Posts Tagged: Hybrid IT

Advantages of Running Containers on Bare Metal in the Cloud

November 22, 2016
By Daniel Morton

Bare Metal Logo

Reading Time: about 5 minutes

With each passing day businesses become more and more reliant on data analytics and high-performance infrastructure needed to power data workloads. Enter CenturyLink Cloud® Bare Metal, the next evolution in cloud computing. It's a natural progression of virtualized cloud technology that offer's the capability of cloud without drawbacks of virtualization.

Handling the incredible amounts of information streaming across company networks is a huge challenge for any system administrator. Businesses are realizing that running bare metal servers in the cloud and combining them with container technology, built on top of a complete enterprise cloud platform, is essential for success.

The container you choose depends on the complexity of the project and your specific business needs. If your DevOps team is smaller and you want broad functionality right out of the box, Docker is a good choice. If customization is an important criterion, CoreOS Rocket is a good selection. If you're looking for operating system isolation between instances, Canonical LXD is a good option. You can find tutorials on our Developer Center that show how to implement any of these three containers on our platform. When it comes to physical servers that provide the flexibility and control of a virtual...

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Big Data on Bare Metal

November 14, 2016
By Brandy Smith

big data on bare metal

Reading Time: about 4 minutes

Recently we beefed up our Bare Metal servers to provide customers with more ways to utilize, build, and customize their bare metal instances. These new configurations were designed to allow the Bare Metal servers to support more intensive compute workloads, as well as accommodate a wider range of use cases while still providing the flexibility and control of virtual machines.

CenturyLink Bare Metal servers are fully-integrated into the CenturyLink Cloud®, allowing you to create and manage physical servers alongside virtual instances. Customizable solutions are available such as the ability to power on and off your bare metal instances as needed with pay-as-you go flexibility, and host a wide range of applications from a unified interface. Ideal for compute-intensive applications like databases, analytics jobs, grid computing, and other workloads requiring consistent performance.

Big Data on Bare Metal

Bare Metal Servers on CenturyLink Cloud provide an excellent environment for your business’s big data application workloads. They provide the ability to provision and manage physical machines fast via API or Control Portal. Design and grow your clusters to meet the exact demands of your data. Compute isolation and consistent performance are essential when mining demanding scenarios like recommendation engines, machine learning, and...

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Leveraging Relational DB to Control IT Sprawl

November 7, 2016
By Daniel Morton

Reading Time: about 4 minutes

Control IT Sprawl

Data is the foundation of businesses today. Thus, database technology is a critical component of any IT infrastructure. In a typical enterprise IT environment, it’s not uncommon to see engineers and developers create hundreds or even thousands of databases and the bare metal machines or VMs needed to run them. That raises the issue of a significant problem for companies, both large and small -- database sprawl. The Uptime Institute estimates that up to 30% of servers in this country alone are "comatose," but still "racked and running." In the typical enterprise environment there are huge numbers of resources sitting idle, poorly optimized, under-utilized, or completely forgotten. A digital footprint like that consumes more in resources than many companies care even to think about.

The Problem of Database Sprawl

Management of IT sprawl is more than simply an administrative headache. There are both tangible and intangible costs that impact an organization’s IT operations, and those costs can add up quickly. Here is just a sample:

  • Poor Use of Resources - IT personnel now have the added responsibilities of administering databases and maintaining servers.
  • Best Practices Overlooked - The fact is, all databases are not implemented or maintained in the same
...

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Four Factors to Consider Before Taking Big Data to the Cloud

October 26, 2016
By Brandy Smith

EMC-Cloud-Big-Data

Big data is rapidly evolving from proof-of-concept to production. While the terms big data and cloud were previously taboo, many businesses are looking to big data as a source of customer insight and a way to bolster operational efficiencies. The cloud is becoming a viable option as many IT managers are faced with the challenges of finding ways to collect, store, manage, and analyze large amounts of data collected from thousands of sources.

As big data production applications migrate toward becoming the norm across organizations, it is being increasingly applied to enterprise-wide, mission-critical operations. Big data has become too massive to keep on a single proprietary system. As such, the demands for integration are increasing exponentially. The current task at hand for many IT decision makers is to create a plan for taking their businesses data to the cloud, and how it will be used after it is there. But once that is complete, the monumental task of building out a long-term strategy for their data to succeed in real-world corporate IT settings awaits.

The Big Data Model

Big data activity can be aggressive. Often this means that the issue of data collection is way ahead of storage and utilization capabilities. When...

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Tips for a Successful Security Strategy

October 19, 2016
By Brandy Smith

secure cloud

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), an annual campaign sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). The overall goal, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which participates in NCSAM, is to “increase the resiliency of the Nation in the event of a cyber incident.”

Security threats are vast and constantly evolving, as should your businesses security strategy.

Today, security isn’t just about basic protection. Companies have far more to consider than they once did. Now, a security strategy is a holistic approach to protection, prevention, detection and response—and it needs to encompass all aspects of an adaptive security architecture.

Top Business Security Threats

Here’s an overview of what you need to consider when implementing, updating, and enforcing your security strategy.

External Threats

According to Cisco's Annual Security report, 100% of multinational companies show evidence that suspicious traffic was emanating from their networks and attempting to connect to questionable sites.

The speed at which external threats are increasing is exponential. There are millions of malware variations that enterprises must defend against, but it’s difficult for signature-based malware to keep up. There are more distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks than ever before, and they vary widely; they can be highly targeted or generic, long...

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Beefing Up Bare Metal

October 3, 2016
By Joe Nguyen

Servers in the cloud

In an effort to better meet our customers' needs and the ever changing market, we beefed up the feature set and availability for our Bare Metal servers on the CenturyLink Cloud®. At CenturyLink we continue to build a customer driven cloud, powered by feedback from the front lines of our business---the user. And while Bare Metal servers in the CenturyLink Cloud have always delivered the best of both worlds: the computing power of a physical server, plus the automation and pay-as-you-go flexibility of virtual machines; these new enhancements provide our customers with more options regarding where and how they can build their Bare Metal instances.

New Data Center Availability

Previously, customers could build their Bare Metal servers in either our Sterling, VA or Slough, United Kingdom data centers. We added three new data center locations to the line-up: New York, Vancouver, and coming soon, Sydney. The addition of these new locations gives our customers more options on a global scale.

New Server Configurations

New configurations are designed to allow the Bare Metal servers to support more intensive compute workloads. These modifications mean more cores, more memory, SSDs, and more local storage with configurable RAID control options.

Server matrix

For detailed information about the full set-up updates,...

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Obstacles to Better Broadband in Rural Communities

August 30, 2016
By Jessica Weber

bicycle-wheel.jpg

It's easy to lose perspective when you're working with and using technology. Something that seems so simple and fast, like transferring a file, requires a lot of "behind-the-scenes" work to happen. There's the physical limitations -- does the network even reach my location? -- and there's also resource limitations -- is there enough staff or money to make file transfers in this area a reality?

In a world where the Internet of Things (IOT) is becoming a common commodity and people in urban areas expect fast transfer speeds and instant data access, there are those outside the urban bubble, mainly rural communities, that still face a number of challenges to making fast and reliable data transfer a reality.

There are many reasons that these rural communities need faster and more reliable broadband connections. The infrastructure of a community relies heavily on the speedy communication between staff. Whether it be to put out a fire or respond to an emergency situation, people need to communicate quickly and efficiently. This is especially important in the realm of health care. Rural communities have a difficult time upgrading the technologies that would grant them faster access to health care specialists, who are most likely located in...

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Your Applications on Any Cloud, Across Many Clouds

August 16, 2016
By Ross Gray

Cloudsoft-Logo

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 Ross Gray, VP at Cloudsoft

Cloudsoft Application Management Platform (AMP) is software which streamlines the development and operation of applications. AMP orchestrates services, platforms, and infrastructures to ensure they directly meet the needs of applications, dynamically and in real time. This results in more reliable operations, productive development, and greater agility for IT to respond to their business needs. Now, Cloudsoft AMP is available on the CenturyLink Cloud Platform via Blueprint. CenturyLink Cloud works with Cloudsoft to provide agility and reliability throughout the application lifecycle, and provide users with the ability to build applications across any cloud, or across many clouds.

Behind the Cloud AMP Technology

AMP is built on a foundation of Apache Brooklyn, Clocker, Apache jclouds and other open source technologies. AMP collects and packages the open source projects Apache Brooklyn and Clocker. AMP’s autonomic policy-based management transforms cloud operations and liberates applications from infrastructure, allowing you to mix-and-match bare metal, virtual machines and containers.

Cloud AMP utilizes autonomic computing, a framework which...

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How to Conquer the New IT: Cloud, Network, and Managed Services

August 4, 2016
By David Shacochis, VP, Product Management for Hybrid IT Services

The 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide was just released - download it here, and to most readers it looks similar to last year. Two vendors are in the leaders quadrant, a sole vendor in the visionary quadrant, while a peloton of other platforms rounds out the niche quadrant. We agree with this characterization of the market, and thought it would be helpful to add some clarity to our niche strategy that currently supports thousands of enterprise customers around the world with their digital transformation journey.

There is a subtle nuance to the public cloud market worth noting: nearly all the leading providers have some other line of business that complements (or subsidizes) their cloud services. In this regard, CenturyLink is no different.

As the title of the piece suggests, our focus is on helping customers transform their IT operations through a cohesive set of services that span cloud, network, and management. We’ve seen how this can overcome obstacles to digital transformation that the pure-play platforms cannot erase on their own.

Many service providers in the market are focused exclusively on innovating within the cloud services layer, and then partnering for managed services and network connectivity....

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What’s the Big Grey Thing in the Corner?

July 28, 2016
By Kenny McBride

elephant

Has the 'elephant in the room' suddenly appeared or has the IT world merely been turning a blind eye when it comes to recognizing one of the most important facets of virtualization and cloud computing? There seems to be resistance to the inevitable and necessary restructuring of IT organizations in this new virtual, services-driven world.

Technology shifts are remaking the Chief Information Officer (CIO) career trajectory, and as a result organizations will have to evolve to meet these new demands and expectations. The increasing reliance on IT across the enterprise has seen the CIO evolve from being a 'function' leader to a 'business strategy' leader. Statements like: “We are more focused on business outcomes than technology,” will likely become the norm rather than the exception. The CIO role is evolving from a support-based position; it's now shifting to a role more closely-aligned to corporate strategist, especially in this rapidly-changing service-orientated cloud computing environment.

