Digital Transformation – Helping clear the confusion around clouds

An increasing number of applications are being delivered through Public Cloud IaaS, PaaS or SaaS models, than ever before, but with so many different cloud options, how do you choose which cloud is right for which application or use case? CenturyLink's consultative approach helps customers find the right cloud for the right business application.

Digital Transformation is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses of all sizes today - how to adapt their business practices and application usage to take advantage of the benefits of cloud technologies, while still delivering on users' expectations - e.g. security & compliance, reliability and availability, contractual certainty and productivity. The cloud promises so much - pay as you go access to enterprise-class software and services, the ability to rapidly scale infrastructure and applications to cope with the peaks and troughs of seasonal traffic, and cost-effectiveness. However, it is all too easy to move everything to the cloud and find out months later that it's not only costing more than a typical private cloud or even an on-premises environment, but that some governance and control required is lost, which can result in Shadow IT practices being put in place by internal IT teams.

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Finding the best execution venue

CenturyLink recognises this challenge and is helping customers to understand their options and build bespoke cloud strategies that offer business agility, security and that all-important governance. Our Best Execution Venue service uses a proven advisory methodology to gather and analyse key business application data to provide an analytics based decision framework that recommends the appropriate target platform, deployment types and service models for companies' business critical systems. This begins with an assessment of existing IT systems, and takes into consideration a number of different factors to then look at the most appropriate target platform (e.g. on-premise, private cloud, or public cloud), deployment types (e.g. IaaS, PaaS or SaaS) and service model (e.g. fully outsourced, partnership, DIY).

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Where the selected target platform is public cloud, CenturyLink partners with Corent Technology, using their SurPaaS® Scan and Analysis suite of tools to audit existing infrastructure, and then match the application workloads, software platforms and technology against Corent’s comprehensive knowledgebase containing detailed features and benefits information on hyper-scale public cloud providers. The toolset provides the customer with more information and insight into not only the feasibility of migrating and running apps on the cloud, but also a comparison of the providers against the application requirements along with the cost trade-offs. In other words, a full TCO analysis can be provided prior to and as part of a decision-making process to migrate to the cloud. The tool also allows CenturyLink to re-model the application for Cloud using some of the native technologies and creates a blueprint of the target architecture with little to no effort.

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This though is just the start of a customer’s journey to Digital Transformation – identifying the right platform and technology for applications. Migrating to these new technologies and then managing them going forward are the next steps. CenturyLink’s proven consulting services have been helping customers build and successfully execute bespoke migration plans for cloud services. Our cloud architects work with customers to ensure that clear acceptance criteria have been agreed and are met.

Managing your clouds

Once the right platform(s) have been identified and migration completed, ongoing management becomes the next challenge – this can be vastly simplified through Cloud Application Manager. A unified Cloud orchestration, collaboration and management platform that enables customers to view and manage multiple cloud vendors with built in cost optimisation and best practice recommendations to improve the performance and cost-efficiency of their cloud-hosted systems. Integrated Managed Services from CenturyLink are also available and can be delivered across any platform using automation – these include automated application deployments, application scaling and updating, enabling customers to begin to implement DevOps culture efficiently as part of their digital journey. In addition, CenturyLink are able to manage mission-critical workloads and infrastructure, taking over monitoring, operating systems patching and remote administration of systems.

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Cloud Application Manager also enables businesses to put in place strict governance around the use of their approved cloud platforms through configuration of user groups and granular role-based access control to specify which actions users can carry out on specific clouds that have been added to the portal.

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Digital Transformation doesn't have to be difficult, but it does need to be properly planned and executed. CenturyLink are able to take the guesswork out of this for customers, leaving them to focus on running their business, knowing that their cloud applications are in good hands.

Amit Dalvi, Digital Transformation and Innovation Architect, EMEA

Amit is a Member of the Digital Transformation and Innovation team within CenturyLink EMEA. He has over 15 years of consulting experience, predominantly providing advisory services to business decision makers typically at CxO level to influence key strategic decisions. He has been involved in creating best execution venue strategies for businesses to achieve their digital goals by combining technology, people and processes. He has helped customers by developing strategic cloud roadmaps using public, private and hybrid models and portfolio that demonstrates innovation, creativity, continuous improvement, agile, DevOps and lean thinking.

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