Walk Me to the Car… 3 Things I Need to Know about the Cloud

If you’ve ever chased down a busy exec to pitch an idea or get an answer on a pressing issue, you’ve invariably heard the request “Can we talk about this while we walk?” Execs are the ultimate multi-taskers.

Our new “Walk me to the car” series is a power-packed questions and answers that quickly address what any busy top business exec needs to know on topics of Hybrid IT and cloud. Today’s topic: Cloud computing. Here goes…

What are the Top 3 Things I need to Know about the Cloud today?

1)     The cloud is ready for duty at big companies. The technology has evolved and become a lot more sophisticated than it was even a year ago. There’s been a general acceleration of capacity: more sophisticated software and computing power; more storage; faster bandwidth. Usage is becoming more common, with Gartner predicting that half of enterprises will have a “hybrid cloud”- a public cloud/private cloud combo – by 2017[1].

2)     Yes, it’s hyped, but a lot of the hype is true, or at least rooted in corporate reality. A lot of companies really are doing highly advanced IT work a lot more quickly than they used to, and at lower cost.

3)     It’s more than just technology. The cloud represents a different approach to IT on many levels. Yes, the cloud is technically about using someone else’s computers in a remote location and paying for use, not hardware. But, it’s also about rethinking the whole way that IT can serve the needs of the business. The technology enables a change in traditional IT and business roles in figuring out how to be most innovative and competitive.

blog-cloud-keyboardGive me two good reasons to do it.

1)     IT projects can be rolled out more quickly – The cloud can help us launch operational initiatives and M&A projects faster than can be done with existing IT. We save the time it usually takes to acquire servers, build data centers, and set up software. A lot of that can be done automatically and more or less instantly with the cloud.

2)     CapX gets cut – The cloud helps us reduce capital expenditures on IT infrastructure and data centers. The equipment and network we use are on someone else’s balance sheet. The cloud is a “pay as you go” not “pay up front.” When you need more capacity, like on “Cyber Monday,” you increase your cloud service. On Tuesday, you can turn it off. We can conserve cash for other uses.

Give me two things to be worried about.

  1. Keeping consistent with security – While the hype about the cloud being insecure has faded, it can still be a challenge to ensure a consistent security framework across bi-modal, or hybrid IT infrastructures. (The old stuff and the new stuff.) When talking to a cloud service provider, find out whether they can utilize a common security model across physical and virtual machines. A 3rd party security tool, or a different could provider, might be needed.
  1. Execution and organizational challenges – There can be unexpected costs and delays if a cloud project is not well planned. Some cloud service providers expect us to do a lot more of the in-depth technical work than we’re expecting, even though it’s on their equipment. Expert guidance on cloud projects can help mitigate this risk. Not every company has people on staff who really know how to make the most of it.   For instance, the cloud tends to push software developers and IT operations managers into a single unit, which can cause organizational stress. The [best approach is to combine a move to the cloud with an overall change management program.

What is the takeaway idea for me in all of this?   Cloud computing presents an opportunity to be more agile and operate more economically, especially with regard to CapX. At the same time, it represents an organizational shift to a new way of doing IT. It can bear fruit if it’s thought through as a complete IT/organizational change.

The Crib Sheet



What are the Top 3 Things I need to Know about the Cloud today?

1)     It’s ready for big business.

2)     It’s hyped, but a lot of the hype is true.

3)     It’s more than a technology. It’s a different approach to IT on many levels.

Give me two good reasons to do it

  1. IT projects can be rolled out more quickly
  2. CapX gets cut

Give me two things to be worried about

1)     Keeping consistent with security across old (on-premise) and new (cloud) systems.

2)     Underestimating the execution/people/organizational side of the process

What is the takeaway idea for me in all of this? It’s an opportunity to be more agile and operate more economically, but it’s also an organizational shift to a new way of doing IT.





