Deploying Environments and Applications with Source Code: The Cloud-based Approach to Application Creation

October 28, 2015
By Chris Kent

Runner

Creating and deploying applications is like a carefully choreographed dance. One that requires balancing business goals with expectation setting. This feat includes steps like writing groundbreaking code, solving timing restrictions, and overcoming the technical obstacles between all of the teams involved. Ensuring that the dependencies and timelines between the development and testing teams are in sync and align with the hosting company and their assigned help desk engineers can be a daunting task in itself, and it often creates a bottleneck in the process. Even though this dance can be repeated countless times, it’s usually this last step that is clumsy and always results in a different outcome. What if there was a more streamlined, succinct approach to creating and duplicating environments?

What Is Killing Your Deployment Timeline?

Often, the environments in which applications are developed, tested, and deployed compose one of the biggest variables that can impact an overall timeline. The elements of the environments are the same almost every time: a carefully constructed staging environment, which is a cleaner, more stable version of the development environment, both of which closely mimic QA and production environments. When the time comes for deploying to a live environment, unless the environments closely align,...

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Data Center: Environmental Protections

October 23, 2015
By Daniel Morton

Data Center Environmental Protections

Cyber attacks on major corporations generate big news headlines, especially when they are successful. Threats to a data center from heat, humidity, water, or smoke aren't as flashy in terms of media coverage. They are, nonetheless just as real and, potentially, just as devastating. That's why you need a full array of environmental protections in and around your data center.

Any data center provider will affirm that they're required; and that all built-in protections fly under the radar until you really need them. To illustrate the point, on January 9, 2015 several news agencies covered a 3-alarm fire at a data center in Ashburn, Virginia. The massive building was under construction. The conflagration apparently had started on the roof. Fortunately, there were no injuries and firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze after about an hour.

This is Part 2 in a 3 Part series highlighting different protections inside and around a CenturyLink data center. This time we focus on the environmental safeguards that protect the facility, personnel, the infrastructure, and your data. If you missed Part 1 in the series, Data Center: Physical Security, you can find that topic right here.

Data Center Locations

We carefully choose the location of a data center...

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Starting from Scratch with Cybersecurity: Introduction to Security Products Part 1

October 21, 2015
By Stephanie Wong, Product Owner.

Security is newsworthy. Recently, the IRS reported as many as 330,000 taxpayer accounts they believe were accessed by thieves. These security breaches often result in identity theft and the loss of critical corporate data, and can cost your company millions of dollars in unrecoverable expenses.

As a company, you need to be aware of IT security and your need to be protected, and you might be wondering where to start. This post is the first in a multi-part series about the various types of security products available and what they can do for you. These tools can be used to secure anything -- whether it's a home PC or laptop, an enterprise tech stack or even a hosted hybrid cloud solution. The same principles apply everywhere. Initially, we’ll begin with host-based security products.

Host-based security products are those that reside on or help to protect one host, server, or virtual machine. These host-based security products can be used at home or at work. The three fundamental types we’ll discuss here are Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware, firewalls and IDS/IDP.

Anti-Virus or Anti-Malware

Let’s start with Anti-Virus or Anti-Malware products. These products detect and protect against software viruses on your host. These harmful files get to your host through...

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Data Center: Physical Security

October 16, 2015
By Daniel Morton, et. al.

Data Center Physical Security

"Data security starts with physical security." Natalie Lehrer underscored that point in her Information Week article called A Guide to Physical Security. She's right. Protection of company personnel, facilities, and data begins with physical security. It's a strategic priority at CenturyLink. The "rubber meets the road" in the management and operation of the facilities. Our data centers earn a M&O Stamp of Approval Certification from the Uptime Institute. Joel Stone is responsible for Global Data Center Operations at CenturyLink. Here's his take on the importance of a data center receiving M&O Certification:

"Earning the M&O certification demonstrates the effectiveness of a data center’s management and operations, giving customers “peace of mind” by ensuring the facility that houses their critical IT functions has passed a rigorous, third-party audit to conform its practices to the highest of standards."

This is Part 1 in a three part series covering various aspect of data center security. Part 2 will discuss environmental protections. Part 3 will cover media protections.

Security Policies

It starts at the top. Physical security at a data center is governed by CenturyLink Corporate Security. This group oversees the policies, processes, and work rules ensuring that all data centers operate under a consistent set of procedures...

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Time to Plan Your IPv6 Transition!

