Private Cloud: Tradeoffs and Transformation

August 15, 2014
By Jared Ruckle, Senior Product Manager. Find Jared on Twitter

A few weeks ago, we announced CenturyLink Private Cloud – a new approach to the private cloud segment that offers breakthrough simplicity for large enterprises.  CenturyLink Private Cloud is designed for those looking to deploy a transformational private cloud, instead of eking out incremental gains.

Entering a new market segment is a significant undertaking for any product organization.  Every solution requires a series of trade-offs —just ask any product manager - and development of the CenturyLink Private Cloud is no exception.  So what were the trade-offs that we made, and how do they compare to other private cloud alternatives?  For a little insight into how we evaluated the private cloud market landscape and our decision making process, read on.

Homegrown solutions

Successful private cloud deployments – though more common these days – remain elusive. The brave souls that pursue a “do-it-yourself” approach often discover that:

  • Building a cloud is hard (especially the self-service and automation)
  • Running a cloud to 99.99% SLAs is hard
  • Just because you call it cloud doesn’t mean it is one
  • Users do not automatically gravitate to what you build
  • Lots of time and money are wasted when these lessons are learned the hard way. Forrester Research posted this great analysis of DIY private clouds:
...

Read on...

Recognizing the Challenges of Hybrid Cloud – Part IV

August 9, 2014
By Richard Seroter, Director of Product Management. Find Richard on Twitter

Hybrid cloud is becoming a standard operating model for many organizations. But how can you realize the expected agility when there are so many challenges ahead of you? In this series of articles, we’ve dissected each challenge and proposed some corresponding solutions. Whether you’re facing security and network concerns, or integration and system management issues, it’s critical to have a proactive plan in place. This final article rounds out the discussion by looking at ways to address the issues around portability, compatibility, and your existing toolset.

Solutions to Hybrid Cloud Challenges

In many cases, a hybrid cloud is the combination of complimentary – but not identical – computing environments. This means that processes, techniques, and tools that work in one place may not work in another.

Compatibility. Gluing together two distinct environments does not come without challenges. Now, it’s possible that you have the same technology stack in both the public and private cloud environment, but the users, technology, and processes may be dissimilar!

  *Move above the hypervisor. Even if your public cloud provider supports the import and export of virtual machines in a standard format, no legitimate public cloud exposes hypervisor configurations to the user. If you want...

Read on...

Recognizing the Challenges of Hybrid Cloud – Part III

August 8, 2014
By Richard Seroter, Director of Product Management. Find Richard on Twitter

As hybrid cloud adoption grows, proper architecture and design of these solutions becomes critical. In the first part of this article series, we discussed the challenges any organization faces when linking public and private cloud environments. The second article outlined strategies for mitigating the network and security challenges of hybrid cloud. In this third of four articles, we will assess success strategies for application integration and system management in hybrid clouds.

Solutions to Hybrid Cloud Challenges

Data and Application Integration. Nearly every useful system is made up of data and business logic from multiple applications. Siloed, monolithic systems are fading in popularity as more dynamic systems take their place. But as you look to work with data and applications in a hybrid cloud, you need to keep a few things in mind.

  *Recognize the presence of data gravity. The concept of data gravity—a principle identified by Dave McCrory that claims that applications and services are drawn closer to large collections of data—comes to play in a hybrid cloud. Do you find yourself shuttling data back and forth over long distances? Would it make sense to move some of your large data repositories to whichever cloud most of the consuming applications...

Read on...

Recognizing the Challenges of Hybrid Cloud – Part II

August 4, 2014
By Richard Seroter, Director of Product Management. Find Richard on Twitter

Many organizations are adopting hybrid clouds – a bridge of public and private cloud environments – but there are many pitfalls along the way. In the first part of this article series, we looked at the challenges that any organization faces in their hybrid cloud journey. Now it’s time to see how to overcome these challenges. In this second of four articles, we will revisit the first set of hybrid cloud challenges and discuss strategies for success.

Solutions to Hybrid Cloud Challenges

Lasting success with a hybrid cloud requires strategic planning, investment, and yes, some compromise. By definition, you are using services that are outside of your control. Hence, existing processes and technologies may need to be revisited if you want meaningful integration and the flood of efficiencies that follow.

Keep in mind that every part of your organization cannot accommodate the same level of change associated with a hyper-efficient hybrid cloud. Lydia Leong of Gartner points out that organizations with “bimodal IT” – where pockets of traditional IT and agile IT co-exist – are most successful when they do NOT have a universal set of processes, tools, and skills. If your IT organization is bimodal, consider which parts of the organization...

Read on...