To get the most out of highly-virtualized, cloud-ready environments consumers and users have to rethink and realign IT organizations. Consider the typical organization of a data center, which usually contains a hardware department, a network department, and a storage department. Internal customers can no longer require separate equipment and...

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How to Build Cloud at Scale: The Secrets of Tinman

July 19, 2016
By Brandy Smith

cloud automation

The proliferation of mobile devices, rapid generation of data, and cheap broadband access (all contributing to the “Digital Tsunami”) has forced many data center providers to re-think how they build capacity, specifically public cloud capacity. Only a few of the traditional providers have transitioned to public cloud. For our part at CenturyLink in the last few years, we’ve expanded our reach to 14 public cloud nodes around the world. Each one offers a compelling mix of elastic services at a competitive price. And we are expanding in each data center constantly. Because of this expertise, many enterprise customers offload infrastructure management to us. But even as many of these businesses shift to public cloud, IT leaders often ask us about how they can run their on-premises deployments more effectively. To paraphrase “how can I bring some public cloud automation pixie dust to my private cloud deployment?” With that backdrop, we wanted to share some of the best practices behind one of our internal automation projects, Tinman. Tinman is a collection of APIs and scripts that ingests a rack of gear, then quickly transforms it into usable compute services. Tinman is how we bring new gear online, in a completely automated way.

Where to Get

...

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CenturyLink Cloud Provides the Top Price & Performance Value in Europe

June 29, 2016
By Kevin Yurica

CloudSpec1

Cloud Spectator, an independent testing organization, recently reported the results of benchmark testing on cloud performance across nine of the largest, most well-known public cloud providers with data centers in Europe. Across this group of cloud providers that included Google, Microsoft, Amazon AWS, IBM and others, CenturyLink Cloud® had the highest CloudSpecs™ Score in the test and was recognized as the cloud service provider offering the highest overall value to customers. This pattern has played out before in similar studies.

For 2016, Cloud Spectator has focused industry attention on the considerable performance variability across otherwise similar product offerings from different cloud vendors with operations in Europe - and they note that this observed performance variability directly impacts the value delivered to cloud customers. Based on testing against all the major public cloud vendors with data centers in Europe, Cloud Spectator describes three common misconceptions about performance in the cloud:

  • VM performance is pretty much the same across different cloud service providers (CSPs).

    False. Cloud Spectator netted entirely different performance results given similar VM configurations from different cloud service providers.

  • When it comes to performance, you get what you pay for.

    False. In this study focused on performance, Cloud Spectator found no real correlation between price and performance.

  • Resource

  • ...

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    NEM and Expanse Blockchain Automation Come to CenturyLink Cloud

    May 23, 2016
    By Chris Meyer, Product Analyst

    Blockchain Coin

    CenturyLink Cloud® announces new automation to deploy blockchain nodes for both NEM and Expanse services.

    What is a Blockchain and why is the Technology Significant?

    Blockchain is a catch-all term for a shared immutable cryptographic distributed database. In this special kind of database the data, commonly referred to as the 'ledger', is encrypted for security and permanently stored in numerous systems across geographically varied sites for diversity and redundancy.

    One of the top struggles of IT departments today is making data frictionless to consume by their customers, internal and external, yet doing so in a secure manner. With today’s technology and services those goals can be difficult to balance. Blockchain technology, however, can mitigate these concerns. By storing the data in an encrypted 'ledger' that spans numerous servers across the globe the data will be readably accessible at all times and secured against malicious modification.

    The applications for blockchain technology interacting with our daily lives could be limitless - from making land-records more secure and invulnerable to fraudulent behavior, facilitating secure communication between smart devices (IoT), to promoting real-time financial transactions between banks -- the possibilities go on and on. With just this small glimpse into the practical uses for blockchain, it is easy...

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    Benefits of Cloud Load Balancing

    May 9, 2016
    By Thomas Broadwell

    load-balancing.png

    Businesses large and small are leveraging the cloud to run a variety of applications that are critical to their success. Tools for sales and customer management, inventory management, expense tracking, file storage and sharing, websites, and custom applications are just a few of the many cloud-hosted services that keep businesses running. The scalable and global nature of the cloud helps to create affordable and flexible applications in a web hosting solution for most businesses today. Since servers host these applications in the cloud, it only makes sense to load balance the servers in the cloud as well.

    Proven Performance

    Real-world application performance can be unpredictable. To ensure maximum uptime and reliability, the CenturyLink Cloud® platform offers a portfolio of cloud load balancers to meet the unique requirements of your apps. Less complex applications can deploy shared load balancers, while more involved apps can use dedicated load balancers that support advanced OSI Model Layer 4 - Transport and Layer 7 - Application rules. SSL offloading is also available, from 100 Mbps to 500 Mbps.

    Cloud Load Balancing from CenturyLink uses a multi-tenant, scalable, and programmable infrastructure presented to the customer as a service. The Dedicated Load Balancer uses Citrix® NetScaler®, the industry’s leading web...

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    Sharpening the Cloudy Arrow

    May 4, 2016
    By Mike Kane

    dynclclogo

    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 Mike Kane, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, for Dyn.

    We’ve all done it at one time or another. You know… drawing a fuzzy arrow between two system components without really knowing exactly how the data is going to get from point A to point B. Almost every reference architecture scribbled on a white board has at least one such cloudy arrow. If the information has to travel between customers and users, as well as cloud and data center assets, typically the path is usually not well understood. Yet these paths can have as much impact on service performance as anything else. The situation requires deeper examination.

    The chances are, unless you’re specialized in network operations, you may not be completely aware of the nuances and challenges involved in moving data and procedure calls on the Internet. It’s time to get on it though. As your organization transitions from on-premises infrastructure to cloud-based and Hybrid architectures, you will likely find yourself relying on...

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    Meet Runner, the Newest Multi-Cloud Automation and Orchestration Service

    May 2, 2016
    By Chris Kent, Product Owner

    CenturyLink Cloud Runner from CenturyLink Cloud on Vimeo.

    CenturyLink is excited to announce the launch of Runner, a configuration management and orchestration service that works across Hybrid-IT architectures and diverse cloud environments. Runner addresses the potential time and resource drain confronting organizations that want their own private clouds. It reduces private cloud complexity and administrative workload by allowing for fast and easy automation of infrastructure in any cloud or data center. It offers fast, easy automation and orchestration on the CenturyLink Cloud® Platform, as well as on third-party cloud providers and on-premise infrastructures and devices. With Runner, you can quickly provision and modify resources on any environment.

    What is Runner?

    Runner is automation made simple! Runner exposes an open source automation and orchestration engine as a service. On top of the engine, we’ve created custom services and APIs to enhance job execution capabilities. Runner was created to enable users to quickly and efficiently manage their infrastructure, wherever it is. Runner securely connects customers to their infrastructure whether on the CenturyLink Platform, other clouds, or private data centers, allowing for both push and pull-based communication. Whether provisioning, configuring, or deploying, Runner makes it easy to quickly create and run jobs, report on the...

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    CenturyLink Cloud Price Drops: More Scale, More Automation & We Pass the Savings on to You

    April 20, 2016
    By Jared Ruckle, Product Owner

    clouddollarsign

    CenturyLink is pleased to announce price reductions for several of our flagship public cloud services around the world.

    Highlights:

    The CenturyLink Cloud® online estimator, TCO tool, and product pages have been updated to reflect our lower prices. The lower prices are effective for customers retroactive to April 1, 2016. And the customer invoices delivered for April will reflect the price changes noted above.

    Public Cloud Economies of Scale at Work for You

    This is the benefit of the public cloud – large providers like CenturyLink buy the gear and write automation software to run it efficiently. Part of the scale we can achieve at CenturyLink with our public cloud is due to our other infrastructure services – colocation, and hosting products in over 60 data centers, as well as a world-class fiber network....

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    Unleash the Power of the Platform

    April 20, 2016
    By Jonathan Townsend

    cloud-technology.jpg

    Unleash the Power of the Platform

    Understanding not only what the CenturyLink Cloud® Platform is, but how to use it to get the most out of the products, services, and offerings, requires more than a surface-level view. In essence, our goal is to show you how to really engage with the CenturyLink Cloud Platform. We created a quick "Platform Overview" video to cover a wide array of our platform offerings and to show you how you can easily build and customize our catalog of products and services to fit your specific business needs; and most importantly, manage them seamlessly with just a few clicks. Watch the video below to learn how to utilize the CenturyLink Cloud Platform and transform how you deliver services to your customers.

    2016 CenturyLink Cloud Platform Walkthrough. from CenturyLink Cloud on Vimeo.

    clc-platform-dashboard

    Customizable Control at your Fingertips

    The CenturyLink Cloud Platform is comprised of IaaS, PaaS, and cloud management features that make it easier to manage and operate resources. Users can engage the platform by using the Control Portal, API's, and SDK's. There's a lot that goes into managing and building a cloud environment, such as thinking about the entire lifecycle of your resources. The Control Portal unlocks full functionality...

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    Data at Risk – What to do?

    April 14, 2016
    By Justin Withington

    DR_start

    Why Data Protection Services are Important

    Data backup and restoration is critical on both a personal and business continuity level. From personal photos to customer financial information, data is always at risk of being lost. These risk factors range from user error to natural disaster; it’s not a matter of “if”, but "when." The associated downtime of these sudden events can cripple businesses. Those who are prepared can resume operations swiftly and not only minimize financial impact, but seize the opportunity to gain new business from competitors whose operations may be nonfunctional. The consequences of data loss can be so great that many businesses are forced on a regulatory level to maintain consistent copies of data.

    What Solution is Right for You?

    So you have important data that you don’t want to lose -- what next? With the myriad of choices, it may be difficult to determine what product provides the best fit for your needs. The first step in the selection process is to ask yourself “What am I trying to protect and why?”. Are you trying to ensure your precious memories are not erased forever? Perhaps you need to protect your sensitive client information from vandalism or system failure, or even...

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    CenturyLink Cloud in Australia: Our 14th Public Cloud Node is Live

    April 12, 2016
    By Chris Levanes, Director of Cloud & Managed Hosting, APAC

    Australia-cloud

    CenturyLink Cloud® is open for business Down Under.

    The new Sydney location features our portfolio of compute, storage, and networking products, fully self-service, elastic, and on-demand.

    Now, businesses operating or based in Australia can now turn to a single, trusted provider for public and private Cloud infrastructure, managed services, colocation, networking and support for advanced Hybrid IT scenarios. The Sydney site is our 14th public cloud node, and is federated with our other locations in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Singapore.

