Cloud Capacity Management - Manage Capacity in the Cloud

December 3, 2018
By Chris Meyer, Guillermo Sanchez


To begin, let's first address the elephant looking cloud in the sky. The concept of public cloud capacity management is an oxymoron of sorts. One of the selling points for customers of any cloud providers is that their usage of the platform can scale up and down, in minutes, based on demand without any usage planning, upfront costs or long-term commitment in order to facilitate a greater level of agility to their business. Need a VM; stand one up! Need to turn down a server; go right ahead. With tools such as Cloud Application Manager this is even easier than ever, by controlling the deployment or deletion of instances in any cloud seamlessly.

While this capability has solved many operational flexibility issues businesses have encountered running applications in their own data centers, it has also exposed others that were indirectly controlled with the inherent constraints that came with running their own data center such as variable costs and governance models. Thus, the traditional capacity management practice hasn't disappeared for enterprises as much as its scope and expectations have changed and thus a resurgence in the value the position provides.

Let's quickly cover what has or will change for capacity managers as enterprises moves...

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CenturyLink answers FIRST Robotics team's call for sponsorship

November 20, 2018
By Jim Greene

ECG Robotics team ECG Robotics FRC Team, Triple Strange #1533, after winning their second district event last season.

When a high school junior in North Carolina was searching for a server to host websites for a competitive robotics program, CenturyLink was happy to provide one.

We first heard from Aidan Hunt, who takes college courses through an early entry program at Guilford College, when he contacted us in late May as a representative of the school’s FIRST® Robotics club, ECG Robotics, which has about 100 members who attend schools in and around Greensboro and Guilford County. FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created to inspire K-12 students to pursue studies and careers in science and technology.

ECG Robotics has five teams that compete in two levels of “sport of the mind,” in which teams build robots to perform predetermined tasks, and have qualified for the World Championship in Houston, Texas for the past three seasons. Hunt’s team, Triple Strange, won one of eight divisions and every pre-championship event last year.

Along with the technical talent needed to build their robots, a team’s success also hinges on its ability to collect and analyze data from competitions. What FIRST...

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Certifications Recognize Our Commitment to Digital Transformation

November 6, 2018
By Jim Greene

In a business environment that has swiftly migrated to an iterative, continuously evolving model, CenturyLink strives to assist our customers through this digital transformation by providing the tools they need to communicate and thrive in a digital world.

That commitment has led us to be named both a Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Service Provider and an Amazon Web Services (AWS) MSP Partner.

These certifications highlight our ongoing commitment to building robust services and delivering digital transformation to businesses on their cloud journeys. Our commitment to hybrid cloud, our recently enhanced suite of managed services, and the expansion of their availability continue to support today’s businesses as their work and workforces relocate to hybrid cloud.

Customers see this need to digitize their communications infrastructure and services, as well as other business functions, as a means to maintaining their competitive edge. We’ve responded by investing in robust communications solutions and integrating next generation partner technologies into our network; customizing solutions for enterprise, small business and government entities; and making data-intensive applications easier to consume, more reliable and more secure.

With over 450,000 route miles of fiber globally and operations in more than 60 countries, our Adaptive Network is the infrastructure foundation that can deliver virtual and...

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Intel Discloses Three Security Vulnerabilities

October 11, 2018
By Christine Sala

As part of the August 14th disclosure by Intel, three security vulnerabilities have been named:

  • CVE-2018-3646 (L1 Terminal Fault - VMM)
  • CVE-2018-3620 (L1 Terminal Fault - OS)
  • CVE-2018-3615 (L1 Terminal Fault – SGX, SMM)

At this time, there is no indication that these vulnerabilities have impacted us or have been used to attack our customers.

Intel has posted detailed information about these vulnerabilities here.

Briefly, each of these vulnerabilities affects a different aspect of the terminal fault vulnerability.

  • CVE-2018-3646 (L1 Terminal Fault - VMM) - may allow unauthorized disclosure of information residing in the L1 data cache from a virtualized guest in Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM).
  • CenturyLink has taken the necessary steps to mitigate this vulnerability through vendor recommended patches and microcode updates. No further action is necessary.

  • CVE-2018-3620 (L1 Terminal Fault - OS) - may allow unauthorized disclosure of information residing in the L1 data cache from the Operating System (OS) or System Management Mode (SMM)
  • CenturyLink recommends that customers apply necessary security updates in a timely manner.

    For Linux users, a number of tests can be performed to validate your level of protection:

    Ubuntu OS Details and Tests

    RedHat Details and Tests, including Ansible playbooks to ease testing

    Linux Kernel Details and tests

    Microsoft also provides details on testing and...