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Connected Colocation from CenturyLink

The ever growing expectations of the IT department have created capital and human resource challenges, leading to significant growth in data center outsourcing, and to colocation becoming a $25B market. The most common objectives driving outsourcing are shifting IT resources from daily administration tasks to innovation activities that drive business growth such as helping set strategy, evaluating new technologies and enabling new revenue opportunities. However that goal can be thwarted when IT outsourcing becomes an exercise in vendor management, such as when the use of multiple vendors delays root cause analysis of events. With multiple vendors, you are only as fast as the lowest SLA or longest support response time. iStock_000012686333low2

For many companies the first step towards outsourced IT infrastructure will begin with colocation because the enterprise maintains control of all of hardware and software configurations, while still being able to realize the financial and operational benefits of outsourcing by getting out of the business of managing non-differentiating tasks such as datacenter operations, physical security, cooling, power, etc. By providing a large breadth of IT services, CenturyLink has made it easier to take that first step.

CenturyLink eases our customers migration to colocation by providing a single source solution comprised of colocation and network services. This Connected Colocation Bundle allows customers to outsource all of their datacenter operations with a single contract, SLA and support provider.

Connected Colocation includes the traditional colocation services – space, power and cooling – in a premier data center facility with a 100% SLA for uptime, temperature and humidity, coupled with network services to seamlessly connect IT assets to both our Tier 1 Internet backbone and your corporate network. This enables colocated applications to operate at LAN speeds while eliminating the resource drain of maintaining an on premise data center environment.The bundle also includes remote support and cross connects to provide a turnkey solution under a single contract with lower total cost of ownership.

By bringing together the assets of CenturyLink, Qwest and Savvis, our team is able to offer a unique bundle of data center services that enables our customers not only to meet, but exceed their IT outsourcing goals.

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Advancing in the Gigabit Economy

The Gigabit Economy

Shirish Lal discusses The Gigabit Economy

The IT sector is having one of its periodic moments of congruity and clarity, where seemingly disparate trends come together and form the basis for accelerated change.Several key technologies have matured and created a nexus of rapid innovation: High-performance/low-cost bandwidth, cloud-based computing, and the virtualization of machines and network functions, plus the proliferation of smart and mobile devices enable enterprises to be competitive using new IT models. When businesses seize on unlimited bandwidth, computational power, and scale for strategic advantage, we like to call this the “The Gigabit Economy.”

The overall IT ecosystem is shifting under our feet as the Gigabit Economy ushers in a new phase of cloud growth. The data supports the notion that things are not the same, and won’t be the same in enterprise IT going forward. Gartner posits that half of enterprises will have hybrid clouds by 2017[1].

You can see the changes taking place when you consider how difficult it was historically to consume, produce and distribute applications. Buying a major piece of enterprise software like an ERP application or database required an IT department to make a major upfront purchase at a significant cost. It was typically a lengthy decision-making process across IT, line of business, finance and the executive team. Overall, a very difficult and time-consuming process for everyone involved.

Now we have a radically new approach. You pay for software on per-use basis rather than upfront.  Gartner projects that the global SaaS market will grow by 20.2% per year, or from $18.2 billion in 2012 to $45.6 billion in 2017[2]. The pay-per-use fee also includes the hardware it’s running on, maintenance, security and connectivity. It’s a very different risk profile. The result is a real simplification of the consumption process. With this, a lot of things change, and we’re leading the way.

The Gigabit Economy opens the door to wholly new digital business models and the disruption of industries. One telling note of change is how more and more technology decisions are being guided by line of business managers. They are taking advantage of a simpler, faster IT consumption process to speed up their time to value. Bandwidth, software platforms, hardware, network are all available on demand. Companies can focus on their core businesses and not get caught up in infrastructure.  They can develop and deploy applications in the cloud, leveraging a host of options from dedicated servers to containers. The business unit gets what it wants more quickly and IT stops taking the unfair rap for being slow.

We fuel this kind of innovation by building the cloud, network, and security services that support big data and big apps.Our goal is to give businesses the speed and agility to seize market opportunities and deliver better online customer experiences. To be at the forefront of the Gigabit Economy, we have harnessed our own innovation and assets to create Platform CenturyLink, a new way of working with us to realize your business strategies through enterprise-class cloud computing.

Platform CenturyLink unifies our previously separate products and service offerings into single point of control. The Platform puts our network, cloud, hosting, and co-location assets into a highly scalable, API-driven service offering that’s easy to manage. Through a single interface, you can manage sophisticated IT projects in the cloud across all phases of their lifecycles. If you want to innovate in the Gigabit Economy, we give you the means to move your ideas forward quickly and economically. With the Gigabit Economy in effect and Platform CenturyLink, you can confidently create and deploy sophisticated IT projects in a cycle that’s fast enough to keep you out in front. We help businesses succeed in the faster, ever-changing Gigabit economy.

