In this space, we have discussed the benefits of running virtual servers, bare metal, and AppFog (powered by Cloud Foundry) with CenturyLink Cloud. The pitch: create and scale your apps via self-service, across a variety of infrastructure options, within the same UI and API framework.

These services empower developers to build new apps faster than ever before. This is the sea change occurring in our industry.

Under the backdrop of this change, however, one constant has emerged. Yes, companies want infrastructure services that are elastic and highly automated.

But they want to administer and manage cloud deployments like incumbent systems.

"The More Things Change..."

Customers tell us that governance, control, transparency, billing, and reporting are still important. These priorities persist in the cloud era. To IT Ops teams, these administrative features complement the on-demand, pay-as-you-go goodness that fuels rapid app development.

To this end, we've launched several new features to help customers realize the benefits of cloud computing...while helping them adhere to their current operational practices and policies.

Below are a few examples.

Service Catalog

IT Ops Perspective: "Things in my org change quickly, and I want to retain control over how new services are exposed to employees. Ticket volumes go up when unfamiliar things are available to the masses."

Feature: Service Catalog. Selected capabilities are part of the CenturyLink Cloud Service Catalog, with a toggle for each service. This capability extends to subaccounts as well - groups of savvy “early adopters” can see new things earlier than others.

Service Catalog

Pricing Visibility

IT Ops Perspective: "I negotiate term commits with vendors, and I want to see those prices reflected at the SKU level. This helps me keep tabs on what I’m paying during any given month."

Feature: Price Catalog. View a detailed pricing catalog at any time, and browse through different price sheets for subaccounts. View month-by-month lists of prices and see pricing differences by data center.

Price Catalog

Pricing Control

IT Ops Perspective: "I have fully-loaded costs that I want to show back to employees that reflect my internal staffing. This is the "true cost" of IT after all!"

Feature: Set Your Own Price. To help track, manage, and "chargeback" for cloud services, we’ve introduced Custom Price Sheets aka Set Your Own Price as a limited preview. With this capability, users with the right permissions (Account Administrators and Billing Managers) can now configure custom price sheets for cloud services on a monthly basis per account and subaccount.

Price Sheets

Price adjustments can be configured across several dimensions (similar to the Pricing Catalog above, since Price Sheets are the related “edit” function):

  • Time. Adjust pricing for a given month, according to what’s happening in the account and in the business, as a service provider.
  • Product. Set custom pricing for each SKU, no matter how it’s billed. Compute and storage (charged hourly), flat monthly fees (for load balancers), even managed services, can be adjusted here.
  • Location. Cloud costs vary based on location, and service providers offering CenturyLink Cloud want to have that reflected back to end users.

The Control Portal will reflect the configured costs, in summary views and in real-time.

To help you during this preview period, we have resources standing by to help you operationalize this capability to your users. Simply reach out to us at [email protected] for details on how to get started.

Resource Reporting & Usage

IT Ops Perspective: "I need to understand how infrastructure is being consumed, where inefficiencies lie, and what my capacity needs might be in the future."

Feature: Invoicing APIs. These RESTful calls return detailed usage data for a given account alias. We’ve exposed billing information via API for years now, and this new, modern “V2” version is geared for developers.

Just send a simple get call with the accountAlias, and the month and year of interest - and a rich set of usage data is returned for all the resources in that account for the month:

    "id": "ALIAS69849A66",
    "terms": "Net 15",
    "companyName": "CTL Cloud Solutions",
    "accountAlias": "ALIAS",
    "pricingAccountAlias": "ALIAS",
    "parentAccountAlias": "PALIAS",
    "address1": "1100 112th Ave NE",
    "address2": "Suite 400",
    "city": "Bellevue",
    "stateProvince": "WA",
    "postalCode": "98004",
    "billingContactEmail": "[email protected]",
    "invoiceCCEmail": "",
    "totalAmount": 0,
    "invoiceDate": "2015-08-01T00:00:00Z",
    "poNumber": "",
    "lineItems": [
            "quantity": 1,
            "description": "Server Group: DEMO - VA1",
            "unitCost": 153.93,
            "itemTotal": 153.93,
            "serviceLocation": "VA1",
            "itemDetails": [
                    "description": "VA1ALIASJMB01",
                    "cost": 153.93
            "quantity": 1,
            "description": "Shared Load Balancer - CA1",
            "unitCost": 29.76,
            "itemTotal": 29.76,
            "serviceLocation": "CA1",
            "itemDetails": []
            "quantity": 1,
            "description": "Additional Networks - GB3",
            "unitCost": 45,
            "itemTotal": 45,
            "serviceLocation": "GB3",
            "itemDetails": []

With API access, you have the freedom to store and analyze the data wherever and however you’d like it. Another suggestion: integrate with Apptio for cost comparisons and more predictive analysis..

Data Sovereignty

IT Ops Perspective: Corporate data can’t leave a certain country or region; I need to ensure that only “approved” cloud nodes are exposed.

Feature: Data Center Preferences. Adjusting the nodes exposed to users is as easy as using airplane mode on your phone! Simply point and click to build a list of "approved" deployment targets. This prevents unauthorized deployments in geographies that may pose a regulatory or compliance issue.

Data Center Preferences

On-Premises Data Center Policies Need to Apply to Public Cloud

IT Ops Perspective: I can’t change the way I allow access to resources just because the compute happens to be running off-premises and managed by a 3rd party.

Feature: The Control Portal. Role-based access controls, single-sign on, and custom branding are just a few of the features that help make CenturyLink Cloud a little less Wild West and a little more like what employees already know and love (without sacrificing elasticity and self-service of course!). This blog post has more ideas on how to proceed with data center transformation projects.

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

We’re constantly launching new features to help businesses achieve transformation through agile infrastructure services...while keeping operational and administrative consistency with what’s worked well in IT for decades.

The value of each new enhancement stands on its own. But the integration of services into a unified management and billing framework makes each one that much better.

Check it all out with a free trial, and see for yourself how the power to create and the power to administer combine to help you survive and thrive in the cloud era.