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    Innovations in Cloud Storage Close the Book on Hyperscale

    October 2, 2018
    By Jim Greene

    Innovations in Cloud Storage

    Providing our customers with the most reliable services on the most competitive technologies requires continuously evaluating and updating our product catalog. Over the past year, we’ve worked diligently to improve CenturyLink Cloud’s standard compute service so we can fulfill more of our customers’ cloud hosting needs, and stay at par with the best of the best in the competitive cloud landscape.

    Over the past year, we’ve standardized our storage infrastructure on all-flash platforms so customers can host distributed workloads on a common compute product and maximize performance. Based on the positive feedback we received about these improvements, we realized that customers no longer needed Hyperscale, our specialized all-flash storage cloud compute service.

    When we launched Hyperscale in 2014, it was a new approach to enterprise storage. For businesses that needed to store and process massive amounts of data — in industries like banking, oil/gas, and healthcare — Hyperscale was an exciting opportunity to adopt more effective and nimble data collection strategies.

    While a corporate data center might support hundreds of physical servers and thousands of virtual machines, Hyperscale could support thousands of physical servers and millions of virtual machines to quickly accommodate increased demands for internet-facing and back-end computing resources. It was a...

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    AWS MSP Partner Status Solidifies Confidence in CenturyLink Cloud

    September 18, 2018
    By Jim Greene

    After recently achieving Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Service Provider status, CenturyLink was also named an Amazon Web Services (AWS) MSP Partner. This partnership puts us among a select group of vendors that customers know and can engage with when consuming AWS services.

    “We’re elated to receive this significant AWS distinction and confident it will help us continue serving a range of AWS use cases for our customers," said David Shacochis, vice president of product management. “This is a global certification that carries a significant cache in the market and with our joint customers.”

    To earn this designation, CenturyLink met rigorous AWS Managed Service Provider Program requirements that were validated by a third-party auditor. The global program was developed in response to AWS customer requests to identify reliable vendors who could help them migrate, run and optimize AWS workloads.

    By working with AWS, CenturyLink can provide a complete cloud services and cloud management portfolio that allows customers to have low-latency access to virtually endless AWS resources paired with dynamic, network-aware orchestration. The CenturyLink-AWS partnership validates our approach to cloud, especially with regard to Cloud Application Manager. Our hybrid cloud management platform allows companies to automate application deployments, optimize costs, scale workloads, and manage connections...

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    CenturyLink Achieves Microsoft Azure Expert MSP Status

    August 31, 2018
    By Lyza Latham

    Microsoft Azure Expert MSP

    We are pleased to announce that CenturyLink has achieved the Microsoft Azure Expert MSP status. This status recognizes CenturyLink’s experience and reliability in all aspects of hybrid cloud infrastructure to support our customers' Digital Transformations.

    Assessment Factors

    Microsoft assessed a wide range of factors including:

    • Technical approach
    • Planning and design, transformation and migration services
    • Cloud operations and service management
    • Documentation and processes
    • Security and governance
    • SLAs, customer satisfaction, cost optimization and reporting

    The Azure certification recognizes CenturyLink's investment in resources, training and technology to support clients and follow through on expected outcomes of our customers and partners.

    CenturyLink Managed Services

    CenturyLink offers a variety of managed Hybrid IT and Cloud Services, including Big Data as a Service, Managed Disaster Recovery Services, and Cloud Application Manager Managed Services Anywhere.

    Cloud Application Manager

    Cloud Application Manager is a powerful, scalable platform for deploying applications into production across any cloud infrastructure – private, public or hosted. It provides interactive visualization to automate application provisioning, including configuration, deployment, scaling, updating and migration of applications in real-time. With Cloud Application Manager, CenturyLink offers two support models — Managed Services Anywhere or Platform Advisory Support. These two approaches offer flexibility in engagement and level of expertise so businesses can choose whichever best fits their needs.


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    5 Fundamental Ways Cloud Application Manager Can Impact Your Bottom Line

    August 14, 2018
    By Lyza Latham

    Winning at Tennis and Business

    Watching Wimbledon 2018 last month was thrilling. Seeing the tennis world's best players give it their all, and push one another to the limits of human strength, agility and endurance is always captivating. Watching Novak Djokovic outlast Rafael Nadal to win after five sets over two nights was my personal highlight. One can merely imagine the countless hours of practice and drilling it took to achieve that level of mastery.

    In business, the win isn’t always so crystal clear. From the executive suite, the demand on application teams and DevOps is to deliver faster, with higher quality. That’s the win. To achieve that win, the prevailing approach is to drill, practice and master the fundamentals of agile delivery.

    At the heart of agile delivery, DevOps’ promise is “speed to value” for organizations. There’s a lot of discussion swirling about how to measure the ROI. In speaking with enterprise prospects and customers, it’s clear that while it would be awesome to have a sophisticated model to measure the ROI of DevOps tools and resources, most teams are seeking foundational progress.

