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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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 the CenturyLink Public 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 Public 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
...

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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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Stay on Top of Scheduled Instances with Notifications

February 24, 2015
By

Scheduler Notification

I bet you save on deployment costs today with the Instance Scheduler. But did you know you can keep track of when they expire?

A couple of months ago, we introduced the Instance Scheduler that lets you set custom shutdown and termination policies in Cloud Application Manager when launching an instance. This type of scheduling is great to test a new deployment configuration or to spin up a test or development environment for a limited timespan.

Scheduling is an effective way to control and manage resources and costs within an organization. However, there’s still a nagging question. How to know when the instances you’re working on will shut down or terminate? As a developer or operations engineer, I’d like to be notified some time before the scheduled instances that I have access to go offline or get decommissioned. Especially if I don’t have control over them, I need to ask the instance owner for more time, or prioritize work that requires those instances.

Email Notification Service

To address this need, Cloud Application Manager added a feature to notify the instance owners or collaborators by email of scheduled instances that are going to expire soon. Each day, around 12 pm UTC (4 am PST), those...

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All the Storage You Need for Large-Scale Deployments

February 20, 2015
By

Automate Storage

Large-scale deployments are a pain when you think of the many things that can go wrong. That’s why we’re here to ease the pain with deployment automation. I want to focus this post on block storage specifically for EC2 and on how you can set it up in advance to scale automated deployments.

Amazon Web Services provides block devices called Elastic Block Storage (EBS) that range in gigabytes to terabytes in size at a pay-as-you-use cost. This type of storage gives instances far greater storage flexibility. The default volume on an EC2 instance generally assumes the lifespan of the instance, which means the data disappears once the instance does. Volumes, on the other hand, can persist in the after-life of the instance and make the data available for future use. You can take volume snapshots for backup or attach a volume to another instance, for example.

EBS Volume Types

Amazon offers three EBS types: Magnetic, General Purpose (SSD), and Provisioned IOPS (SSD).

  • The Magnetic disk is the default volume of an EC2 instance and the lowest cost option if you don’t need high read performance and are okay with sequential I/O. It’s a good option to store log files (if you don’t use message
...

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How to Deploy Pain-Free on OS X and Solaris OS Platforms

February 17, 2015
By

Solaris OSX

OS X and Solaris are two of my favorite platforms for developing native Apple and Node.js applications. Thanks to the deployment support for OS X and Solaris in Cloud Application Manager, today I can easily solve a common problem many developers like me face when coding in these environments.

Here’s the problem: How do I integrate with Jenkins to automatically build the lifecycle of the application I’m coding so I can test and integrate code into different environments smoothly?

Deploying on OS X

When I develop native applications for Apple platforms (OS X or iOS), I need an OS X platform and the XCode tools to build and test my application. On top of this, I need VM instances to run builds and unit test the code in my development branch. So a private cloud like vSphere is the best scenario to do both. It allows me to create and dispose of OS X machine instances in an agile and flexible way.

The support for OS X in Cloud Application Manager makes things easy for me. I can quickly automate the way applications deploy on an Apple platform and share that process with other developers in the organization. As a result, all our development...

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Learn How to Configure OpenStack Block Storage the Easy Way

February 6, 2015
By

OpenStack Logo

Early this week we talked about OpenStack as a popular choice to deploy both to public and private clouds because of its unified platform. We explained that Cloud Application Manager auto provisions your workloads predictably no matter where you deploy. Today, we talk about how to auto configure storage for your OpenStack deployments.

Storage for OpenStack

First of all, to configure storage in OpenStack, you need to activate Cinder or block storage. A nice thing about automating deployments through Cloud Application Manager is you don’t have to configure disk storage separately. Along with the rest of the deployment, specify the volume storage with a simple add button and let Cloud Application Manager do the brunt of the work like clockwork.

We’ll show how to add volumes when you set up your deployment in your private OpenStack cloud or publicly managed HP Cloud through the Cloud Application Manager deployment profile. There are two types of volumes you can add, an image or a hard disk volume.

Hard Volumes

Click Add in the Additional Volumes section and set the disk size for each volume. Extra volume for an instance means you can store information such as databases or logs. It means you can move data from one...

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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).

Cattle

SHERBURN, MN

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.

Pets

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 pussinboots.cern.ch
  • They are unique, lovingly hand raised and
...

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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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