The November update to our enterprise cloud platform brought with it all sorts of valuable capabilities including a new Canadian data center, enhancements to our self-service networking, an upgrade of the Platform as a Service PaaS to the latest version of Iron Foundry, the introduction of first-of-its-kind Billing/Account/User management APIs, and more. What I’ll highlight today is the ability to do self-service disk resize from within our Control Portal.
Elastic Machines Result in Better Value
Properly sizing a server has always been a challenge because you need to try and anticipate future need. Do you allocate just enough resources to get by, or do you leave yourself lots of headroom in case of spikes in usage or unexpected growth? These decisions often lead to over-provisioning that results in idle CPU cycles, unused storage, and wasted money. Up until now, CenturyLink Cloud customers have been able to modify CPU and memory allocation on demand. This has proved very useful for organizations that wanted to be conscious of cost while not getting locked into an undersized server instance. Our customers have also asked us to add disk growth to our collection of self-service capabilities, so that's what we've done.
To demonstrate, I created a new Windows Server box in my CenturyLink Cloud account. Our customers can resize the root drive (“C”) on Windows, but we have many customers who put their critical application data on additional data drives. I added two drives (“G” and “H”) to this configuration and then created the server.
To confirm that I had this initial 30 GB of additional disk space available, I fired up my VPN connection and accessed my new server. Sure enough, the box shows the two new drives.
Previously, if you wanted to grow either of those disks, you had to contact our very capable NOC team, and they’d quickly allocate the new storage space to your virtual machine. But customers keep telling us that they want to do more and more things on their own, even if it saves them just a few minutes!
Note that Windows boxes instantly recognize the new storage allocated to them by the hypervisor. Linux boxes require one more additional step that extends the volumes on the server itself. I’ll include the steps for this in an upcoming Knowledge Base article.
To increase the amount of storage for a given disk, I navigated to the server details page within the CenturyLink Cloud Control Portal. Here, I can change the allocation of CPU, memory, and now storage. I’ve upgraded the first disk to 50 GB of storage. Notice that I cannot change the drive letters themselves, but I can change individual drive sizes, and add entirely new drives to this server.
Upon saving this configuration, the CenturyLink Platform launched a Blueprint that queues up and performs the disk resize action. Within moments, I received confirmation that the resize was complete. To verify this, I switched back to my server and instantly saw the new space available.
This is a seemingly small feature that should have a big impact on our customers who can now provision boxes based on current needs and budgets, but have the confidence that they can immediately grow their servers as their needs evolve.