Case Study

CenturyLink

Creating a Powerful Platform for Cloud Innovation with Pivotal Cloud Foundry


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Introduction

In the fast-moving cloud market, CenturyLink continues to differentiate with advanced cloud services and complementary agile infrastructure, network and managed services. According to Richard Seroter, VP of Product at CenturyLink, the company is very focused on continually advancing its products and services for enterprise customers.

Challenges

Quickly Delivering Best-of-Breed Cloud and Colocation Services

CenturyLink is unique among managed services, cloud, and colocation providers because it has its own network backbone to support mission-critical IT services. This means, for example, that the company’s customers can use CenturyLink’s 60-plus data centers to easily implement solutions that take advantage of many parts of the network stack.

“We want to ensure that we’re constantly delivering the right automation, scale, inteoperability of products and services that our enterprise customers require in the cloud at the right time across our portfolio,” Seroter says. “In our industry, if you’re not rapidly innovating, you’re probably becoming irrelevant.”

Recently, it became clear that there was strong demand among CenturyLink private and public cloud enterprise customers to adopt cloud native application architecture that takes advantage of an agile software development environment, while still maintaining investments in legacy systems and infrastructure. CenturyLink, wanted to meet customer demand with a best-of-breed Cloud Native Platform to enable these architecture patterns.

Solution

Integrating Pivotal Cloud Foundry with CenturyLink Cloud to Offer a Variety of Cloud Native Platform Capabilities to Meet Customer Demand

CenturyLink has a positive partnership with Pivotal that extends several years. The company is very familiar with the Pivotal Cloud Foundry platform. As a result, the company confidently agreed to integrate its CenturyLink Cloud with Pivotal Cloud Foundry to provide a new hosted, dedicated platform to CenturyLink customers. The cloud native approach fully automates the infrastructure, developer middleware, and backing services used to run applications, providing greater agility and efficiency.

“We really love having a partnership with Pivotal, who can provide best-of-breed (platform) technology,” says Seroter. “Pivotal helps us host in the right way, but we’re not overstretched having to build technologies where we are not experts.”

Now, CenturyLink customers benefit from the cost and scalability of a high-performance public cloud with the customizability of Pivotal Cloud Foundry. It also provides seamless automation across a mix of clouds.

CenturyLink is so confident about Pivotal Cloud Foundry that it is also using it internally to modernize strategic applications. Based on this experience, the company is already building new products and documenting its successes, failures and lessons learned for the benefit of its customers.

“We’re not just selling cloud, we’re also consuming it,” says Seroter. “This benefits our customers because they can see we’re on the same journey.”

Benefits

Increase the Speed of Innovation Across the Organization to Offer New Services and Applications

The positive impact of using Pivotal Cloud Foundry is that CenturyLink is improving agility across the organization to offer more services efficiently. Not only are IT employees working to migrate mobile and customer applications, they now have the bandwidth for data initiatives and to invest time exploring how to help customers take advantage of emerging technologies such as big data and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“When it comes to big data, we’re a large telecommunications company, and we generate a lot of data,” observes Seroter. “With a better handle on innovation thanks to Cloud Foundry, we can begin to determine how we can process big data better and how we can serve this out to our customers in interesting and unique ways.”

Streamline Application Development and Deployment

Currently, application development and deployment processes are not as streamlined as CenturyLink developers would like. There are too many layers and too many manual processes involved with requesting hardware, getting approvals and planning releases. The company is in the process of incorporating Cloud Foundry as it introduces its own automation suites to move more quickly from ideas to generating business value with new applications.

“By adopting Pivotal technologies, we will soon be able to focus on improving and cutting out unnecessary steps to automate the application development process while still maintaining data security,” says Seroter.

Enabling CenturyLink Customers to Quickly Access and Develop Applications

Developers are working to integrate CenturyLink’s portfolio of services and build more platform-integrated, self-service capabilities as a way to be more competitive in the marketplace. Ultimately, CenturyLink customers can quickly connect some of their own network components to Pivotal Cloud Foundry via self-service in just minutes—leaving behind the old way of appointment tickets and multi-week delays.

CenturyLink will offer Pivotal Cloud Foundry on its public cloud, and will also provide customers with managed hosting services to alleviate its operational burden. This will enable customers to focus more of their efforts on developing and delivering their digital strategy.

“We see software as an enabler to allow us to be more efficient serving customers. We can move faster than our customers ever dreamed of.”

Conclusion

CenturyLink is looking forward to using Pivotal Cloud Foundry to develop and deploy more next-generation applications, including linking together services such as VoIP, messaging, cloud, storage, and colocation. IT personnel are preparing for the explosive growth in data and mobile devices while determining how best to ingest and process the resulting information.

“We looking at how to productize this for customers who are experiencing similar challenges and want to use CenturyLink Cloud to actually process all the data,” he says. “As we continue to make sure Pivotal Cloud Foundry works for us internally, it is serving an ideal test bed for products and services. We’re testing processes first so that we provide an easy on-ramp for customers.”