    CenturyLink Cloud’s infrastructure and platform offers customers an enterprise-ready path to leveraging cloud services to meet their business and IT requirements. Users can deploy a wide range of applications on our infrastructure – lift-and-shift migrations, traditional three-tier apps, and new cloud native patterns.

    Key CenturyLink Differentiators

    So what's different about CenturyLink's services? What's unique for the Australian market?

    • CenturyLink Cloud offers built-in cloud management, automation and orchestration capabilities to help customers enable business agility with self-service. Bundled billing and governance features reduce runaway spending or bill shock.

    • Customers can provision highly-configurable virtual servers instantly. These can then be connected to our full portfolio of Hybrid IT services– Colocation, Managed Hosting and Network, to deliver real-world applications running in across different islands of compute.

    • Customers

    ...

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    Capacity Planning for Cloud Platforms, Part 2

    March 28, 2016
    By Ryan Kirk, Principal Data Scientist, CenturyLink Cloud

    capacity-planning2.jpg

    In Part 1 of our two-part series on Capacity Planning for Cloud Platforms, we tackled some major factors relating to what capacity planning is, why it's a constantly evolving exercise, and how best to prepare and forecast for future business, platform, and customer needs. Capacity planning for a cloud-based platform requires a careful look at the business landscape with regards to assessing future expected levels, and needs. Considerations such as purchasing decisions and patterns in conjunction with their associated cadences heavily impact and dictate capacity planning and implementation.

    In Part 2 of the series, we're going to discuss capacity planning with regards to forecasting for different types of devices, customer behavior and process-orientated build patterns, integration strategies, and handling the unexpected.

    How we Forecast for Different Types of Devices

    The cloud platform is an infrastructure of connected devices of different types and different manufactures. Fortunately, there are many similarities between devices from different manufactures. For capacity planning purposes, these similarities between manufacturers often allow us to treat different devices similarly as long as they are the same type of device. There are many types of devices such as: network devices, storage devices, and compute devices. For both business and technical reasons, our forecast...

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    Ecosystem: Easy Solutions to Cloud Complexity

    March 15, 2016
    By Jeff Meacham

    Cloud Complexity

    CenturyLink Cloud has an impressive track record over the past few years of delivering new features and functionality to its platform. To wit: Frost & Sullivan recently recognized CenturyLink as its Company of the Year for the North American Cloud Industry. The report details how CenturyLink is meeting the needs of the next generation of technical and line-of-business cloud users. CenturyLink Award

    One aspect of CenturyLink Cloud’s approach worth highlighting is the simplicity of deploying add-on tech to complete a complex, hybrid cloud solution.

    CenturyLink Ecosystem

    CenturyLink introduced its Partner Ecosystem in early 2015. Since then, partners have introduced over 200 solutions that solve specific business needs.

    What’s more, these solutions can be deployed instantly by using CenturyLink’s built-in orchestration framework called Blueprints. Blueprints are pre-packaged workflows that can be defined and re-played at any time on the platform. Custom configuration settings are entered in minutes during deployment. Blueprint Framework

    How can this Ecosystem work for you? Let’s start with Disaster Recovery (DR), a common workload for enterprises just beginning their cloud journey. Public cloud is great for DR for three key reasons:

    • No CapEx: No new capital outlays are required in the form of new hardware or a build-out of a secondary data center.
    • Easy to Get Started: Point-and-click to
    ...

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    Container Management Made Easy: Kubernetes on CenturyLink Cloud

    March 2, 2016
    By Chris Kleban, Product Manager - CenturyLink Cloud

    Today, we’ve announced a new way for developers to quickly deploy Docker containers on CenturyLink Cloud with automated scripts to configure and launch Kubernetes, the open source container orchestration system.

    Docker Logo   Kubernetes Logo

    Why Docker and Kubernetes?

    Docker containers allow you to run your software across multiple platforms, giving you reduced load times, version control, and reusable software components while removing the need to manage shared software dependencies. Kubernetes is the open-source platform for automating the deployment, scaling, and operations of application containers across clusters of hosts. Together, Docker and Kubernetes enable our customers to accelerate development, simplify operations, and deliver a truly open hybrid cloud strategy.

    Both Docker and Kubernetes are open-source projects with large active communities. They are constantly rolling out new features and are being used in both small and large scale production environments.

    Types of Applications

    Docker and Kubernetes are the ideal combination for many types of applications. They enable 12-factor applications, micro-services, and cloud-native applications, as well as more traditional back-end services like databases, big data stacks, and file stores. Using a "pets" versus "cattle" analogy, this solution provides you with the tools required to run your applications like "cattle", not "pets".

    Why Kubernetes on CenturyLink Cloud?

    CenturyLink’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offers on-demand virtual and...

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    Capacity Planning for Cloud Platforms, Part 1

    February 29, 2016
    By Ryan Kirk, Principal Data Scientist, CenturyLink Cloud

    cloudCP

    What is capacity planning for the cloud, why does this problem matter?

    The cloud promises to provide scale-free access to a variety of platforms, services, and infrastructures. This is especially true for customers who want to trade the expensive “cost of assets” and their management for the much smaller “incremental just-in-time” ability to grow their own applications and technologies, as dictated by the requirements of their business. The need for an underlying set of computational resources is common to all of the offerings on cloud ecosystems. Essentially, providers require a solution that can accurately predict the projected levels of demand needs to coincide with current operational processes to aid in capacity planning and load.

    Capacity planning for cloud platforms is both similar to and different from “on-premises” capacity planning. It is similar in that we can project our future expectations based upon our current utilization patterns. However, it is different for at least two substantial reasons. Firstly, cloud platforms represent a large, often global network of interconnected devices - this means that accurate forecasts initially require building a map of the network and devices based both upon device hierarchy and device function. Secondly, cloud platforms allow the consumption of each customer to...

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    Hybrid IT: Why Cloud Delivery Matters

    December 16, 2015
    By David Shacochis

    In meeting with customers and partners over the past several months, I hear one question on a regular basis: "We like the flexibility of your Hybrid IT portfolio, but why are you building a public cloud?" As recently stated by our CTO, we are committed to a next generation cloud user experience for the delivery of our primary business: managed services across data center and network .

    To understand why we are using this approach, it’s helpful to think about the writings of Nick Carr. His 2003 Harvard Business Review article "IT Doesn’t Matter," touched off a firestorm of debate throughout our industry, especially within the vendor community.

    It’s easy to see what Mr. Carr got right. He correctly observed that the client-server era led to companies over-estimating the discrete value of IT device technology. He stressed the importance of strategic alignment between information technology and business stakeholders. He predicted the rise of cloud computing and utility-like pricing based on consumption.

    And while there are valid criticisms afforded by a decade of hindsight, Carr’s fundamental truth holds up today. IT isn’t valuable unto itself; its value is derived from what it allows the larger organization to...

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    Colocation: Why Go There?

    December 14, 2015
    By Matt Farrell

    Colocation-globe

    In today's IT market place, decision makers are often burdened with finding the right hosting mix. The challenge is often determining where the business services would best fit: into Colocation, Managed Hosting, or Cloud? Or is it possible that a Hybrid IT model is most effective? The answers to those questions are not always clear. This blog focuses on Colocation Services; and how to determine when Colocation Services may be the right choice for you. While Cloud Services seem to demand a majority of the market attention, Colocation offers the value of owners economics. Colocation allows for more control and predictable traffic patterns, as it provides monthly OpEx. We aim to provide a comprehensive definition of the Colocation space while focusing on some of the more prominent benefits of Colocation. In addition, this post will distinguish when Colocation may make more sense versus other IT spaces.

    What is Colocation?

    At its core, Colocation is pretty simple. Retail Colocation providers offer space, physical security, power, and cooling for the server, storage, and networking equipment of other firms. Colocation providers further offer the ability to connect to an ecosystem of cloud, platform, ISV, telecommunications and network service providers - with minimum cost...

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    Taking a Different Look at WordPress

    December 7, 2015
    By Andy Watson

    what-is-wordpress.png

    What is WordPress?

    Today, nearly 25% of the sites on the Internet are WordPress sites. WordPress is an open source project that started out as just a blogging site has grown into a robust user-driven Content Management System (CMS). With WordPress, the use-cases are unlimited. There are thousands of plugins, themes, and widgets that help extend and add to the functionality available in WordPress.

    In addition to all that WordPress has to offer, there is an extensive and helpful community of WordPress users around the world. Questions and answers can be found in support forums, mailing lists, WordCamps and, if that is not enough, thousands of video presentations exist and are being added to on wordpress.tv to help everyone, from the beginner to the expert.

    Ways to Integrate WordPress on CenturyLink Cloud

    WordPress - Blueprint

    The CenturyLink Blueprint provides a click-through solution to install and configure WordPress on a new or existing server in the Linux platform.

    CenturyLink Cloud works with Bitnami to provide open source software integrations to its customers. Bitnami is a library of popular server applications and development environments that can be installed with one click, either in your laptop, on a virtual machine (VM) or hosted in the cloud. Bitnami takes care...

    Read on...

    Colocation Buyer’s Guide

    November 19, 2015
    By Joseph Nguyen

    Colocation-globe

    In regards to Colocation, the saying: "You get what you pay for...” is especially true. Generally, the least expensive quote does not always offer the best value. In this article, we will cover an array of important topics that affect the cost-to-benefits ratio in an effort to arm you with the necessary knowledge to make educated decisions throughout the process. Whether you are just beginning the quest of determining if Colocation is a viable option for your business, or are just starting to shop the market for providers, this guide highlights some of the things to consider throughout the process.

    Meet with the Prospective Teams

    Talk with the sales and technical staff to gauge if their knowledge and routines are a match for your business needs, which is important because they will become an extension of your existing team. The staff will help you support equipment, answer questions, and you can leverage them to provide additional insight on the best practices for deploying and scaling your operations.

    Schedule a site visit.

    A site visit is a must. Evaluate the site and confirm everything is "as promised" while gaining a deeper understanding of what will be available in the future. This is a great time...

    Read on...

    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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    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...

    Read on...

