The Path to the Platform: Build or Buy?

March 21, 2016
By Jared Ruckle, Product Owner

Lego Docker

Developers love Docker. It’s simple, fast, and lightweight. There’s even an open-source community behind this tech that’s growing at an exponential rate. And there’s a decent chance that your organization is already using Docker; 70% of enterprises are using containers.

Further, Docker usage is serious business, notes Donnie Berkholz, Research Director at 451 Research (slide 13 of the deck):

Not Just a Toy

Build or Buy

For organizations considering the next step in their evolution toward cloud-native development, a new choice emerges: Build on my current container usage today and advance it into a Platform with internal resources, or look outside my organization to buy these capabilities?

These two options are summarized nicely by Sam Ramji, CEO of the Cloud Foundry Foundation. Cloud Foundry is represented as the Platform option on the left. The Do It Yourself option on the right features the Kubernetes/Mesos approach to Docker.

Build or Buy

Each option offers a thoughtful ways to embrace the 4 principles that will shape the future of IT. Both choices:

  • Are based on open-source.
  • Embrace the elastic, cheap compute of the public cloud (and private cloud where required).
  • Offer significant abstraction, keeping IT out of the guts of the stack. Some assembly is required to get to this point for the "Do It Yourself" path,
...

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FlexSecure: Strong Authentication Made Easy

March 16, 2016
By Sid Prasanna

FlexSecure LogoPeriodically, 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 Sid Prasanna, CEO of FlexSecure Inc.(www.flexsecure.co).

As cyber attacks and data breaches continue to make headlines, Security-as-a-Service offerings are becoming more valuable by the day. In the IT world, there is now a fundamental understanding that any business with an on-line presence needs to think about data security for both their business and their customers. FlexSecure has joined with the CenturyLink Cloud Marketplace to make the process of providing robust, solid, and capable authentication easy and painless for any customer, regardless of their technical abilities.

Solution Overview

The FlexSecure platform enables organizations of all sizes to choose and combine user authentication solutions based on the individual needs of their company. Companies and developers can add pin and passwordless security to their existing authentication mechanisms. Users can also change authentication methods in near real-time through an easy-to-use interface.

FlexSecure Diagram

Layered Security

Some of FlexSecure's primary advantages are:

Custom user and device authentication: The authentication standards can be "turned up or down" to suit the needs of the users. For...

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Ecosystem: Easy Solutions to Cloud Complexity

March 15, 2016
By Jeff Meacham

Cloud Complexity

CenturyLink Cloud has an impressive track record over the past few years of delivering new features and functionality to its platform. To wit: Frost & Sullivan recently recognized CenturyLink as its Company of the Year for the North American Cloud Industry. The report details how CenturyLink is meeting the needs of the next generation of technical and line-of-business cloud users. CenturyLink Award

One aspect of CenturyLink Cloud’s approach worth highlighting is the simplicity of deploying add-on tech to complete a complex, hybrid cloud solution.

CenturyLink Ecosystem

CenturyLink introduced its Partner Ecosystem in early 2015. Since then, partners have introduced over 200 solutions that solve specific business needs.

What’s more, these solutions can be deployed instantly by using CenturyLink’s built-in orchestration framework called Blueprints. Blueprints are pre-packaged workflows that can be defined and re-played at any time on the platform. Custom configuration settings are entered in minutes during deployment. Blueprint Framework

How can this Ecosystem work for you? Let’s start with Disaster Recovery (DR), a common workload for enterprises just beginning their cloud journey. Public cloud is great for DR for three key reasons:

  • No CapEx: No new capital outlays are required in the form of new hardware or a build-out of a secondary data center.
  • Easy to Get Started: Point-and-click to
...

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Your Gateway to the Cloud - St. Louis Development Center Opens

March 11, 2016
By Brandy Smith

century link

How does a major telecom company become a leader in Cloud and Managed Services? It's the ability to adapt and change! In some companies it is common to find a corporate culture that is not only resistant to change, but discourages it -- not so with CenturyLink. The CenturyLink of today looks very different from even just a few years ago.

We're evolving strategically through key technology acquisitions, our cloud market presence, scalable on-demand solutions, and our MarketPlace Partner Program. Each acquisition brought on board technology that enables us to create new products, build next-gen services, and leverage partner offerings. We optimized customer care, contributed to the open-source community, and executed a Customer Driven Cloud philosophy that drives our Agile product cycles. We also built a Connect Experience to enable knowledge sharing in the communities. The next step? Build work environments that encourage a culture driven by innovation. As we like to say – it’s your platform in motion!