Configure Virtual Machines Faster with Cloud Application Manager Admin Boxes

July 30, 2014
By Originally appeared on Cloud Application Manager blog

Have you ever asked a colleague for a favor, like provisioning or configuring a virtual machine, only to get the response: “Have you submitted a ticket for that?” It is no secret that in the world of development and IT operations, the traditional protocol for getting things done is through submitting tickets.

In many cases, especially at large enterprises, developers often wait weeks or months even, for the IT department to provision and configure virtual machines or instances. Cloud Application Manager has a goal of making that experience disappear forever! Cloud Application Manager has developed a solution that can help enterprises reduce the amount of repetitive and manual processes involved in provisioning a virtual machine.

It is easy to blame the IT department for the lag, but the truth is, they have the very serious responsibility of allocating resources and then properly configuring, hundreds or even thousands of virtual machines. What causes a delay in provisioning and configuring a virtual machine that developers can use?

One is configuring the machine to comply with the company’s standards and policies. Another is the manual steps that have to be executed on that machine for it to be prepared for use. For instance, IT admins will...

Read on...

AWS Auto Scaling and Load Balancing Made Easy

July 28, 2014
By Originally appeared on Cloud Application Manager blog

AWS Load Balancing

Take advantage of automatically scaling and load balancing instances when you deploy applications using Cloud Application Manager in AWS EC2 or VPCs. Load balancing evenly distributes load to application instances in all availability zones in a region while auto scaling makes sure instances scale up or down depending on the load.

Why Load Balance and Auto Scale at the Same Time?

Paired together, auto scaling and load balancing provide useful benefits. Say you want to smoothly handle traffic surges to your website. When load increases, you want the website infrastructure to have enough capacity to serve the traffic. During bouts of low activity, naturally you want to reduce capacity.

With load balancing alone, you’ll have to know ahead of time how much capacity you need so you can keep additional instances running and registered with the load balancer to serve higher loads. Or you could manually stop worrying about it and auto scale based on say CPU usage so that instances increase or decrease dynamically based on the load. Now this should give you a good idea of why it makes sense to have both.

AWS Auto Scaling

How to Easily Set Them Up in Cloud Application Manager?

If you were to set this up directly in AWS,...

Read on...

Explaining the Managed Cloud with Three Key Equations

July 26, 2014
By David Shacochis, VP Cloud Platform. Find David On Twitter

Having been in the cloud infrastructure business since it came into existence, I’ve seen a number of different market forces shape and disrupt the industry.  The business side of my brain tends to focus on everything that’s changing.  But the engineering side of my brain tends to look for sustained constants in all the volatility. Sounds like a big data problem! Our data science team has crunched the numbers, and here are the key equations that help shape the managed cloud.

Ownership != Control

IT leaders often mistake having a tight grip on asset ownership with a tight grip on the steering wheel. With good but slightly misguided intentions, they want to own everything they use. This can lead to over-expenditure on common, undifferentiated hardware as well as under-utilized, over-engineered software products.  The own-it-all approach also builds a strong correlation between new IT projects and business growth initiatives, a situation that leaves IT permanently behind in delivering value to the business.

The critical challenge for any IT department is to provide an agility platform that addresses the digital needs of the business under competitive pressure.  The goal is to have true command and control over all IT resources, even if you don’t actually...

Read on...

CenturyLink Makes Massive Private Cloud Massively Easy - Deploy in Over 55 Locations in 7 Countries

July 20, 2014
By Jared Ruckle, Product Management

Public cloud is an important part of enterprise IT.  Why?  Self-service.  APIs.  Automation.  Access to new features regularly.  Global reach. Outsourcing of infrastructure management.  OpEx consumption.

But it’s not the be-all, end-all.

Enterprise apps will always require a range of infrastructure options – Hybrid IT – including bare metal, traditional hosting…and private cloud.

The private cloud market is relatively immature (more on this in a forthcoming blog post).  The more we looked at this segment, the more we saw an opportunity to offer customers a unique value proposition.

“You got chocolate in my peanut butter…”

With CenturyLink Private Cloud, we’ve combined our approach to public cloud with the most important elements of a private cloud.

Public cloud-style agility, scale, and automation – running on dedicated hardware with physical isolation.  Available in over 55 data centers worldwide.  That’s CenturyLink Private Cloud.

We spare customers from the drudgery of infrastructure management, while offering more control over what truly matters: everything that happens from the platform up.

For example, administrators dictate who has access to the pod and what they can do on it – while wielding complete authority to govern how the node is used day-to-day.  If an instance in the public cloud is an apartment in a large building,...

Read on...