    Real-time Data Distribution with Apache Kafka

    August 21, 2015
    By Chris Kleban

    Like most enterprises and service providers, at CenturyLink we aim to please our customers by making data-based decisions. As our business grows, so does the amount of data we collect. The effort required to distill, distribute and analyze the data in meaningful ways was increasingly strenuous to our team. In short, we needed to become faster with our analytics. If your organization is becoming overwhelmed with data, read on, as I’ll share how the Cloud analytics team used Apache Kafka to solve the following challenges with collecting and distributing data at scale:

    • Efficient access to data
    • Speed
    • Scalability
    • Distributed, Fault Tolerant, and Highly Available

    Challenge #1: Efficient access to data

    Getting access to data is sometimes the hardest part. Sometimes the data that you need lives in some isolated software service and a one-off data export is required. Perhaps your data integration flow is overly-complex due to your adoption of a service-oriented architecture (SOA). Maybe you have a process that requires multiple teams to perform work before data is moved around. We saw all of this and more, and decided to make it easier to move our data to increase the overall velocity of our organization. Our data distribution flow between services looked something like this:

    Previous...

    Read on...

    Different Hosts for Different Folks – Agile Infrastructure Services & You

    July 16, 2015
    By Jared Ruckle, Product Management

    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...

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    Automated Patching: Improving security and efficiency in the Cloud

    June 25, 2015
    By Navin Arora, Operating Systems Product Manager

    Cloud computing has automated the traditional IT world, reducing application development time, while increasing speed and agility. Most of the automation has focused on things that are mostly short term in nature, like spinning the servers up and down with the change in demand. However, when running critical applications, it’s important to keep servers patched and constantly up to date.

    Maintaining server patching is as crucial in the IT world as maintaining our cars in our day-to-day lives. Patching keeps servers healthy to fight malicious viruses, repel hacker attacks and perform like well-tuned cars. Most managed hosting customers have their servers manually patched, by scheduling this with their service provider. However, self-managed customers have to patch their own servers, a process that is tedious and time consuming, as they must manually check for updates and install them.

    CenturyLink Cloud now offers Patching as a Service to all our customers, both those that we manage as well as those that are self-managed, providing an automated, self-service patching approach that is both simple and provides for greater cloud security.

    CenturyLink customers can now patch their servers, whenever they want, through any of the following three methods:

  • Blueprint- simply run the appropriate blueprint for the OS -

  • ...

    Read on...

    Seven Secrets to High Availability in the Cloud

    June 4, 2015
    By Kevin Yurica, Product Marketing Manager

    It’s no secret that enterprise applications are increasingly being operated in ‘cloudy’ environments. When systems are moved to the cloud, they often are moved partially or relocated in stages that are instep with the evolution of other IT systems. Even when traditional back-end enterprise systems such as ERP, data warehouse and similar systems remain entirely in-place, they’re increasingly being augmented or extended with vendor software and services that reside in the cloud. For example, many organizations have already integrated Salesforce.com into their back-end enterprise systems, and these back-end systems often reside on premise or in a colocation environment. Thus, Hybrid IT is already the current reality for many IT organizations and is on the road to becoming ubiquitous. Optimizing Hybrid IT architectures, from an availability perspective, is the central question considered here. If Hybrid IT is the new normal, then what are the implications for how we design and manage systems that run across multiple data centers in different locations? In a new whitepaper titled the ‘Seven Secrets to High Availability in the Cloud’, lessons are borrowed from distributed computing and applied to Hybrid IT scenarios which reveal opportunities for improving availability, despite growing complexity.

    The ‘Seven Secrets to High Availability...

    Read on...

    Welcome To The New IT

    May 12, 2015
    By Jon Reeve

    We are squarely in what I like to call the “2nd inning” of cloud. In my discussions with prospects and customers, the conversations have taken on a distinctly “enterprise” feel to them, reminding me of previous technology waves and disruptions, like client-server, and virtualization before. A new report from Frost and Sullivan outlines this shift, as the so called “new IT” tries to better align with the needs of the business and business outcomes.

    This starts with the business drivers themselves – while Cloud may have started as a great tool, providing on-demand access to scalable infrastructure resources to support dev/test and web app build outs, it has clearly progressed into something much more strategic.

    Frost and Sullivan demonstrate this very clearly with their survey of US-based IT decision-makers and the shift in attitudes in just 3 short years:

    Top Reasons Enterprises Choose Cloud, 2011 versus 2014

    2011 2014
    Defer server purchases, 46% Achieve IT flexibility and agility, 71%
    Defer/avoid data center expansion, 42% Deliver services and applications faster, 70%
    Achieve high return on investment, 35% Better support business needs, 68%

    Source: Frost & White, SPIE 14-26, Cloud Adoption Reaches a Long-Awaited Tipping Point 2014 Cloud User Survey (July 2014).

    The winds have acutely changed from tactical (defer server purchases) to...

    Read on...

    Clarifying the Cloud Costing Conundrum: New Open Source Tools Do the Trick

    April 23, 2015
    By Jared Ruckle, Product Manager

    A few years ago, understanding costs in the cloud was refreshingly simple: pay by the drink compute, storage and network. But as the market matured, it’s gotten more difficult.

    Vendors have begun to differentiate. Third-party add-ons have filled specific gaps in features. An explosion of providers are competing for an ever-larger chunk of budget from an increasingly diverse customer base.

    About a year ago, CenturyLink launched an online Cloud Total Cost of Ownership Tool with one simple goal: provide an unbiased apples-to-apples comparison between our offering and selected competitors. It has helped buyers understand the intricacies of the cloud computing market, and what the best value for them might be, even if it’s not CenturyLink.

    Centurylink Cloud Total Cost of Ownership Tool

    To increase the utility of this app, we’ve contributed the Cloud TCO Tool to the open-source world under the Apache 2 license. You can view the repo on Github.

    If this sounds familiar, it's because we did something similar with our Cloud Services Estimator.

    How does the TCO tool simplify cloud comparisons?

    Normalized Compute Performance

    Performance across providers is hard to compare for two key reasons:

    • Instance sizes. Some providers have a “T-shirt” model with fixed-instance sizes, while others offer the flexibility to resize on the fly.
    • Underlying hardware. Is your virtual machine running
    ...

    Read on...

    Cloud Services Estimator: Now Open Source for the Channel

    February 24, 2015
    By Nathan Young, Creative Director

    CenturyLink Cloud Price Estimator

    The advent of cloud computing has brought about one of the largest business opportunities in decades for managed services providers, system integrators and VARs many of whom have adapted their business models to offer the agility provided by elastic infrastructure.

    CenturyLink has been a popular destination for enterprises and partners alike, with some of our partners choosing to white label and resell our product. The capabilities that enable this are a major differentiator of our platform. We constantly look for ways to enable our partners to pass value onto their customers and today we are happy to add another tool to their belt.

    We are pleased to announce that we are contributing our Cloud Cost Estimator tool to the open-source community under the Apache 2 license. This web app makes it easy to estimate a monthly bill for a customized set of resources on the CenturyLink Cloud service.

    As we’ve marketed cloud to our own end user customers, this estimator has been an invaluable tool to help buyers understand the costs associated with building and managing apps in the cloud. Deep visibility and monitoring coupled with showback and chargeback capabilities extend the value once resources are up and running.

    Now, our channel partners can...

    Read on...

    Pets & Cattle: Self-Service VM Import Makes the Case for Co-Existence

    February 4, 2015
    By Jared Ruckle

    Metaphors are common in tech. They help explain new concepts to the masses in familiar terms. The most common cloud metaphor? Pets and cattle – often used to underscore how users should think differently about infrastructure and application design patterns in the cloud. The phrase was first publicized by Randy Bias (more good reading on the topic is here and here).

    Cattle

    SHERBURN, MN

    Cloud-native apps — in the enterprise and otherwise — are almost exclusively run on instances best described as cattle. Why the term cattle?

    • Cattle are given numbers
    • They are similar to other cattle
    • When one gets sick, you get another one

    Instances that are cattle can be quickly destroyed and replaced thanks to automation and modern application architecture.

    Startups tend to use cattle for their flagship IP, with SaaS products to run their IT ops.

    Go even further, and platform-as-a-service offerings like Cloud Foundry abstracts the management of cattle away altogether.

    Pets

    Exploring Kittens

    In contrast, VMs that are pets are given names, and cared for extensively in the hopes of a long and happy life. Pets are more common in the enterprise world, where there’s an incumbent application portfolio that’s broad, diverse, and highly fragmented.

    • Pets are given names like pussinboots.cern.ch
    • They are unique, lovingly hand raised and
    ...

    Read on...

    Use Cloud Network Service for Making Hybrid Cloud a Reality

    January 27, 2015
    By Robert Lesieur, Director of Product Management

    Enterprises and large organizations are quickly adopting hybrid clouds in order to balance agility, cost of operations, and security requirements. Gartner predicts that 50% of all enterprises will use hybrid cloud by 2017. Public cloud offers a balance of agility and control for applications that require continuous development methodologies and flexible scaling, while private clouds provide extensive security and compliance features, as well as low cost models for steady capacity applications. Tying these models together requires thoughtful networking.

    CenturyLink's Cloud Network Service (CNS) is the unifying element tying public or private cloud together with dedicated hosting or colocation options into a hybrid cloud. It’s a robust Ethernet data center network service that is delivered in either a shared or dedicated model, with a menu of options carefully chosen to meet the needs of the vast majority of our customers.

    In addition to providing connectivity amongst heterogeneous compute islands such as public cloud, colocation and dedicated hosting, CNS provides the ability to chain enhanced services such as load balancers, firewalls and WAN services such as CenturyLink IQ, CenturyLink’s MPLS circuit products. (note: CNS itself does not provide WAN capabilities.). Customers experience a significant reduction in the complexity and cost of private...

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    On Multi-Cloud Management: the Incremental and the Transformative

    December 9, 2014
    By Jared Ruckle, Senior Product Manager. Find Jared on Twitter

    Public cloud has so many enterprise IT execs excited.  The excitement stems from the right objectives (agility, OpEx, getting out of the infrastructure business), but is often associated with false expectations. 

    Namely, the idea of an expansive, highly-centralized multi-cloud strategy.  In this scenario, an IT pro manages multiple clouds with ease.  Key to this vision: a “single pane of glass” management and orchestration layer.

    The idea is solid – it hypothetically delivers interoperability, access to innovation across providers, and pricing arbitrage.  Who doesn’t want to seamlessly move workloads across clouds, without missing out on new features or price drops?

    But the reality doesn’t match up.  Here are the problems:

    • Cloud interoperability is very difficult to achieve.  From a slew of service provider APIs, and a few open source ones, to monitoring, metering and identity and access requirements – just to name a few – its clear that “lifting and shifting” workloads from one place to another is not as easy at it might seem at first glance.
    • New features from each cloud provider take time to integrate into each 3rd party management tool. These vendors need to keep pace with innovation as well.  By definition, they will always be a few steps behind the
    ...

