CenturyLink Cloud has settled into a nice release cadence and today marks the end of another development cycle. Our platform is being updated frequently, and today’s release is accompanied by a new “release notes” process initiated by our product management team. Immediately upon each platform release, the CenturyLink Cloud team will publish a set of release notes to the Knowledge Base. The August 1st release notes outline the six new features and fifty minor fixes that were part of this push.

Let’s take a look at two of the new platform features and see how they make our users more efficient.

Add multiple instances of the same software package to a Blueprint

Customers use blueprints, which is CenturyLink Cloud’s server orchestration technology, to model complex server environments. One key aspect of blueprints is the ability to include software and scripts in the build process. Imagine building an n-tier system environment made up of web servers and database servers. Developers and system administrators use blueprints to create a template made up of all the server configurations and software that define that system. That blueprint can then be deployed again and again with little effort.

Up until now, it was difficult to add the same software/script package to a blueprint multiple times and provide unique parameters (e.g. “password”) for each package instance. We’ve now made this process very simple! For example, let’s assume that we need two servers with Microsoft SQL Server installed. The blueprint below shows that two servers, and two instances of Microsoft SQL Server are included.

Whenever an authorized CenturyLink Cloud user chooses to deploy this blueprint, they are prompted for per-instance parameters such as password and license type.

This new capability helps our users quickly multi-server environments that have distinctive software needs. See this Knowledge Base article for a more detailed walkthrough of this feature.

Run software and scripts against any or all servers in a Group

The CenturyLink Cloud Group Management service is a popular and effective tool for managing large clouds. We will be discussing this further in an upcoming post, but basically, Groups give administrators a way to organize and manage servers as a collective unit. In today’s software release, we’ve added the ability to install software or run scripts (“Group Task”) against all of the servers in a particular Group. When might this come in handy? Imagine having a set of servers and deciding to install a new anti-virus package on all of them at one time. Or, consider the scenario where you wish to disable a set of default services on each server in a cluster and don’t want to log into each box and manually perform this action. In both cases, this Group Task capability saves significant time and reduces the likelihood of human error.

For each Group, there is now a button called “Group Tasks.”

When selected, this button prompts the user to choose a software package or script to apply to any or all of the servers in the Group. Instantly, the system goes to work rapidly updating each server.

You can find out more about this feature by reading this Knowledge Base article.

CenturyLink Cloud continues to innovate in this area and we have an exciting list of features slated for upcoming releases!