I invite you to give it a test drive. It’s time to get started!


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Key Takeaways from the Gartner Conference: How IT is Helping to Revolutionize the Enterprise

Vice President of Colocation Product Management

CenturyLink recently was a premier sponsor of the Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure and Operations Management Conference. The conference provided an excellent opportunity for industry leaders to learn and exchange ideas.

I had the pleasure of hosting the Centurylink panel session, attended by over 185 people. Our panelists shared interesting insight into the effect new technology decisions have made to their business goals. I would like to thank Paris Georgallis, Senior Vice President, RMS, Sriram Sitaraman, Director, Synopsys and Lee Kirby, CTO, Uptime Institute for their participation and insight.

Here are some key takeaways from the panel event:

  • RMS discussed their decision to broaden their target market by expanding their offering into a SaaS model and implementing a cloud version of their tool called RMSONE. They are looking forward to the ability to more quickly integrate product upgrades and enhancements and to be able to provide the scale required for peak activities and timeframes.
  • Synopsys spoke about the challenges of integrating multiple companies through multiple acquisitions. Bringing on so many different firms provided an IT nightmare and inefficiencies for Synopsys due to the fact that each acquired company had their own systems, processes and procedures. Sriram spoke about their solution to implement a private cloud solution which acts as a portal for all the disparate systems and now provides the ability for a collaborative environment while still maintaining individual technology requirements.
  • Uptime Institute discussed what should be required of the provider you partner with, and the need to authenticate the ability for data center and colocation provider partners to really ensure they are delivering 100% uptime. Uptime Institute provides that audit for you through their Tier 1 – Tier IV design, build and operational sustainability accreditations. For the on-going operations of the data center, Uptime has the M&O Certification program. At the Gartner Event it was announced that CenturyLink has made the commitment to certify all 57 data centers globally with the Uptime M&O stamp of approval.

It’s such an interesting time to be providing IT services. A recent study stated 71% of 1700 CEO’s see technology as the number one factor to drive company success; it really puts the CIO in the spotlight to showcase innovation to help grow the business.

As an IT outsource provider it is imperative that we deliver above and beyond expectations. We understand our customer’s reputations, brand and success rely on the service being always available and at a price point that provides a clear ROI.

Click here to view the panel in its entirety.

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Data to Decisions – Welcoming Cognilytics to the CenturyLink Team

Executives-announce-dayIs your organization discovering that like cloud, big data is really, really hard? Depending on who you listen to, organizations are using big data to analyze a small fraction of their data or none at all. Why? The influx of data is too great, the tools are new and have a steep learning curve, and the talent pool is expensive and limited.

Although big data is hard, organizations still see its promise. Big data today is a classic supply and demand problem. There is a vast supply of data and a demand for people and solutions to turn that data into decisions that create revenue.

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The Hybrid IT Files: The Truth is Out There

In the business world we work amidst a plethora of industry “buzzwords.”   Buzzwords start out meaningful, yet over time have lost their originally intended meaning.  And technology buzzwords achieve a special level of irritation – they tend to mean different things to different people.  Not only have they been over-used, but also over-interpreted.  Buzzwords pull off a rare trick – they are at the same time meaningless and precious.  Everyone seems to have their own unique reason for hating them.

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Committing to Excellence in Data Center Operations

CenturyLink announced our commitment to certify all 57 of our worldwide data centers to meet the Uptime Institute’s Management & Operations (M&O) guidelines. We will be the first company to be evaluated at the global portfolio level for the Institute’s M&O Stamp of Approval. Getting there involves committing to audit all 57 of our data centers over the next two years to provide third party verification of operational excellence, sustainability and consistency in meeting the 100% Uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA).

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Value of a Hybrid IT Environment

CenturyLink is a premier sponsor of the upcoming Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) Management Conference. The theme of this year’s event is Leading I&O:  Delivering New Levels of Innovation and Productivity and will be held in Las Vegas on Dec 2-5 at the Venetian Hotel.

To exemplify how the data center is playing a leading role in innovation, I will be hosting a panel of our customers at the event titled “How IT is helping the Enterprise Revolutionize their Markets.”

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