    Read on...

    Cloud Strategy Checkup

    November 26, 2014
    By Jared Ruckle, Senior Product Manager. Find Jared on Twitter

    Our usual posts here focus on practical, hands-on advice for getting the most out of CenturyLink Cloud and the new capabilities we continuously rollout.

    But sometimes, it’s helpful to step back and look at the big picture – particularly if your enterprise is managing scores of cloud apps from dozens of vendors.

    Many customers we speak with are feeling the pain of this situation.  It’s not quite “Shadow IT,” because IT knows what’s happening.  But it’s the pain that comes with a lack of focus or cohesion around a much smaller set of strategic vendors.

    Does this sound like your situation?  If so, have a look at our top six recommendations for advancing your Cloud strategy. The content is foundational, and may be messages you’ve heard before.  But it’s a great refresher as your business seeks to further the competitive advantage gained through cloud adoption.

    ...

    Read on...

    Five Features to Secure Your Cloud Future

    November 12, 2014
    By Ben Brauer and Steve White

    When enterprises make decisions on which cloud services to consider, security is the ultimate “table stakes” capability that any cloud provider must prove. There has been great innovation in the industry to assuage mainstream adopters, but not all cloud service providers are consistent in areas of identity management, network security, data security, threat prevention, and more.  Organizations and individuals still need to pay close attention to whether cloud service providers are delivering these five main security features:

  • Standards-based integration with identity management providers: Integrated identity has become a key enabler to quickly provision and (more importantly), de-provision access to company resources and data. To facilitate this, the service should have an identity solution for their management tools that quickly and easily integrates with existing processes used by the customer through a standards-based mechanism such as Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0, OAuth 2.0 with OpenID Connect, etc. This type of integration also provides complete control over password complexity rules, expiration, and the ability to require various forms of multi-factor authentication. In addition to standards-based integration, the service should also provide an easy-to-use, stand-alone multi-factor authentication (MFA) mechanism for those customers who don’t already have an existing identity management solution. This encourages
  • ...

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    CenturyLink Expanding our Cloud Managed Services to the UK

    September 21, 2014
    By [email protected], or follow me: @jimbattenberg

    Today we are pleased to announce one-click access to cloud-based managed services on the CenturyLink Cloud in the UK.

    CenturyLink Cloud managed services provide automated provisioning of operating systems and applications – check the box when you need them, uncheck when you don’t – all billed hourly.  When paired with our easy-to-use cloud infrastructure, you get up and running quickly with the peace of mind you need from managed apps and operating systems.

    Now customers in the UK or global customers using UK nodes can mix and match cloud-based managed services, public and private cloud, and even colocation – all under one roof. This suits enterprises who want to embrace hybrid IT as part of their cloud journey, as well as those who just want to leave legacy applications where they are for the time being, but have access to the flexibility of cloud infrastructure when they need it.

    With this launch, customers can take advantage of the following services from our Slough data center: Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux managed operating systems, as well as managed applications Active Directory, Apache HTTP Server, Apache Tomcat, Microsoft Internet Information Services, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL.

    And, if you want even more assistance, our cloud...

    Read on...

    Private Cloud: Tradeoffs and Transformation

    August 15, 2014
    By Jared Ruckle, Senior Product Manager. Find Jared on Twitter

    A few weeks ago, we announced CenturyLink Private Cloud – a new approach to the private cloud segment that offers breakthrough simplicity for large enterprises.  CenturyLink Private Cloud is designed for those looking to deploy a transformational private cloud, instead of eking out incremental gains.

    Entering a new market segment is a significant undertaking for any product organization.  Every solution requires a series of trade-offs —just ask any product manager - and development of the CenturyLink Private Cloud is no exception.  So what were the trade-offs that we made, and how do they compare to other private cloud alternatives?  For a little insight into how we evaluated the private cloud market landscape and our decision making process, read on.

    Homegrown solutions

    Successful private cloud deployments – though more common these days – remain elusive. The brave souls that pursue a “do-it-yourself” approach often discover that:

    • Building a cloud is hard (especially the self-service and automation)
    • Running a cloud to 99.99% SLAs is hard
    • Just because you call it cloud doesn’t mean it is one
    • Users do not automatically gravitate to what you build
    • Lots of time and money are wasted when these lessons are learned the hard way. Forrester Research posted this great analysis of DIY private clouds:
    ...

    Read on...

    Recognizing the Challenges of Hybrid Cloud – Part IV

    August 9, 2014
    By Richard Seroter, Director of Product Management. Find Richard on Twitter

    Hybrid cloud is becoming a standard operating model for many organizations. But how can you realize the expected agility when there are so many challenges ahead of you? In this series of articles, we’ve dissected each challenge and proposed some corresponding solutions. Whether you’re facing security and network concerns, or integration and system management issues, it’s critical to have a proactive plan in place. This final article rounds out the discussion by looking at ways to address the issues around portability, compatibility, and your existing toolset.

    Solutions to Hybrid Cloud Challenges

    In many cases, a hybrid cloud is the combination of complimentary – but not identical – computing environments. This means that processes, techniques, and tools that work in one place may not work in another.

    Compatibility. Gluing together two distinct environments does not come without challenges. Now, it’s possible that you have the same technology stack in both the public and private cloud environment, but the users, technology, and processes may be dissimilar!

      *Move above the hypervisor. Even if your public cloud provider supports the import and export of virtual machines in a standard format, no legitimate public cloud exposes hypervisor configurations to the user. If you want...

    Read on...

    Recognizing the Challenges of Hybrid Cloud – Part III

    August 8, 2014
    By Richard Seroter, Director of Product Management. Find Richard on Twitter

    As hybrid cloud adoption grows, proper architecture and design of these solutions becomes critical. In the first part of this article series, we discussed the challenges any organization faces when linking public and private cloud environments. The second article outlined strategies for mitigating the network and security challenges of hybrid cloud. In this third of four articles, we will assess success strategies for application integration and system management in hybrid clouds.

    Solutions to Hybrid Cloud Challenges

    Data and Application Integration. Nearly every useful system is made up of data and business logic from multiple applications. Siloed, monolithic systems are fading in popularity as more dynamic systems take their place. But as you look to work with data and applications in a hybrid cloud, you need to keep a few things in mind.

      *Recognize the presence of data gravity. The concept of data gravity—a principle identified by Dave McCrory that claims that applications and services are drawn closer to large collections of data—comes to play in a hybrid cloud. Do you find yourself shuttling data back and forth over long distances? Would it make sense to move some of your large data repositories to whichever cloud most of the consuming applications...

    Read on...

    Recognizing the Challenges of Hybrid Cloud – Part II

    August 4, 2014
    By Richard Seroter, Director of Product Management. Find Richard on Twitter

    Many organizations are adopting hybrid clouds – a bridge of public and private cloud environments – but there are many pitfalls along the way. In the first part of this article series, we looked at the challenges that any organization faces in their hybrid cloud journey. Now it’s time to see how to overcome these challenges. In this second of four articles, we will revisit the first set of hybrid cloud challenges and discuss strategies for success.

    Solutions to Hybrid Cloud Challenges

    Lasting success with a hybrid cloud requires strategic planning, investment, and yes, some compromise. By definition, you are using services that are outside of your control. Hence, existing processes and technologies may need to be revisited if you want meaningful integration and the flood of efficiencies that follow.

    Keep in mind that every part of your organization cannot accommodate the same level of change associated with a hyper-efficient hybrid cloud. Lydia Leong of Gartner points out that organizations with “bimodal IT” – where pockets of traditional IT and agile IT co-exist – are most successful when they do NOT have a universal set of processes, tools, and skills. If your IT organization is bimodal, consider which parts of the organization...

    Read on...

    Explaining the Managed Cloud with Three Key Equations

    July 26, 2014
    By David Shacochis, VP Cloud Platform. Find David On Twitter

    Having been in the cloud infrastructure business since it came into existence, I’ve seen a number of different market forces shape and disrupt the industry.  The business side of my brain tends to focus on everything that’s changing.  But the engineering side of my brain tends to look for sustained constants in all the volatility. Sounds like a big data problem! Our data science team has crunched the numbers, and here are the key equations that help shape the managed cloud.

    Ownership != Control

    IT leaders often mistake having a tight grip on asset ownership with a tight grip on the steering wheel. With good but slightly misguided intentions, they want to own everything they use. This can lead to over-expenditure on common, undifferentiated hardware as well as under-utilized, over-engineered software products.  The own-it-all approach also builds a strong correlation between new IT projects and business growth initiatives, a situation that leaves IT permanently behind in delivering value to the business.

    The critical challenge for any IT department is to provide an agility platform that addresses the digital needs of the business under competitive pressure.  The goal is to have true command and control over all IT resources, even if you don’t actually...

    Read on...

    CenturyLink Makes Massive Private Cloud Massively Easy - Deploy in Over 55 Locations in 7 Countries

    July 20, 2014
    By Jared Ruckle, Product Management

    Public cloud is an important part of enterprise IT.  Why?  Self-service.  APIs.  Automation.  Access to new features regularly.  Global reach. Outsourcing of infrastructure management.  OpEx consumption.

    But it’s not the be-all, end-all.

    Enterprise apps will always require a range of infrastructure options – Hybrid IT – including bare metal, traditional hosting…and private cloud.

    The private cloud market is relatively immature (more on this in a forthcoming blog post).  The more we looked at this segment, the more we saw an opportunity to offer customers a unique value proposition.

    “You got chocolate in my peanut butter…”

    With CenturyLink Private Cloud, we’ve combined our approach to public cloud with the most important elements of a private cloud.

    Public cloud-style agility, scale, and automation – running on dedicated hardware with physical isolation.  Available in over 55 data centers worldwide.  That’s CenturyLink Private Cloud.

    We spare customers from the drudgery of infrastructure management, while offering more control over what truly matters: everything that happens from the platform up.

    For example, administrators dictate who has access to the pod and what they can do on it – while wielding complete authority to govern how the node is used day-to-day.  If an instance in the public cloud is an apartment in a large building,...

    Read on...

    Recognizing the Challenges of Hybrid Cloud – Part I

    July 18, 2014
    By Richard Seroter, Director of Product at CenturyLink Cloud

    CIOs are adopting the hybrid cloud paradigm in droves, as we recently pointed out in a Forbes.com contributing article. As public cloud adoption continues to surge, organizations are turning their attention to connecting public compute resources to infrastructure residing in on-premises data centers. Can you just set up a VPN between the sites and call it a day? Hardly. Establishing a meaningful hybrid cloud requires considerate planning across many dimensions. How will you secure it? What does it mean to maintain services across organizational boundaries? Are workloads portable between environments? In this first of four blog articles, we’ll look at some of the biggest challenges that you’ll face as you set up a hybrid cloud environment.