Building the Vision

In October 2014 we opened our Seattle Cloud Development Center. In March 2015 we built the Monroe Technology Center of Excellence. We are excited to announce another milestone of our long-term vision, our latest Development Center in St. Louis opened to the...

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Cloud Migration Simplified

March 11, 2016
By Jonathan Townsend

Cloud Migration Stairs

Get In and Get Going

​ Whether you're a customer migrating to a new Cloud provider or you're an existing customer migrating from a legacy platform like VPDC, OCC, CDC, or DCC, migrating is seamless and simple with the experts at CenturyLink. It's important to get in, explore, and find the differences in meta models, map services from your old provider and the Legacy Platform, and try things out to get familiar with the new interface. ​ CenturyLink's Cloud Migration program entry requirements make the process easy-to-follow, as customers must: ​

  • Meet pre-qualification requirements and complete The Cloud Provider Velocity Program document that details the terms and credit allocation. You can obtain the document by emailing a Cloud Specialist.
  • Provide proof of active use from a competing Public Cloud, especially in light of some providers shutting down their Public Cloud offerings. If that situation applies to you, check out this trial offer.
  • Establish a contracting process for CenturyLink Cloud prior to engagement.
  • Pass through the pre-qualification process by March 30, 2016 for free migration on-boarding offer eligibility. ​ By migrating to CenturyLink Cloud® from another cloud provider with the help of CenturyLink's Migration and On-boarding teams, customers will benefit from CenturyLink's matching Cloud Credit offer. The offer includes on-boarding services and
...

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Authentication, User Management, & Repeatable Deployment Container Services on Kubernetes Clusters

March 11, 2016
By Brannan Matherson

ElasticKube

With so much angst in the market over new and innovative ways to deliver cloud application services, Cloud Application Manager has joined the open source community by introducing an entirely new project focused on container management called ElasticKube. Many of our customers have shown a keen interest in containers, although they’re looking to leverage Cloud Application Manager for “traditional” virtualized environments. However, I’m always intrigued at how cautiously optimistic IT organizations are and even sometimes, downright pessimistic, when it comes to management and security of containers. So it makes perfect sense that Cloud Application Manager has chosen to invest in containers and meet a huge need in the market.

Today’s launch is the first step in working with the community to help standardize the way enterprises deploy and manage containers. But what is ElasticKube exactly? Glad you asked; it is essentially a management layer on top of a Kubernetes cluster. Similar to the experience that you might see in our Cloud Application Manager offering, this is a web console and self-service template catalog of all the containerized services that are available in your repository (for example, GitHub). Our primary focus has been to add value with authorization and user management which...

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Take Control of Backups and Disaster Recovery!

March 8, 2016
By Jared Ruckle

Managing - and protecting - enterprise data is a thankless task. It requires tons of upfront planning and budgeting. Often there's a byzantine-style system of InfoSec policies to navigate.

Cloud services, thankfully, dramatically simplify the exercise. When corporate data lives in the public cloud already, many different tools can be deployed via automation to hedge against risk. Further, many of these tools do not require large upfront investments in licensing fees or infrastructure.

Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR) are complex topics. But it all starts with analyzing your requirements, and evaluating different products that might fit the bill.

A Shortlist of Options to Consider

At CenturyLink, we have a few different options worth considering which are described below. Each service can be evaluated via automated deployment with very little upfront investment. From self-service backup, to full-featured Disaster Recovery (DR), we summarize four choices in this post. Outlining each option, to give you insight into which solutions are the best fit for your business needs, and how to get started.

CenturyLink Cloud Simple Backup Service

Backup Graphic

Data is the lifeblood of any organization. Keeping that data safely backed up and accessible in the event of file corruption is crucial. On top of that, organizations may have different data...

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Container Management Made Easy: Kubernetes on CenturyLink Cloud

March 2, 2016
By Chris Kleban, Product Manager - CenturyLink Cloud

Today, we’ve announced a new way for developers to quickly deploy Docker containers on CenturyLink Cloud with automated scripts to configure and launch Kubernetes, the open source container orchestration system.

Docker Logo   Kubernetes Logo

Why Docker and Kubernetes?

Docker containers allow you to run your software across multiple platforms, giving you reduced load times, version control, and reusable software components while removing the need to manage shared software dependencies. Kubernetes is the open-source platform for automating the deployment, scaling, and operations of application containers across clusters of hosts. Together, Docker and Kubernetes enable our customers to accelerate development, simplify operations, and deliver a truly open hybrid cloud strategy.

Both Docker and Kubernetes are open-source projects with large active communities. They are constantly rolling out new features and are being used in both small and large scale production environments.