Recognizing the Challenges of Hybrid Cloud – Part I

July 18, 2014
By Richard Seroter, Director of Product at CenturyLink Cloud

CIOs are adopting the hybrid cloud paradigm in droves, as we recently pointed out in a Forbes.com contributing article. As public cloud adoption continues to surge, organizations are turning their attention to connecting public compute resources to infrastructure residing in on-premises data centers. Can you just set up a VPN between the sites and call it a day? Hardly. Establishing a meaningful hybrid cloud requires considerate planning across many dimensions. How will you secure it? What does it mean to maintain services across organizational boundaries? Are workloads portable between environments? In this first of four blog articles, we’ll look at some of the biggest challenges that you’ll face as you set up a hybrid cloud environment.

What Challenges Will You Face?

Any vendor or consultant who promises a “seamless and straightforward” hybrid cloud is not being realistic. There are technical, cultural, and logistical challenges that await you. Let’s discuss a few that you should prepare for.

Security. This is usually the first item in any list regarding cloud computing, so why not this one too? As you plan out or mature your hybrid cloud, issues like compliance, identity management, and data protection will be front and center. Can you ensure data sovereignty...

Read on...

Adding Google Compute Engine Provider In Cloud Application Manager

July 18, 2014
By Originally appeared on Cloud Application Manager blog

Nowadays, a majority of cloud service providers offer an API that allows users to interact with their infrastructure for the creation or deletion of resources, volumes, and images, to name a few. To use these APIs, users have to first authenticate using mechanisms based on key-password pairs.

However these mechanisms are quite cumbersome as users often have to search for their credentials on cloud provider websites or in their file systems. Besides, these key-password pairs are in the format of long and difficult chains of alphanumeric characters, which make them impossible or pretty difficult to remember. Even though the use of these key pairs is justified by security reasons, it clearly affects a user’s experience when having to access these APIs. In Cloud Application Manager, as well as in many other cloud platforms, users have to specify their credentials, in order to interact with cloud vendors such as AWS, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Microsoft Azure, VMware, Openstack or Cloudstack among others.

Our philosophy at Cloud Application Manager is to alleviate and minimize all tedious management operations which affect a user’s experience, as long as they don’t present security issues. In the following, we will focus on Google Compute Engine’s API which supports...

Read on...

Deploying Docker Containers on CenturyLink Cloud

July 13, 2014
By Bryan Friedman, Senior Product Manager. Find Bryan on Twitter

If you’ve been reading cloud-related news lately or you follow any developers or system admins on Twitter, then you’ve undoubtedly seen the words “container”, “Docker”, and “CoreOS” written a few thousand times over the past year or so. Chatter has particularly picked up in the last few months with Docker 1.0 being released in June and CoreOS announcing their first stable release within the past few weeks. CoreOS also received an 8 million dollar investment just a couple of months ago, and Docker just got another $40 million in funding a few days ago. And just yesterday, CenturyLink joined the container party and announced the release of the open-source Docker management platform, Panamax. Developed by the recognized thought-leaders at CenturyLink Labs, Panamax was described by RedMonk principal analyst James Governor as “Docker management for humans. It dramatically simplifies multi-container app deployment.”

This is bleeding edge technology we’re talking about here, so if you haven’t heard about any of it yet, there’s no time like the present. Docker is one of the fastest-growing open-source projects ever, with more than 550 contributors and 7 million downloads in just over a year since its release. The power of Docker lies in its ability to...

Read on...

Securely Connect to Your AWS Cloud Resources

July 10, 2014
By Originally appeared on Cloud Application Manager blog

When using Cloud Application Manager, you bring your own cloud. To deliver the absolute best experience of deploying applications on any cloud, we are working very closely with all the cloud providers that we support – Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack, CloudStack, and VMware. One of the topics that often comes up is security. Today, we’re adding enhanced security for our AWS support.

Our friends at Amazon have built comprehensive Identity and Access Management (AWS IAM) features, which enable enterprises to grant and control secure access to specific AWS resources. For instance, with AWS IAM, cloud administrators can set up password policies for the user groups, delegate user and application rights with roles instead of sharing credentials and even enable multi-factor authentication for more privileged users. AWS IAM helps cloud administrators to narrow down the user rights and grant the least needed privileges for the users and applications.

At Cloud Application Manager we are putting a lot of emphasis on security and hence we are proud to take advantage of the AWS IAM features. It is essential for us that we always comply with the industry standards and best practices of security and risk management. Starting July 11th,...

Read on...


Connect

    Follow us on


Start Your Free Trial

High performance, fast deployment times and intuitive management capabilities that will push your business forward

*We will send a SMS message to verify your account, standard rates apply.