    What Challenges Will You Face?

    Any vendor or consultant who promises a “seamless and straightforward” hybrid cloud is not being realistic. There are technical, cultural, and logistical challenges that await you. Let’s discuss a few that you should prepare for.

    Security. This is usually the first item in any list regarding cloud computing, so why not this one too? As you plan out or mature your hybrid cloud, issues like compliance, identity management, and data protection will be front and center. Can you ensure data sovereignty...

    Read on...

    5 Reasons You Will Love this CenturyLink Cloud News (Including a Price Update!)

    April 1, 2014
    By Jared Wray, CenturyLink Cloud CTO

    When CenturyLink acquired Tier 3 in November, our newly integrated cloud team promised customers big things – faster innovation and access to more capabilities, to name a few.  The team has delivered in the first 140 days: new services and an expanded footprint.  Our Cloud SVP Andrew Higginbotham shares the results here by the numbers.

    Another benefit?  Scale.  That leads to lower costs, which CenturyLink can pass along to customers.  Today, we’re pleased to announce a major price reduction for CenturyLink Cloud services. 

    For our clients, and businesses considering cloud, here’s what you need to know about these changes:

  • The new pricing changes are effective immediately for CenturyLink Cloud CPU, RAM, and block storage.  These drops are dramatic – a typical CenturyLink Cloud VM will cost at least 60% less with the new pricing.  Customers without contracts will see the new pricing effective immediately; customers with contracts will hear from their account team to adjust terms accordingly. 
  • New support bundles.  Until today we have bundled premium support as part of our price offering – a key benefit to organizations formulating their cloud strategy.  But the market has matured.  As such, we are evolving our singular support offering to a strong portfolio of
  • ...

    Read on...

    Cloud Services: Build, Buy, or Partner? Dell Chooses ‘Partner’ and So Should You

    November 12, 2013
    By Jared Ruckle, Product Marketing

    Today, Dell chose CenturyLink Cloud for their partner program due to our cloud’s extensive reseller capabilities.  These features, first launched as Tier 3’s Reseller Edition, include account management, APIs, SSO via SAML, extensive re-branding and more (details here and here). CenturyLink’s approach to reseller enablement gives Dell a completely rebranded public cloud offering overnight – no engineering required on their side.

    This is big news for us, and we’re excited to be working with Dell.

    Now, let’s explore this idea of partnerships for public cloud a little more.

    Developers and IT increasingly turn to new-school cloud vendors for their infrastructure.  Common sense on the eve of 2014.  But this shift was not anticipated by most SIs, MSPs, and hardware OEMs 5 years ago.

    How have these vendors responded?  The results are mixed.  Many are still refining their cloud strategy, and wrestling with the build, buy, partner calculus.

    The industry isn’t sitting still – far from it.  But there’s plenty of time for vendors who missed out on the first wave of cloud to capitalize on the second wave.  But as CenturyLink CTO Jared Wray recently wrote, building cloud is hard.  It takes a specific set of engineering skills that are in high demand.

    Consequently, we’re seeing...

    Read on...

    Five Ways To Enhance IT Ops With CenturyLink Cloud

    November 12, 2013
    By Jared Ruckle, Product Marketing, CenturyLink Cloud

    Today at Dell World, Dell announced that CenturyLink has joined the Dell Cloud Partner Program.

    So what does this news mean for Dell customers?  Simple: you now have easy access to a high performance, highly resilient public cloud, with extensive self-service capabilities.  And you will be supported by Dell and the CenturyLink Cloud team every step of the way.

    autoscale

    Here are five key benefits you can take advantage of immediately on this platform:

  • Deploy on virtual servers with resiliency and redundancy.  When it comes to public cloud, you hear the phrase ‘build for failure.’  That’s a critical design pattern for cloud-native applications.  But many of the apps running in your data center today – including many that are candidates to move to the public cloud – are designed with reliable infrastructure in mind.  Dell Cloud On Demand with CenturyLink offers built-in resiliency and redundancy, so many of your legacy apps – homegrown, from boutique ISVs, or Microsoft – will run smoothly ‘out of the box’ on CenturyLink Cloud.
  • Simplify DR and backups.  These tedious activities should be immediately automated.  Savvy IT departments – and those that will thrive in the future as a strategic enabler of the business – are already on this
  • ...

    Read on...

    Cloud IaaS Price/Performance Benchmarking – Part 2

    October 18, 2013
    By Jared Ruckle, Product Marketing

    In part one, we highlighted Tier 3’s strong showing in a recent performance benchmarking survey.

    So what to make of reports like this?  Here are 6 observations that might help you, a buyer of cloud services, interpret findings like this.

    Two Things These Reports Can Tell You

    • Quantification of vendor claims & normalization. Vendors will describe their products as “high performance.”  Well, compared to what?  And given that each vendor has a different hypervisor and hardware in their data center – in addition to different instance sizes, or a build to custom specs capability (Tier 3’s approach) – it is hard to gauge clock speeds across providers.  This particular report cuts through that.
    • Each cloud on this list is likely better than another competitor – your internal data center. Every cloud provider on this list is operating at scale, releasing new features often, and supporting a multi-tenant service.  As a result, they are almost certainly delivering better performance than what you have on-premise today.  And due to the expansive self-service offerings some of these providers offer, superior agility relative to your internal data center is a given.  The really interesting – and possibly confusing - thing?  Some of the vendors on this list
    ...

    Read on...

    Cloud Billing That Doesn’t Suck: The 5 Principles to Help IT Understand Their Spend

    July 8, 2013
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    Can you understand what you just paid your cloud provider for? Did your accounting staff have to invest significant amounts of time deciphering the costs and figuring out how to bill each department for their usage?  There is often an unexpected human cost of cloud computing and billing is one area where you may end up frustrated if you don’t have a plan in place. At CenturyLink Cloud, we’re trying to ensure that our customers have an easy to understand bill that can be consumed in multiple ways.

    There are five focus areas of our billing approach, and we believe that you should look for these from ANY cloud provider you work with.

    1. Embrace the dynamic nature of the cloud

    Paying for resources in the cloud is unlike anything that enterprise IT has experienced before. CenturyLink Cloud Billing Widget Unlike traditional servers where you pay an upfront cost, cloud servers are pay-as-you go and resizable on the fly. Need to double the CPU on a database server during an intense processing period? It’s easy, but it alters the cost of the server as originally provisioned. Cloud servers are inherently easy to create, easy to delete, and easy to scale. This can wreak havoc on financial...

    Read on...

    Under the Covers with Shantu, Episode 1: Global Search

    June 23, 2013
    By Shantu Roy - Sr. Product Manager. Find me on twitter: @shanturoy

    We’re starting a new video blog series here– one focused on diving into some of the new features our engineers are building in our products.  Why now?

    • Building cloud services is hard and requires serious engineering. We’ve learned a lot over the past 7 years, and like sharing our experiences. We’re often early adopters of technology that make distributed systems more powerful and easier to administer.
    • We have a perspective the community may be interested in.  The cloud is maturing from basic dev/test scenarios towards true mission critical applications.  We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the enterprise, and it requires a different mindset in a number of ways.  That is a topic we’ll be re-visiting from time to time.
    • We have matured our development processes.  With the arrival of some very senior engineering leadership, we have been able to dramatically accelerate how quickly we deploy new features in our global footprint of data centers.  We also have a number of relevant “customer-driven innovation” practices that have informed our thinking and roadmap priorities.

    First up: I speak with Troy from our dev team on our new global search feature.  The more VMs you have, the harder it can be to find them.  Several...

    Read on...

    Best Practices for Accelerating Your Enterprise Cloud Strategy

    June 2, 2013
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager

    Last week, CenturyLink Cloud led a webinar focused on helping organizations kick-start their cloud efforts. While the cloud makes a lot of sense for organizations of all sizes, it can be daunting to get started with such a disruptive initiative. No doubt that most CIOs have heard horror stories about failed cloud initiatives, so how do they avoid becoming a statistic? CenturyLink Cloud offered five best practices to help companies take a successful plunge into the cloud.

    #1 - Form a “tiger team” to achieve quick wins and pursue IT-as-a-Service

    What’s a “tiger team”? I liked this description of its military background and applicability to IT:

    “When the Navy needed some quick turnaround work or repairs, they would assemble a tiger team,” Ballard said. “The connotation was that it was a self-contained team that included all the skill sets and resources needed to do the work — journeymen, planners, engineers, fabricators, etc.”

     “A tiger team was a small hand-picked, particularly skilled and capable group of ‘tigers,’ often chosen and chartered by a commanding officer, to plan for and/or achieve a very specific mission,” Lehman said.

    The good news - you probably do this in your organization today when new, major initiatives come up and big...

    Read on...

    Codenvy Cloud IDE Now Directly Supports CenturyLink Cloud Platform as a Service PaaS

    April 6, 2013
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    Just a couple weeks ago, we looked at how Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) helps developers rapidly build and deploy applications to the cloud. We also covered a new breed of cloud-based development environments (IDE) that developers can use to create and publish their web applications. Since then, the cloud-based IDE we featured – called Codenvy – has updated their product to support the CenturyLink Cloud Platform as a Service. In this post, we’ll walk through how to quickly and easily deploy and manage Platform as a Service applications from your web browser.

    To start with, when users of Codenvy start a new web application project, they are asked which technology they want to use, and then which PaaS to deploy to. At this moment, the CenturyLink Cloud Platform as a Service is available for Java Web Application (WAR), Java Spring, and Ruby on Rails projects. Note that Platform as a Service works with more environments than these three, but these are the technologies supported via Codenvy.

    Codenvy Cloud IDE

    Once the user chooses the technology and corresponding PaaS, they choose a simple project template (if one exists for that technology), and are then asked for the management API endpoint of the Platform as a Service environment.

    Codenvy Cloud IDE

    The project...

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    Enterprise Cloud Monitoring, Made Simple

    April 1, 2013
    By Shantu Roy, Senior Product Manager

    In the coming months, CenturyLink Cloud will launch new, enterprise monitoring capabilities, powered by ScienceLogic and New Relic.  We wrote a guest blog post for ScienceLogic, describing our approach to monitoring, check it out here.