    1. “Our deployment process is chaotic and not repeatable.”

    We see handcrafted deployment processes in many businesses. Using Cloud Application Manager, teams can automate application...

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    Two Choices for Meeting Your Organization’s Support Requirements

    August 14, 2018
    By Jim Greene

    Make the Right Choice

    Companies operating in a Hybrid IT environment need to manage both internal and customer-facing applications so they can reduce downtime, save money, increase productivity, and deliver new solutions to market. And most organizations recognize their need to align themselves with partners and consultants to provide expertise and guidance to properly fulfill their digital requirements.

    With Cloud Application Manager, CenturyLink offers two support models — Managed Services Anywhere or Platform Advisory Support. These two approaches offer flexibility in engagement and level of expertise so businesses can choose the one that best fits their needs. The question is: Which one is right for your organization?

    Platform Advisory Support is an enterprise-grade baseline support package for businesses that need less hands-on expertise. A designated Technical Account Manager is available to provide recommendations around best practices and platform triage, and CenturyLink leads and owns support responsibilities for all services utilized within the platform. That includes lead support responsibility for Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services whether you buy your own cloud, start from scratch, or build upon legacy assets.

    Managed Services Anywhere orchestrates the delivery of infrastructure, applications and services across multiple cloud environments. Offering all the benefits of Platform Advisory Support, this is fully-managed service that...

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    Managing a Cloud Migration

    August 1, 2018
    By Jim Greene


    Managing a Cloud Migration with CenturyLink

    Migration to the cloud doesn't have to be complicated. At CenturyLink®, we understand the importance of easing the complexity involved with migrating platforms.

    Helping customers migrate from their legacy platform to CenturyLink Cloud is designed to facilitate a smooth, effortless, and cost-effective transition between service platforms using the best delivery methods.

    Cloud Application Manager facilitates customer IT transformation by using a best-practices approach to orchestrate the delivery of infrastructure, applications and services across multiple clouds. Its key component is Managed Services Anywhere, which includes monitoring, patching and remote administration via automation and may be deployed on any cloud environment. With access to CenturyLink's 365x24x7 Global Operations Support Center, you’ll also spend less time on IT management while our experienced and accountable Managed Services teams manage tasks, minimize failures and downtime, and help you save on operational costs.

    The following guide can help you through the important steps and criteria for a successful migration to the cloud.

    Assess your existing situation

    It's important to take stock of existing infrastructure, licensing, staffing, and hardware capabilities and limitations. When it comes to migration, this step goes beyond assessing the state of the physical equipment – it means getting a holistic perspective of your...

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    Predictive Monitoring, Anomaly Detection with Metric Forecasting

    July 31, 2018
    By Jim Greene

    Predictive monitoring has a range of business applications, from uncovering fraud in credit card transactions to detecting intrusions in a computer network.

    With deeper context for fluctuating metrics through predictive monitoring, anomaly detection, and forecasting, identifying aberrant behavior in network traffic patterns can help an IT Security team ward off attempted attacks. Algorithms modeled to forecast expected behavior can give your team the ability to both visualize expected trends and specify when they want to receive alerts about potential issues.

    CenturyLink’s Cloud Application Manager takes a best-practice approach to automation that weeds out a greater number of false positives than standard systems. This is where other options that rely on threshold-based alerts for cloud monitoring — especially when alerts occur and there’s really nothing wrong — leave much to be desired.

    Infrastructure supporting workloads is supposed to work hard, so threshold-based alerting can define maximum efficiency as a problem. Signals that cross a threshold may not represent an actual problem, while changes that may be problematic may not actually cross the threshold. Likewise, signals that cross a threshold close to an outage scenario may not leave enough time to react to a problem, while adjusting thresholds closer to the norm of the signal...

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    What to Look for in a Cloud Management Platform

    June 28, 2018
    By Jim Greene

    Choosing a cloud management platform begins with knowing the business needs it is designed to address. Features can vary by vendor, and needs will vary from one organization to the next.

    With the growth and ease-of-access of the cloud, many businesses already consume resources at a fast-paced rate. Having visibility into what is being consumed, as well as how much and by whom, is a critical part of an investment decision-making strategy. Cloud management refers to administrative control over public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud deployments as way to centralize control of various cloud-based infrastructures. So, a cloud management platform is a suite of integrated software tools that a business can use to monitor and control cloud computing resources. Some target niche industries or vertical markets, while others offer a broad toolset. Some are delivered as on-premises applications, while others come as software as a service.

    The success, predictability and stability of a hybrid IT environment is directly related to the implementation of policies and oversight that frees up business units to consume services on-demand. This includes ensuring that permissions are allocated appropriately and cloud-consumption services have safeguards to ensure that costs are kept in check.

    A fully managed service provider experience enables business...

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