October 14, 2015
By Marla Ankenman

IPv6andIPv4

For several years now, the question around the shift to IPv6 has been "When?" NOT "If". As of September 24th 2015, the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) announced it had issued final IPv4 addresses and the free pool for IPv4 addresses had reached “zero.” The time to prepare for your businesses' IPv6 transition is now!

Why Now is the Time to Start Planning

While a majority of the world's devices today are not yet compatible with IPv6, dual-stack technology ensures that legacy IPv4 devices will still work for the foreseeable future. However, soon IPv6 will be the only option for adding new devices or hosts on the Internet. Understanding the background behind IPv4 and the benefits of IPv6 are the first steps in proactive planning.

IPv4

Computers use Internet Protocol (IP) to find one another and permit communication. IP Version 4 (IPv4) was developed in the early 1980s during a much simpler time in Internet evolution. At that time, 4 billion addresses seemed like a huge number! Since then, the number of computers attached to the Internet has multiplied many times over. Plus, our vehicles and many devices in our homes and pockets use network connections. With the growing trend toward the Internet of...

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Hybrid IT: Migration as Evolution

October 8, 2015
By Steve Tarver

Improving your business requires changing your business. When dealing with Migration, changes need to be researched per business case and methodically implemented. Stakeholders and leadership are always looking for opportunities rooted in IT and product improvements. Whether these improvements are driven by cost savings or the need for increased capacity, disaster recovery, proximity to customers, or IT/product agility, a diversified data center solution could provide the advantages you are looking for. Over half the market of Enterprise IT decision makers are in the same boat and are researching change that will include a hybrid IT solution by 2017.

To help outline the benefits you might achieve through migration, this article introduces:

  • Four basic hosting options
  • Hosting option characteristics
  • Hosting option selection goals:
    • Converting capital to operating expenses
    • Offloading staff responsibilities
    • Specific operational goals

Data Center Options

The market has responded to customer needs by providing several layers of data center options, offering increased offloading of facility and infrastructure management. Although individual providers have different mixes of features to offer and different ideas about what services to offer at each level, we can divide the space into four general categories.

On-Premises

Company-owned data centers run the gamut of sophistication from a gear closet to a stand-alone data center with dedicated facilities management....

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Why Managed Services in the Cloud? Exploring the Present and Future State

October 7, 2015
By Navin Arora and Ben Swoboda

People generally agree on what the term "Managed Services" means, right? Unfortunately, "Managed Services" is a bit more complicated than a surface-level term. It’s easy to roll a collection of services, products, and tasks under one broad umbrella statement and call it a day. However, the problem is most companies, product owners, IT managers, customers, and engineers have their own version of what a “Managed Service” actually is, as each one’s experiences are unique. Recently, pressure from consumers for clarity around the term and details of Managed Services necessitates exploration in the effort of yielding a more concise explanation.

Welcome to the CenturyLink Cloud, Managed Services.

Bringing Managed Services to the cloud is one of the many facets of the CenturyLink Cloud® Platform offerings.

CenturyLinkPlatform Offerings

Managed Services on CenturyLink Cloud provides experts at the ready to maintain and administer your cloud deployments for optimum performance and value. CenturyLink Cloud provides businesses with the power to instantly create managed environments for their most important applications such as production websites, SQL databases, and directory services. Additionally, managed workloads can be scaled with the same speed and agility people have come to expect from the public cloud.

Brief History of Managed Services

Managed Services started with break-fix. Over time,...

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Six Reasons Cloud Disaster Recovery is Growing

October 6, 2015
By Pat Brennan, Cloud Specialist

Traditional IT Disaster Recovery (DR) is both expensive and brittle. Today, however, inexpensive and robust disaster protection is available to all organizations through the emergence of Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS), such as that offered by CenturyLink Cloud. The DRaaS market is exploding. In their Global Forecast Report, the research firm MarketsandMarkets estimates that today the DRaaS markets is $1.42BN, and that by 2020 the DRaaS market will be $11.92BN.

Cloud has driven this growth along with new technologies that allow companies to leverage their existing data center while also using the Cloud for DR. Some customers have begun using the Cloud for both their production data center as well as their recovery data center. In both cases, companies have been able to leverage the cloud to meet GRC (Governance, Regulatory and Compliance) requirements.

Today, in a global economy that runs 24x7x365, it is critical to have a DR plan that can be modified and tested as required. Unfortunately, many times these tests fail for one reason or another (e.g., modification to applications that depend on other applications, undocumented processes, issues with encryption keys, etc.). Let’s take a look at six primary benefits of DRaaS:

Key Benefits

1. Cost Savings

  • Compute (CPU and Memory) – cost incurred only
...