Types of Applications

Docker and Kubernetes are the ideal combination for many types of applications. They enable 12-factor applications, micro-services, and cloud-native applications, as well as more traditional back-end services like databases, big data stacks, and file stores. Using a "pets" versus "cattle" analogy, this solution provides you with the tools required to run your applications like "cattle", not "pets".

Why Kubernetes on CenturyLink Cloud?

CenturyLink’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offers on-demand virtual and...

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Behind the Scenes: The CenturyLink Cloud Connect Experience

March 1, 2016
By Dana Bowlin, Product Owner

ConnectHave you ever wanted to have a forum where you can ask in-depth questions about how a company addresses similar issues that you experience within your business, and how other companies are keeping up with the rapid pace of change in IT services? Or have you wanted to attend a deep-dive tour into a specific technology, product, or service that goes beyond a web page experience? We created the CenturyLink Connect Team to provide just that. Not only for others to connect with us, but for us to connect with the IT community. The Connect Team provides a tailored experience for briefings, site tours, event support and speakers, technical learning workshops, and deep-dive sessions into sharing how the latest technologies are solving real-world business problems in the digital economy.

When the team began working with customers, partners, and prospects we noticed a common interest. Businesses were interested in the technical details of how we work, how others were solving problems, automation, integration, and trends seen within our customer base. To address this need we created the Cloud Briefing Center which opened in late 2014. We assembled the Connect Team to provide a real-world experience for sharing knowledge, enabling others to solve...

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Capacity Planning for Cloud Platforms, Part 1

February 29, 2016
By Ryan Kirk, Principal Data Scientist, CenturyLink Cloud

cloudCP

What is capacity planning for the cloud, why does this problem matter?

The cloud promises to provide scale-free access to a variety of platforms, services, and infrastructures. This is especially true for customers who want to trade the expensive “cost of assets” and their management for the much smaller “incremental just-in-time” ability to grow their own applications and technologies, as dictated by the requirements of their business. The need for an underlying set of computational resources is common to all of the offerings on cloud ecosystems. Essentially, providers require a solution that can accurately predict the projected levels of demand needs to coincide with current operational processes to aid in capacity planning and load.

Capacity planning for cloud platforms is both similar to and different from “on-premises” capacity planning. It is similar in that we can project our future expectations based upon our current utilization patterns. However, it is different for at least two substantial reasons. Firstly, cloud platforms represent a large, often global network of interconnected devices - this means that accurate forecasts initially require building a map of the network and devices based both upon device hierarchy and device function. Secondly, cloud platforms allow the consumption of each customer to...

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Automation, Alice, and the Endeavor Towards Better Customer Service

February 25, 2016
By Jessica Weber

Customer Service Acronym Image

Customer service, or a company's lack of customer service, is a detail overlooked by many businesses. For example, think about the last time you called a credit card company's customer service line. After being routed through the standard "Press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish" system of questions, you were connected to a representative. Depending on the reason for your call, you may have been transferred to several different representatives, each one trying to solve your issue using varying levels of background knowledge on the subject. This same scenario holds true for the customer service lines of most organizations, including IT help desks.

Make room for the CenturyLink Cloud Customer Care Team. The lead, Michael Talbert, has spent many years operating behind-the-scenes on customer service teams such as this. You may remember reading about Michael from this piece, which showcased his team and the ideas behind their formation and process. He's experienced the same frustration at the multiple-step process described above that may or may not end in a resolution of the problem. So, when he joined our team at CenturyLink, his first order of business was to build a team (and a process) that took the commonly-experienced frustration away. He...

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The Joys of Doing Lots More for Less: Enjoying Desktops as a Service (DaaS) with VDIworks & CenturyLink Cloud

February 24, 2016
By Muhammad Umair, VP of Software for VDIworks

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 Muhammad Umair, VP of Software for VDIWorks.

VDIworks Logo

Desktop-as-a-Service(DaaS) with VDIworks and CenturyLink Cloud

With tens of thousands of licenses sold globally, VDIworks’ VDP is an end-to-end VDI management system that enables DaaS for your business.

By now you have probably read dozens, if not hundreds of articles touting the benefits of virtualized desktops. Most pundits agree virtual desktops lower costs of IT support through enhanced proactive management processes, mitigation of unplanned downtime via more reliable services, extend equipment lifecycles, and make it possible to achieve a nearly 50% reduction in desktop delivery costs. Imagine how that would feel.

What small, medium, or even large enterprise CIO wouldn’t relish the elation of knowing their organization had achieved a level of competence that eludes so many of their peers and competitors? Your organization, regardless of its size, can achieve a transition from the old PC-centric model of desktop delivery to employees and turn to a modern, state-of-the-art computing workspace. With cloud-based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), you can...

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