    ...

    Read on...

    Performance in the Cloud: Upping the Ante

    January 22, 2013
    By Shantu Roy — Developer @shanturoy- twitter 

    IT managers know that speed is the number 1 usability factor for internal apps.  For customers, who use systems and sites run by IT, speed is crucial to maximizing online engagement, and ultimately, conversion and revenue.

    This situation is just another reason why the IT-as-a-Service movement is gaining steam.  IT is transitioning from a cost center to a business enabler.  And the two common scenarios mentioned above illustrate where IT and the business have a shared objective around performance.

    Many of the elements that have caused latency in the past are disappearing, thanks to cloud computing.  Bandwidth, security, and server performance are no longer the primary obstacles to delivering a snappy online experience.  Issues that arise today are usually the result of the application itself.  Properly diagnosing these root causes has given rise to a new class of products, Application Performance Management (APM).

    Join CenturyLink Cloud and New Relic for an online webinar on January 24 to hear us review the challenges that enterprises commonly face with application performance, and some common strategies you can investigate and put into place.

    ...

    Read on...

    Anatomy of a Website Redesign: An Interview with CenturyLink Cloud’s Creative Directo

    January 13, 2013
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    CenturyLink Cloud recently launched a new version of the CenturyLink Cloud website. This was a complete site redesign and an important step in explaining why CenturyLink Cloud is a premier choice for your cloud computing needs. This redesign was led by Nathan Young, CenturyLink Cloud’s talented Creative Director and UI Designer. I sat down with Nate and asked him a few questions about the goals and technology behind the new website.

    Richard: I suspect that when you planned the CenturyLink Cloud re-design, you also looked at what our peers in the industry have done with their own web presence.  Without naming names, what sort of things did you see that you liked, and disliked?

    Nate: One thing we noticed while doing a competitive audit was that many cloud company websites felt very “cards close to the vest.” Granted, there would be tons of information, but nothing that actually shows what the customer experience is like. It felt like as if there was a standard checklist of benefits and specs that had to be on the site, but nothing to supports those claims with product experience demonstrations.

    Part of my job as Creative Director for CenturyLink Cloud is being an experience designer, so I...

    Read on...

    Stop Wasting Money on Idle or Forgotten Cloud Servers

    January 9, 2013
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    Every infrastructure cloud provider makes it easy to create servers. However, one of the most important characteristics of cloud computing is that it’s easy to delete servers. Go ahead and use a server for as long as you need to and then get rid of it, along with all associated costs. However, cloud cleanup is typically the sole responsibility of the customer. Some smart folks have come up with their own solutions to this problem (see Netflix and their open-sourced Janitor Monkey for AWS), but we prefer to give our customers the automation capabilities they need to easily get rid of servers that aren’t needed anymore.

    Set a Server Time-to-Live

    When building temporary cloud environments, you often know exactly when you’ll be done using a server or set of servers. However, after the requisite days/weeks/months have passed, who remembers to shut off those machines? During the provisioning process of a CenturyLink Cloud server, users have the option to select a server lifespan and decide whether to archive or completely delete the server.

    serverdelete01

    Use Scheduled Tasks to Automatically Shut Down and Resume Environments

    Many servers will not be for temporary use, but they do have a defined windows of usefulness. For instance, consider a development...

    Read on...

    CenturyLink Cloud’s 2013 Cloud Predictions: 12 Days of Cloud

    November 21, 2012
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    2012 was a pivotal year for cloud computing as products matured and real customer success stories demonstrated the fundamental business value of the cloud.

    We expect that momentum to continue into 2013 and want to close this year with our “12 days of Cloud” predictions. Each day for the next 12 days, we’ll add a new, sometimes controversial, 2013 cloud prediction to this blog post.

    Agree with our predictions? Think we’re drinking too much eggnog? We want to hear where you think the cloud market is heading and what you’re looking for in the upcoming year. Write a blog post in response, enter our Cloud Prediction contest, send us a tweet, or leave a comment below!

    On with the predictions.

    Cloud Prediction #1:  2013 is the year of cloud management software. Cloud providers have matured to a point where cross-platform management layers will thrive and become mainstream. While widely-accepted IaaS standards are a ways off, organizations will look for solutions that let them manage their diverse cloud portfolio from a single interface.

    Cloud Prediction #2: **While the largest cloud providers duke it out on price and scale, smaller cloud providers see that enterprise adoption really depends on tight integration with existing tools and processes**. Rather...

    Read on...

    Four Quick Steps to Deploying a Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server in the CenturyLink Technology Soluti

    October 6, 2012
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    We just announced that we are a Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider which means that you can now confidently deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers in the CenturyLink Cloud cloud. But enough talking about it; let’s show you how it’s done! In this post, I’ll walk through the short steps for getting a Red Hat Enterprise Linux box up and running.

    Step 1: Build the Server in the CenturyLink Cloud Cloud

    Our customers have two primary ways to build up server environments in the cloud. First off, servers can be included as part of a blueprint. Our customers leverage blueprints when they want to build reusable templates for single or multi-server environments. You can now include Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers as part of sophisticated blueprints. In addition to using blueprints, customers can build servers through a dedicated “create server” workflow. In this flow, users can provision Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers with any resource combination (CPU+memory+storage) and install any private software packages onto the new server.

    After completing the workflow, users will see their new server come online in a matter of minutes.

     

    Step 2: Update the server with all the latest patchset

    Recall that CenturyLink Cloud cloud servers are private by default, and...

    Read on...

    Your apps don’t have to be BUILT for the cloud to be IN the cloud

    October 1, 2012
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    We at CenturyLink Cloud never like to see fellow cloud providers experience downtime as it hurts the reputation of our industry. Following an outage by a couple major cloud providers last week, many pundits came out of the woodwork to scold the customers of these cloud services that experienced corresponding downtime. Why? It’s become “common knowledge” that if a user of cloud services experiences downtime, then they haven’t properly architected their apps for the cloud. I wonder why we assume that every business has the engineering prowess of cloud pioneers like Netflix. Cloud users are rightly encouraged to build and deploy distributed applications that can withstand the failure of any component(s), but the reality is that this doesn’t always happen because of one or more of these reasons:

    They Don't Know Any Better

    While many of us have spent years in the cloud, it’s easy to forget that this is an entirely new domain for the vast majority of enterprise customers. To be sure, principles of good architecture and highly available systems have been around for decades, but we recognize that cloud computing introduces its own wrinkles to those existing patterns. It’s up to all of those in the industry to help...

    Read on...

    Who Does What: A Look at Everyone’s Responsibilities in IaaS

    September 30, 2012
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    As organizations continue to get more comfortable with the idea of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), one area of confusion can still be “who does what?” While clouds, like the one offered by CenturyLink Cloud, deliver a wide variety of self-service capabilities and automated infrastructure management, not everything is simply “taken care of.” It’s dangerous to assume that something (e.g. high availability, data security) is handled by the software or the service provider when in fact it is not.  When plotting out usage of IaaS resources, it’s important for organizations to understand where they need their engineers, what the software will do for them, and what sorts of requests involve engineers from the CenturyLink Cloud Network Operations Center (NOC). In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the responsibilities of each actor.

    Customers

    Let’s start with the customer. There are a few things that a cloud customer does outside of any software provided by CenturyLink Cloud. For instance, it’s up to the customer to figure out who is going to be an administrator of the cloud and what the expected resource consumption is going to be. Our software is built to make it easy to actually define a cloud server configuration, but it’s...

    Read on...

    Small Feature, Big Impact: Executing Script Statements Against Groups of Cloud Servers

    September 24, 2012
    By Richard Seroter, Senior Product Manager. Find Richard on Twitter

    In last week’s cloud software release, we pushed out a subtle new capability that should pack a big punch for our customers. CenturyLink Cloud is constantly looking for ways to engineer a better server management experience for our IaaS customers, and we think that this a great example of that focus. In this blog post, I’ll describe this new feature, show you where to access it, and when you will want to use it.

    What is it?

    In a nutshell, users can now easily execute arbitrary script commands when creating or managing servers in our cloud. Windows users can choose between PowerShell and Windows Command scripts, while Linux users may use SSH scripts. Both the Command and SSH scripts execute directly on the target machine(s) whereas PowerShell scripts take advantage of the “remote PowerShell” capability.

    Where do I access it?

    We expose this capability in the two most relevant places. First, blueprint designers can include the Script activity when orchestrating new server environments

    When this Script task package is added to a blueprint, the blueprint designer is asked to choose both the target server and execution mode (PowerShell/Command/SSH), and then enter the actual script statement. In the “Script” textbox, the user inputs a single statement...

    Read on...

    CenturyLink Cloud Unveils New Cloud Server Group Management Features

    July 28, 2012
    By CenturyLink Cloud Product Management

    Innovative Cloud-Based Group Management Features Mitigate Server Sprawl and Further Optimize Management, Monitoring and Reporting

    BELLEVUE, Wash. — August 28, 2012 ― CenturyLink Cloud, Inc., the enterprise cloud platform company, today introduced a new set of Server Group Management features that make it easier to maintain large server environments located in its Cloud. The newly unveiled capabilities provide users with a consistent and intuitive way to organize and manage virtual machines through group-based permissions, policies, bulk execution actions, and more.

    As organizations move more of their workloads to the Cloud, organizing and managing those server farms can become challenging, expensive and time-consuming. The CenturyLink Cloud Cloud Server Group Management capability gives system administrators the tools they need to navigate these challenges starting with the ability to logically group and manage their large-scale cloud deployments. Groups are intuitively integrated within both the CenturyLink Cloud Control Portal and programmatic API, allowing administrators to create collections of servers that have their own permissions, policies and default server configuration settings.  In addition, actions performed against the groups, such as rebooting or taking snapshots of a server, can be performed in bulk—allowing administrators to spend less time maintaining individual servers and more time optimizing their overall cloud...

    Read on...

    Making it Even Easier for Our Customers to Deploy Hybrid Cloud

    July 16, 2012
    By

    Manual environment deployments can be time-consuming and expensive. Over the years we’ve felt our customers’ frustrations: enterprise IT departments trying to be more agile in the face of business demands; ISVs that need faster time-to-money; Systems Integrators that are bogged down in repetitive work. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the launch of Environment Engine, a toolset that automates environment and application deployments to the enterprise cloud using “Blueprints.” Blueprints contain the DNA of an environment—from host configurations, to firewall and load balancing rules, to any applications running on top. (And yes, before you ask, these tools are completely free to use for all CenturyLink Cloud customers.) With Environment Engine, the elusive IT-as-a-Service is no longer a myth. Now IT pros can create best practice-optimized Blueprints that others can use later to deploy complex applications and environments on-demand. Rollout times drop from days or weeks to hours or minutes, and because deployments are automated across the whole technology stack, build-outs are consistent and leave little room for pesky human errors. So how exactly does all of this work? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty… 1. Using the Blueprint Designer, a technical expert can create Blueprints that include host and network configurations;...