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CenturyLink Cloud Delivers a Paradigm Shift in Customer Care

September 28, 2015
By Lyza Latham

Michael Talbert, Customer CareWhat's so different about how CenturyLink Cloud approaches Customer Care? Well, just about everything.

I sat down with Michael Talbert, the mastermind behind all our Customer Care initiatives, to find out what makes this team so unique and so successful.

"We've approached the idea of supporting our customers from a whole new angle... It's about empathy, taking care of customers and solving problems. It's way more than just technical support."

Lyza Latham: Michael, tell me what’s the big difference in how CenturyLink Cloud approaches Customer Care?

Michael Talbert: One of the things that’s frustrating for customers, particularly technical customers, is having to explain a complex problem to someone who isn’t technical. The traditional industry approach to Technical Support is to initially have the customer speak with a generalist. If the generalist can’t solve the problem, the issue is escalated—sometimes in multiple, painful increments—to more and more technical tiers until eventually the problem is resolved. We take a totally unique approach, with three key differentiators:

  • We staff our team with senior service engineers who can handle 90% of issues at the first contact.
  • As long as the issue doesn’t require a code change, we should be able to resolve it within that first engagement.
  • Our interview and screening process puts the emphasis
...

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Practice the Dark Art of Cloud Encryption

September 25, 2015
By Bob Stolzberg

Cloud Walk Info Graphic

The Terrace Rooftop at the Moonrise Hotel is about to be compromised — and then secured with CenturyLink Cloud encryption. Register and join us as we dive head-first into cloud security, compliance and encryption in a multi-tenant environment. Our partnership with Vormetric, a leader in data security solutions, has created an easily-deployable security solution that translates across platforms and environments and protects data wherever it is stored (even data that isn’t in our cloud). Our main goal is to provide a workshop—a place where people from different backgrounds and companies can come together to learn about security options.

This isn’t a run-of-the-mill presentation and speech; we expect you to earn your drinks and food (there will be plenty). Our Cloud engineers will provide you with a CenturyLink Cloud demo account and an educational license for Vormetric, and then it’s your turn to play (you’ll have to supply the laptop, of course). We will be there to walk you through every step, and we'll even have some cool prizes to hand out at the end of the session.

This workshop doesn’t require you to be a security expert in order to attend. We welcome all kinds of IT pros, novices and everyone in...

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Ready for an Ever-Increasing Cloud Disaster Recovery Market?

September 22, 2015
By Ian Masters, Vision Solutions

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 Ian Masters, Vice President, Cloud & Strategic Alliances at Vision Solutions

Vision SolutionsThe Cloud DR market is finally maturing. I believe this is confirmed by the release of the first Gartner Magic Quadrant (GMQ) for Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). According to the report, the Gartner estimates the size of the DRaaS market to be approximately $1.3 billion, with a related compound annual growth rate of approximately 30%. Impressive, to say the least. Interestingly, the Gartner also states that, “DRaaS vendors initially provided VM recovery primarily for VMware. However, given the rapid growth of other VM types, such as Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen, Linux-centric KVM, and Oracle VM (OVM), service instances are becoming increasingly heterogeneous.

Unified Solutions Suite

Additionally, the GMQ reports "there is an ever-increasing customer demand for more integrated support of hybrid recovery configurations – that is, recovery configurations containing both virtual and physical servers." Due to this development, it’s easy to see why Service Providers are having to use such a...

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Point, Click, Deploy with Bitnami on CenturyLink Cloud

September 14, 2015
By Erica Brescia, COO, Bitnami

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 Erica Brescia, from one click application tool Bitnami.

BitnamiEver wished you had an easy way to deploy Redmine, SugarCRM, Alfresco, Drupal, or your favorite app in the cloud? Preferably one that didn't involve dealing with complicated server infrastructure, cryptic configuration files and multiple software versions?

Well, now you have one. We're pleased to announce that many of Bitnami's server applications and development environments are now available to CenturyLink Cloud customers as Bitnami Cloud Blueprints. With this integration, you can deploy over 100 Bitnami pre-configured applications quickly and securely on your CenturyLink cloud server...no tweaking necessary!

At Bitnami, we've taken the data we get from our million-plus deployments each month and used it to make sure that launching complex, multi-tiered application environments with our cloud images is as painless as possible.

Here’s how:

  • All our applications are pre-compiled and pre-configured with all necessary dependencies so that they work out-of-the-box.
  • They’re quick and easy to install; simply sign into your CenturyLink account and select the Bitnami Cloud Blueprint of your
...

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