers developers because they can shape their ideas into reality in production faster, focus 100% on writing code rather than tinker with the underlying infrastructure.

    Developers now have access to infrastructure on demand and consume resources without process...

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    Cloud Strategy Checkup

    November 26, 2014
    By Jared Ruckle, Senior Product Manager. Find Jared on Twitter

    Our usual posts here focus on practical, hands-on advice for getting the most out of CenturyLink Cloud and the new capabilities we continuously rollout.

    But sometimes, it’s helpful to step back and look at the big picture – particularly if your enterprise is managing scores of cloud apps from dozens of vendors.

    Many customers we speak with are feeling the pain of this situation.  It’s not quite “Shadow IT,” because IT knows what’s happening.  But it’s the pain that comes with a lack of focus or cohesion around a much smaller set of strategic vendors.

    Does this sound like your situation?  If so, have a look at our top six recommendations for advancing your Cloud strategy. The content is foundational, and may be messages you’ve heard before.  But it’s a great refresher as your business seeks to further the competitive advantage gained through cloud adoption.

    ...

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