    Read on...

    A Look at Platform as a Service Application Monitoring

    July 16, 2012
    By

    New Relic has become a real leader in website performance analytics, and CenturyLink Cloud is thrilled to incorporate this service, for free, into our Platform as a Service service. For each application deployed to Platform as a Service, regardless of the language/framework that the application was written in, New Relic captures deep information about response time, throughput and more. While we’ve put some of the most interesting statistics directly in the CenturyLink Cloud Control Panel for at-a-glance viewing, we also enable you to drill right through to the New Relic site and discover even more valuable metrics. In this post, we’ll take a quick look at how we’ve incorporated New Relic’s monitoring data into the CenturyLink Cloud Control Portal.

    Previously, Platform as a Service users had a simple set of metrics about their running application(s) that included how much memory, CPU and storage was allocated for a given application. ![Platform as a Service Control Portal](/assets/images/blog/2012.06.NewRelicIntegration01.png) This resource allocation information is important, but application owners also REALLY want to know how well an application is performing for their users! The **brand new Control Panel dashboard** shows a subset of the New Relic metrics that begin to give you a picture of an application’s health. ![New...

    Read on...

    Continuous Integration and Delivery

    July 16, 2012
    By

    Why Continuous Integration and Delivery?

    Did you know that Amazon.com is updated every few seconds? Yeah, that’s right. While you were shopping, Amazon.com’s Dev Team probably pushed new software to take add features, capabilities, display products or analyze the activity on the site. Everyday Etsy also deploys multiple times with minor and even major fixes and changes. Both of these companies, along with a growing number, while doing high transaction e-commerce and other important business, follow a continuous delivery process.

    The most successful development teams use continuous integration and delivery. This has become a leading practice to build high quality, reliable and well respected software. Your team may not need to deploy everyday or you may not need to update a website every few seconds. But in the end, your team delivers a product or service of some type. Continuous Integration and Delivery is a key element of what makes high expectation software development possible.

    Where We’re Going…

    Over the next few weeks we’re going to take a look at building out a development environment in CenturyLink Cloud that follows the key principles behind continous integration and move eventually to continuous deployment. Before we start move into the deep technical topics, I’ll cover exactly what...

    Read on...

    Get Your vFabric On with Blueprints from CenturyLink Cloud

    July 6, 2012
    By CenturyLink Cloud Product Management

    Today CenturyLink Cloud announced access to a Starter Kit Blueprint for VMware vFabric on the CenturyLink Cloud Public Cloud. We know that most of you are busy enough with your job, so setting aside time to try the latest technologies is often hard to juggle. To make it a bit easier, we created the starter kit blueprint!

    This blueprint enables you to quickly deploy a small vFabric environment and be up and running in no time—without the need to troubleshoot.

    What is in it?

    The Starter Kit Blueprint for VMware vFabric comes with four virtual machine instances and the advanced vFabric applications:

    • vFabric tc Server: vFabric tc Server, the best place to build and run Java Spring applications, provides enterprise users with the lightweight server they want paired with the operational management, advanced diagnostics, and mission-critical support capabilities businesses need.
    • vFabric GemFire® Server: GemFire is a distributed data management platform providing dynamic scalability, high performance, and database-like persistence. It blends advanced techniques like replication, partitioning, data-aware routing, and continuous querying to help you.
    • vFabric Web Server: Unlike Apache, vFabric Web Server is pre-compiled, pre-configured and pre-patched, which reduces deployment times from a typical 3 days to 30 minutes. It has a consistent installation process and structure
    ...

    Read on...

    Building Servers with the CenturyLink Cloud API

    July 6, 2012
    By CenturyLink Cloud Product Management

    Any service provider worth its salt has to have an API. It’s one of the first questions we ask our providers and understandably one we get asked a lot as well. With our latest release we also updated our API, so I figured what better way to show off the API that with a sample of how easy it is to build a server.

    First using Visual Studio 2010 we’ll install RestSharp using NuGet (if you don’t have NuGet installed stop reading and do yourself a favor and install it).

    Install-Package RestSharp

    Then create a rest client pointing at the CenturyLink Cloud API.

    `private RestClient Client = new RestClient("https://api.ctl.io/rest");

    Now we are ready to call the API. Once you create an API user in your account you can use it to logon and store the authentication in the client cookies.

    `var request = new RestRequest("/auth/logon"); request.Method = Method.POST; request.RequestFormat = DataFormat.Json; request.AddBody(new { APIKey = "b3b41e0818ad4dfdb9d43c964f680de1", Password = "plAtform6{+*" }); ` `var response = Client.Execute(request); var content = DeserializeContent(response); if (content.StatusCode != 0) throw new ApplicationException(content.Message); ` `if (Client.CookieContainer == null) Client.CookieContainer = new System.Net.CookieContainer(); ` `response.Cookies .Select(c => new Cookie(c.Name, c.Value, c.Path, c.Domain)) .ToList() .ForEach(c => Client.CookieContainer.Add(c));`

    You’ll notice a few helpers methods I created to deal with deserializing the JSON response into a...

    Read on...

    CenturyLink Cloud Raises $8.5 Million For Its Enterprise Platform As A Service

    July 3, 2012
    By Jason Verge

    CenturyLink Cloud has raised a $8.5m series A round to help solve the enterprise PaaS problem. The network engineer- and developer-designed PaaS solution has been built for and is aimed strictly for the enterprise, taking into consideration many factors that other developer- and SMB-focused PaaS providers tend to ignore, mainly considerations in the areas of security and compliance. There’s a lot of value-add in CenturyLink Cloud’s treatment of the platform layer, backed by four years of IP and some serious talent in the industry. It’s an up-and-coming firm worth noting.

    How CenturyLink Cloud PaaS cracks the enterprise

    There is a three-pronged approach when it comes to entering the enterprise, founded on automation, abstraction and environments. CenturyLink Cloud automates the best practices associated with setting up and scaling front- or back-office infrastructure. It aims to remove dependency on physical hardware. And in terms of environments, it offers deployable, optimized business environments in addition to APIs and infrastructure optimization. Currently in two datacenters, it’s mapped out two more for the fall. The company takes a zone approach to North America, dividing by West, East and Central. The first East Coast datacenter will be added later this year, as well as another in the Central...

    Read on...

    Multi-tenancy alliance could enable virtual data centers

    July 3, 2012
    By

    Check out a great article featuring some quotes by Jared Wray our Founder and CEO about Multi-tenancy. http://searchitchannel.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid96_gci1379652,0

    ...

    Read on...

    The Cloud is #1 Priority for CIOs in 2011

    July 3, 2012
    By CenturyLink Cloud Product Management

    It's Official

    Cloud computing is the #1 technology priority of 2011 for over 2,000 CIOs** surveyed by Gartner—with virtualization taking the number two spot. While 66% of the average IT department’s budget has traditionally been allocated to day-to-day operations, according to Gartner CIOs expect the cloud to free up 35-50% of current resources to be used towards “innovation and growth.” This is good news for CIOs, whose measure of success is increasingly dependent not only on ensuring IT is efficient and cost-effective, but on “creating and realizing new sources of [business] value.” The top 3 business objectives named by CIOs reflect these new success metrics, and mirror what we’re seeing here at CenturyLink Cloud:

    1. Developing or managing a flexible infrastructure

    Flexible infrastructure is one of the key differentiators of cloud computing as compared to on-site IT hardware. In the cloud, storage and performance scale—and with the right cloud provider, they scale predictively or based on business rules. Additionally new servers can be provisioned in minutes, instead of the days required by traditional IT processes.

    2. Delivering application and growth projects

    Many CenturyLink Cloud customers are taking advantage of new business models and reaching new customers by moving their apps into the cloud. Chad Collins,...

    Read on...

    Equinix and CenturyLink Cloud Partner to Accelerate Cloud Adoption in Enterprise

    July 3, 2012
    By

    Companies team to deliver enterprise-class hybrid cloud solutions

    Redwood City, Calif. and Bellevue, Wash. — March 27, 2012 — Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), a provider of global data center services, and CenturyLink Cloud, the enterprise cloud platform provider, today announced a partnership to create an enterprise-ready gateway to the cloud by offering CenturyLink Cloud’s Enterprise Cloud Platform via Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers. The partnership enables enterprise customers to take advantage of the business agility and cost efficiency cloud technologies offer by using CenturyLink Cloud’s enterprise-grade Infrastructure as a Service across Platform Equinix™. Initially, CenturyLink Cloud’s solution will be available in Equinix’s Chicago and New York data centers with plans to expand globally, first into Europe and later to Asia.

    “Platform Equinix provides secure, scalable and highly interconnected data center services across 38 strategic global markets. Our network choice combined with access to a wide array of leading cloud services solutions, gives customers a rich environment to build and integrate private, public, and hybrid cloud solutions,” said Chris Sharp, general manager, cloud and content for Equinix. “Our partnership with CenturyLink Cloud further strengthens Equinix’s position as the destination of choice for enterprise cloud deployments through high availability, security and business...

    Read on...

    Simplifying the Enterprise

    July 3, 2012
    By CenturyLink Cloud Product Management

    Make it simple. It sounds easy, but it’s surprisingly challenging. As Creative Director and UI Designer for CenturyLink Cloud, I’m charged with taking the complex tasks and concepts of managing a business’ IT infrastructure, and defining the interface that allows our customers to control it. Over the past year or so, you’ve probably noticed the CenturyLink Cloud Control Portal interface has evolved as new features have rolled out, or improvements to existing functionality have been implemented.

    Typically, managing an infrastructure requires interacting with a lot of different tools, from load balancers and hypervisors, to firewall systems and monitoring software, not to mention the developer environment for your app. These systems allow you to control your infrastructure down to the last detail. However, with that control comes great complexity, and the interfaces of some these products can be quite challenging to use to say the least. Just because a product is designed for the enterprise, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have a consumer level of simplicity to use it.

    Many times, it feels as if the interface for enterprise-level products is an afterthought, when in fact it should be one of the first areas of focus. It is after all, a key touchpoint to...

    Read on...


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