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...

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CenturyLink Acquires Orchestrate to Deliver Next Generation Data Services to Cloud

April 20, 2015
By Richard Seroter, Director of Product Management

One of the most important trends in cloud development is the emergence of the “12-factor app” style where complex systems are deconstructed into simple, scalable apps and services. An extension of this trend is the innovation and evolution we see in the database space.

Key/value stores, caching services, and all manner of NoSQL database capabilities have, in no small part, led to the explosion of innovation we commonly refer to as the “Internet of Things.” Applications and systems are collecting, storing and analyzing more data than ever, and developers increasingly embrace NoSQL options as their data store.

However, there are so many types of NoSQL databases that developers need to keep track of, and it seems like a new one emerges every day. There are dozens of database packages in the market that didn’t even exist five years ago. Each one has important tradeoffs. Is it easy to use? How does it scale? What does it take to get resilience? Developers are faced with the choice of either weaving together multiple technologies in order to get the backend services they need, or settling on a single-purpose platform that meets SOME of their requirements. There's got to be a better way, right? Orchestrate tackled...

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Important Update to CenturyLink Cloud Ticket Prioritization

April 17, 2015
By Richard Seroter, Director of Product Management

Effective immediately, a new ticket prioritization process is in place for incidents submitted to CenturyLink Cloud’s support team.

What is changing?

Our prioritization structure has simplified, to better reflect the type of incidents we receive from customers. In addition, the new structure reflects the different support tiers introduced several months ago.

What does this change mean for me?

This change is a minor modification to our internal incident handing process. The material impact to you is simplification of your support experience.

Why is this change taking place?

This change was implemented based on data received on submitted incidents, resolution times, customer feedback, and overall industry trends.

What is not changing?

Our SLAs and commitment to delivering a world-class customer experience.

Where can I get more information about this change?

This knowledge base article details the new changes: https://www.centurylinkcloud.com/knowledge-base/support/ticket-prioritization-matrix/

In addition, the process to request a ticket escalation remains unchanged: https://www.centurylinkcloud.com/knowledge-base/support/how-do-i-escalate-a-ticket/

Please reach out to [email protected] if you have any questions.

...

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Ecosystem Showcase: Orchestrate Brings Database Heroics to the CenturyLink Cloud Ecosystem

April 9, 2015
By Jennifer Lankford

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 Jennifer Lankford from Orchestrate, a provider of NoSQL database services focused on developer agility.

As interest from enterprise customers began to increase in late 2014, we decided to run some benchmarks on CenturyLink Cloud and take it through its paces. The results pleasantly surprised us and should make the users of competing cloud providers take notice. Not only did CenturyLink Cloud perform consistently better than the biggest providers on all fronts, its pricing is highly competitive, and it boasts a web-based GUI that makes the user experience a breeze. So today, we’re very excited to share that Orchestrate is now available on CenturyLink Cloud, and can be deployed today through the ecosystem.

This is great news because it gives CenturyLink’s global network of Fortune 1000 companies immediate access to the flexibility and cost-savings associated with Orchestrate. The partnership makes perfect sense for both companies and especially their customers — CenturyLink and Orchestrate share a common vision for simplifying the deployment of applications to...

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Dynatrace Free Trial Utilizing CenturyLink Cloud Blueprint Now Available

April 8, 2015
Kim Bannerman, Matthew Keenan, Michael Masterson

In February 2015 Dynatrace, a leading player in the field of Application Performance Management (APM), launched integration with the CenturyLink cloud platform. Dynatrace APM is laser focused on the details that matter for application performance, starting with 100% visibility into of the End-User transactions and spanning both Pre-Production and Production environments. Dynatrace provides integration with automation frameworks like the CenturyLink Cloud blueprints, Ansible, Chef, and Puppet, as well as many ticketing and notification systems. As cloud adoption increases across SME and Enterprise organizations, teams must fundamentally rethink the way they monitor scaling applications and dynamic infrastructure.

Some of the most common use cases for APM in the Cloud include

Dev/Test - Development and Test teams are moving faster than ever to support business needs, even shipping code releases multiple times per day. Reduce risk by measuring and comparing performance in every build and test in conjunction with real browser synthetics from around the world Cloud Benchmarking - Baselining how applications perform in the cloud vs. their native compute habitat provides organizations with quantitative metrics to make the optimal infrastructure decision the first time, instead of iteratively guessing and testing Dev/Ops - Managing the performance of applications in a cloud environment requires the ability to...

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CenturyLink Cloud Celebrates Pi Day with Pi Day Kids Hack Event

April 6, 2015
Kimberly Bannerman, Director Cloud Evangelism Programs

Saturday, March 14, 2015 was one of the most epic version of “Pi Day” that most of us will see during our lifetimes. As everyone knows, when stretched to 31 decimal places pi is represented in decimal notation as 3.1415926535897932384626433832795 (whew!). When truncated, 3.14.15 gives us a few additional significant digits — enough to make any math enthusiast completely irrational!

To celebrate, CenturyLink Cloud organized an afternoon for young people in our technology community — helping them learn to “hack” on miniature Raspberry Pi units and learning software development practices with Seattle CoderDojo. The event was an idea that CenturyLink Cloud’s CTO, Jared Wray had been considering for over a year. Jared has 3 boys, and they have built projects using the Raspberry Pi units at home. Once the CenturyLink Cloud Development Center opened in Bellevue, WA, the event had a home.

"These days, I often find myself looking back to my childhood and using a computer for the first time. I remember placing my hands on that keyboard and thinking of all the things that I could do and create — like wielding a magical sword. Coding is more than just telling computers what to do for kids, it is showing...

