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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What Biotech Service Cytobank Did to Save $$$ and Boost Efficiency

September 22, 2015
By

Cytobank

Today, we are proud to highlight the success story of one of our biotech customers, Cytobank. Cytobank is a cloud biopharma service that supports research labs around the world. We spoke to Robin Lee Powell, Director of IT Operations at Cytobank who shared how they leverage Cloud Application Manager to save on infrastructure costs and increase team efficiency.

Cytobank helps researchers study life-threatening diseases such as cancer. Scientists around the globe rely on Cytobank to organize, share, and analyze single-cell cytometry data on a massive scale. Visualizing single-cell data involves loads of data transfer and often heavy computations between the client and the backend. On top of that, each customer site is completely isolated and unique from another. Cytobank not only serves customer labs but also provides demo, development and QA environments for their offshore team to test site changes.

All this complexity requires high capacity resources for many uniquely configured site environments. Since the requirements and resource demands of each site vary uniquely, live usage metrics helps determine when to scale resources up or down. To fulfill the unique demands of customer, demo, and QA site environments, Cytobank leverages Cloud Application Manager as an integrated platform.

Self-Service Catalog to Scale Efficiently

At Cytobank,...

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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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How to Achieve the Top 3 IT Ops Objectives

September 15, 2015
By

Jenkins Logo

Back from an exciting week at the Jenkins User Conference in Santa Clara, I want to thank all of you who stopped by the Cloud Application Manager booth to share your thoughts and questions. From the 600+ attendees representing various enterprises, some key themes emerged that reflect their IT organizational challenges and objectives. I’ll go over the top three.

A Desire to Increase Deployment Frequency

Gene Kim, a keynote speaker at the conference rightly, said, “Deploy smaller changes more frequently.” While most enterprises deploy applications in some form or fashion, a huge amount of manual tasks and steps slows down the process. It’s a combination of a process and tools issue.

Confidence in Successful Deployments

Many IT and DevOps teams experience sleepless nights and get on pins-and-needles when it is time to deploy into production. Reducing errors, predictability and stable applications in production are key. As Gene Kim said at the conference, “At the end of each spring, we must have working and shippable code… demonstrated in an environment that resembles production.”

Faster Lead-Time to Deployment

Not only are frequent deployments a good thing, but reducing the overall time of a single deployment is a major IT goal. Deployment orchestration is the next step in driving...

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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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Corporate IT: Transformative Agent or Roadblock?

September 10, 2015
By Pat Brennan

Cloud Takes Business Agility and Flexibility to New Heights

How does IT BECOME the business?

For many CEOs, the question is no longer “if” information technology will impact their business – it’s by how much. Data is being produced and replicated at unprecedented speeds, ushering in a new age of IT growth. The emergence of cloud, big data and IoT is transforming the data center, and those who capitalize on this technology movement stand to gain significant competitive advantage. As the ultimate goal is to maximize efficiencies, cut costs, and drive revenue – cloud and “as-a-service” models now put corporate IT in the unique position of becoming a transformative change agent in business.

Global businesses are in the midst of a “Third Industrial Revolution,” where competitive advantage comes from capitalizing on the new digital infrastructure and massive amounts of data flowing across it. As our recent e-Book points out, this digital transformation is empowering companies to move faster, serve customers in new ways, and create expanded opportunities for growth and innovation. Perhaps that’s why Bessemer Venture Partners pegs the cloud computing market at nearly $128 billion by 2018 – a 22.8 percent growth rate. A survey of large and mid-sized corporations by...

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3 Steps to Connect Service Bindings of Complex Deployments

September 9, 2015
By

Bindings

Bindings make it easy to connect services together. They enable components of large-scale, multi-tier applications to interconnect in a virtual cloud deployment that can span hybrid clouds. Recently, Cloud Application Manager made bindings even more powerful. Now at deploy time, services can automatically detect dependencies — with the help of binding tags.

Binding tags boost complex deployments in a couple of ways:

  • Dynamic bindings. Tagged bindings discover instance connectivity dynamically. They serve as an auto-discovery mechanism where instances with binding tags can automatically connect to other instances that match those tags.
  • One to many bindings. Bindings can connect one or many services together, again, using tags. Previously, every connection required an exclusive binding. But that’s no longer necessary.

We’ll use an example to see how bindings work. Let’s suppose that an Nginx loadbalancer needs to detect freshly launched Node.js instances and automatically add them to its loadbalancing pool. We do three things to achieve this scenario. The first two are part of box automation:

  • Define binding variables

  • Configure bindings for your application

  • Tag bindings for instance connectivity

  • Step 1. Define Binding Variables

    Bindings are defined as variables in box automation. In the Nginx loadbalancer box, for example, we defined that the binding can connect to instances of...

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