Take a look at the application portfolio of any enterprise. The range and diversity is astounding. You’ll see apps running on many types of infrastructure (mainframes, physical servers, virtualized), and in different physical locations (on-premises, colocation, in the public cloud).

Layer in different development languages, the desire for managed services, plus security and compliance considerations by application – and it’s easy to see why IT pros yearn for simplicity and efficiency in day-to-day management.

And that’s just the legacy “keep the business running” stuff. What about the new, transformative apps that differentiate the business? Analytics, Hadoop, mobile, and cloud-native apps are a different challenge that require a different mindset.

Our goal at CenturyLink is to dramatically simplify the management of infrastructure that powers all these scenarios, and do it in a way that delivers a competitive advantage for the enterprise.

Today, we take a big step towards that goal.

Two new products join our flagship public and private VM-based services in the CenturyLink Cloud: bare metal (physical servers, on-demand) and AppFog (multi-tenant Cloud Foundry).

These four “core” capabilities offer customers the flexibility to use the right service based on their application characteristics: underlying architecture, elasticity needs, sensitivity of data, and level of isolation required.

What’s more, they can all be managed in a single, unified interface, the Control Portal. Each service is a first class citizen in the platform, and can be easily connected to another.

We’ll have much more in the weeks to come on when it makes sense to use each service. In the meantime, this table is a helpful starting point:

Service Isolation Time to Add Capacity Billed Example Use Case
Virtual Machines (public) N/A - multi-tenant Minutes Hourly Mainstream business apps; “lift and shift” from on-prem virtualization
Virtual Machines (private) Compute, Storage & Network Weeks Monthly, based on allocation Apps with sensitive data
Bare Metal Compute, Storage Less than an hour Hourly Apps that require consistent performance; workloads that can’t be easily virtualized
AppFog N/A - multi-tenant Seconds Hourly, per GB-reserved Cloud-native apps; “12 factor” stateless architectures

These services are all managed in a single interface, with a unified permissions and security model, plus a detailed accounting summary of usage. What else do they have in common?

  • Automated. Code powers every element of the service. Our DevOps teams work in the background, of course, to make sure everything is running smoothly. But to users, the services “just work”.
  • Self Service. No need to file a ticket, no need to pick up the phone when you to create and scale apps running in CenturyLink Cloud. Use the UI or our API.
  • Programmable. Speaking of APIs - APIs are part of each service, so it’s easy for developers to integrate infrastructure into existing workflows.

This “host diversity with unified management” focus is a big part of our roadmap, but customers need much more than just infrastructure. After all, it’s just infrastructure!

That’s why we continue to advance our NoSQL database-as-a-service product, managed services breadth & and depth, and developer tools. In fact, Bare Metal and AppFog are just some of the new capabilities released today. Here is a brief summary (full release notes are available here:

All this power is available at your fingertips – try our cloud out now and see for yourself why there’s strength in diversity.