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying About My On-Prem Data Center and Love the Cloud: The Data Center Transformation Playbook

March 25, 2015
By Jared Ruckle, Product Manager

I was chatting with a CIO the other day about his goals and vision for the organization. Highlights: supporting 2x revenue growth over the next several years. Delivering a differentiated customer experience. Mobile apps. Empowering his teams in the field.

Pretty good list, right?

We went on to discuss how cloud services could help his company achieve all of the above. But there was another pressing project on his mind: retiring his on-premises data center, in favor of the public cloud. Why was this “data center transformation” project a high priority for him?

Risk due to location. Office buildings, no matter how secure, can’t compare to the facilities offered by most data center providers. Environmental factors come in to play as well – the threat of natural disasters and even shoddy HVAC systems keep execs up at night. Inordinate amounts of human time and effort. Administering servers, running procurement, fiddling with cabling, monitoring power and cooling - it's time consuming. And there’s just no upside to it. Best case? Your team keeps things running on par with what an outsourced provider can deliver…only without the price drops and new features. Think of all the other things these folks could...

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Explosive Growth and Rapid Change in Asia-Pacific – Announcing our Cloud in Singapore!

March 18, 2015
Chris Levanes, Director of Cloud & Managed Hosting, APAC

For the past fifteen years, my professional life has been centered in Asia, with ten of these years as a resident. And throughout this time I have always held strong personal views on the economic potential of the region. However, the current and future growth projections have outpaced my most optimistic predictions and expectations.

Some recent stats from various sources which illustrate the extent of the growth that is occurring, include:

Of the current 3+ billion global internet users, more than 46% reside within Asia-Pacific. It is estimated that Asia-Pac will represent more than 50% before the end of 2015. Global e-commerce transactions are currently estimated to be around ~USD $1.5 trillion. In 2014, Asia-Pacific became the world’s largest e-commerce market. By end of 2017, consumers in APAC will be responsible for more than USD $1 trillion of the estimated $2.3 trillion in global e-commerce sales.

Coupled with these growth trends, the region is also experiencing dramatic change. For example, Asia-Pacific is the fastest mobile device growth region in the world, and already accounts for more than 50% of global mobile phone ownership. In fact, many users from Asia-Pacific will connect to the Internet for the first time via a mobile device, and that...

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Take Control! Channel Partners and Enterprise Customers Can Make Our Cloud Their Own

March 6, 2015
By Richard Seroter, Director of Product Management

Like most people, I have a mobile phone that is representative of my personality and productivity needs. Carefully chosen phone cases, background images, apps, and settings all create a level of personalization within the boundaries defined by my phone provider. My phone is basically a platform for delivering what I want, how I want it. Why can't your cloud behave the same way?

CenturyLink Cloud has offered a deep set of channel-friendly features for years. This month, we went even further to make sure that all our customers have greater control over their cloud experience. What does it mean to make our cloud your own?

Control the Appearance

Change how the CenturyLink Cloud Control Portal looks to your customers and users. Alter not only the color scheme and logos, but go deeper with modifications to listed support phone numbers, email addresses, and Knowledge Base links. Tweak the outbound email templates so that new users get a personalized message when they join the account.

Control the Access Point

With this latest software release, it's easy to use a non-CenturyLink branded domain to access the Control Portal. All customers can immediately use {account alias}.cloudportal.io to see a personalized login page with their logo. Soon, we'll make it...

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Ecosystem Showcase: FoundationDB and the Multi-Model Database

March 6, 2015
By Jessica Rampen

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 Jessica Rampen from FoundationDB, a provider of polyglot database services focused on simplifying the database layer.

When CenturyLink announced their Hyperscale offering in early 2014, they were clearly focused on helping customers with their implementation of scale-out, NoSQL technologies. The proliferation of NoSQL databases is one response to the needs of modern applications, where not all data is best managed in a relational model. One challenge we've seen customers struggle with while experimenting with different database models: database bloat.

"If you're trying to choose a database technology for your application it can be really tough. The database market is evolving rapidly. From NoSQL, to NewSQL, to the mature relational systems, there's no shortage of solutions to sort through." – Stephen Pimentel, FoundationDB

Trying to run different databases together to power an application is an operational nightmare. Each has its own storage and retrieval requirements, and each requires developer and DBA skills that can be hard to find.

Why a multi-model database

We're one of the...

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The Platform Effect: Marketplace Provider Program

March 4, 2015
By David Shacochis

Plug In to Platform CenturyLink

It's great to have a thriving Cloud Development Center where we crank out new features for our platform, but we know we can’t do it all ourselves. As Al Gore once said on 30 Rock, “there's an old African proverb that I made upIf you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We need to go far, quickly.”

Integrating With CenturyLink Cloud

We’ve been cultivating a technology ecosystem that we think will help our users go far, quickly. You can visit our newly-published CenturyLink Cloud Marketplace Provider Program to learn more. This new initiative supports integrations with a wide range of partner technologies who can "plug in" to CenturyLink Cloud as part of their user experience.

Technology partners can choose from three different types of integration patterns, one of the most flexible in our industry:

An Application Programming Interface (API) for automated interactions between any management system and the CenturyLink Cloud. Our Blueprint orchestration engine. This powerful tool enables automated provisioning workflows for partner technology that combine dozens of configuration steps into one single click. An Add-On framework (coming soon) for automating sign-ups to popular web services, while binding these external services to the CenturyLink Cloud platform.

Partners...

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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...

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