Recently, Dynatrace and CenturyLink hosted a CloudWalk designed to guide users in a hands-on environment through use cases and functionality that combine Dynatrace's software on the CenturyLink Cloud Platform. The event was hosted at the newly opened St.Louis CenturyLink Development Center.

This CloudWalk is one in a series of scheduled events designed to help consolidate the growing St. Louis tech start-up community which includes Lockerdome, Hatchbuck, T-REX (a tech incubator), and Pixel Press. In the spirit of collaboration, the CTO of Lockerdome delivered opening remarks. CenturyLink wants to share opportunities, knowledge, and resources in the St. Louis area by hosting events like these that spark innovation and the cross-pollination of ideas and practices. The Development Center provides the environment in which like-minded people can come together, share ideas, and work through the tech-world problems that they face and find ways to solve them.

Bob Stolzberg and Michael Villiger led the two instructional components. Bob covered the deployment of the Dynatrace client to the CenturyLink Public Cloud and how to use the application performance monitoring tools. Michael showcased the Dynatrace PurePath dashboard with its ability to gather and present detailed information about application use.

CenturyLink loves hosting these types of events. They pull out all the stops to make the event both casual and informative. The event is well staffed. The Development Center is comfortable and inviting. The CenturyLink team is friendly and welcoming. Food, beer, and snacks are provided. Prizes are given out throughout the evening. I even won a Lootcrate raffle by accruing points for using the CenturyLink St. Louis Meetup user group mobile app. Throughout the presentation technical experts walk the floor offering help to guide users through installation and configuration, and making sure everyone is on track.

The spirit of a CloudWalk is simplicity and accessibility. The CenturyLink Cloud is a showcase of on-demand flexibility and high performance. Bob Stolzberg describes CenturyLink’s Cloud software as having the “best user interface in the industry.” The idea is to make the problem solving potential of the cloud accessible and introduce that to a thriving tech ecosystem in St. Louis. This type of event is indicative of the larger Midwest start-up movement. St. Louis continues riding the top of that wave.

St. Louis and the Tech Ecosystem

Joe McKendric of Forbes, citing Tech Vision 2016, argues convincingly that large non-tech companies might be the cloud industry’s next disruptors, innovators, and contributors. If that proves to be the case, then the large non-tech companies in the St. Louis area stand to benefit significantly from partnerships with companies like CenturyLink which, judging from this event and others that are planned, is ready to make those partnerships a reality. The CenturyLink Cloud Platform isn't simply an innovative or novel technology for tech start-ups. The cloud is likely to become an integral part of most businesses within a few years, whether those businesses are technology based or otherwise.

Bob Muglia, HuffPost technology contributor, noted in his 2016 post on data walks and cloud battles: “this year looks to be another groundbreaking year in [cloud] technology.” In a 2014 article in Fortune magazine Erin Griffith asked the question “can St. Louis become the next tech hub?” She cited several examples of investors and entrepreneurs scouting the Midwest as a potential extension of the Silicon Valley spirit of innovation and risk. The infrastructure, though, needs development in order to support the growth. Her opinion is that the St. Louis "tech ecosystem is young." CenturyLink and its St. Louis Development Center is changing the landscape. The Development Center brings that growing ecosystem one step closer to maturity.

In addition, CenturyLink is listed as one of five visionary leaders in the field. The Dynatrace CloudWalk is part of a planned strategy to influence the Midwest in a dynamic, unpredictable, globalizing technology market. It might be a little early to say at this point. Still, if CenturyLink is successful in capturing the St. Louis tech market, it will continue to solidify itself as a market leader.

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