The Centurylink Technology Solutions Blog - Trends in IT Infrastructure

Recently in Network Category

Tier 3 has joined CenturyLink. We are going to build amazing things together.


But let's look back before we look ahead.


Many people contributed to the success of Tier 3. Developers launched feature after feature, while network engineers supported customers day and night. A passion for problem solving fueled their achievements.

CloudIcon_Larger.jpgI'm absolutely thrilled about today's announcement that we're enhancing the Savvis Cloud portfolio through CenturyLink's acquisition of AppFog.  


The move adds AppFog's market-leading PaaS capabilities to the already-extensive Savvis Cloud product catalog. Savvis instantly becomes - in my estimation - the only cloud provider with market-leading Infrastructure-as-a-Service AND Platform-as-a-Service solutions. And the CenturyLink network is the cherry on top. runs a community called Innovation Insights, dedicated to "new thinking for a new era of technology."  Earlier this week, I contributed this article on cloud security, reflecting on some of the interesting trends around cloud network access and the impact on customer adoption.


I encourage everyone to dig deeper when a colleagues reference "security concerns" as one of the reasons holding them back from public cloud adoption models.  What are those concerns?  Are you exposed to them today?  And how do you mitigate risk?

Living in a World of Many Clouds

The following is a guest post by Pat Adamiak, senior director of cloud solutions, at Cisco Systems Inc.


Here on the final day of VMworld 2012 Barcelona, I can't help but be reminded that cloud is currently one of the hottest topics in the IT industry.


We believe that cloud represents a fundamental shift in how IT will be delivered and consumed.  In these early days of cloud, public cloud has often received much of the media attention, with conversation often centered on whether massive scale is necessary to be a viable cloud provider.


While there is indeed a strong role both now and in the future for scale providers, we're also seeing an equally interesting  trend as well - the emergence of more highly differenced cloud services, focused on addressing industry specific needs,  such as application types, compliance requirements or geographical differences.


Cisco Cloud GraphicAs we work with both cloud service providers and end customers, we've seen that a one-size-fits-all type cloud solution is not always preferred. As a result, we are seeing the rapid rise of what we refer to as 'a world of many clouds.'


For example, a financial institution has entirely different application and service requirements from a high-end gaming company.  Or for that matter, from those of a federal or provincial government. The result is an increasingly rich tapestry of clouds that will mark our future - some public, some private, and some hybrid.


Connecting many of these different elements efficiently and seamlessly - and with flawless security -requires sophisticated interplay within the datacenter and across the many flavors of networking that interconnect the datacenters, clouds and cloud service customers.


As part of this, the industry is already making rapid progress towards developing open, programmable networks, which feature APIs to support rich interaction between cloud software and the underlying network, as well as increasing virtualization of the network, computing and storage.


Leading cloud solution providers are already embracing the transition to more robust and customizable cloud offerings. A great example of this is Savvis, which has been cited by industry analysts as both a visionary and leader in the critical infrastructure as a service market.


By upgrading its data centers and switching to an IP Next-Generation Network last year, Savvis combined its expertise in serving vertical markets with a cloud solution that can provide on-premise levels of performance, availability, security and flexibility. It has done an excellent job of preparing for and benefiting from the world of many clouds.


Cloud is the future of IT services. This future will not be made of one giant monolithic cloud but, rather, a world of many clouds. These different clouds will be unique in how they are able to serve specific market segments with tailored offerings. Those providers, like Savvis, with the ability to roll out customizable, vertically focused clouds, will have a significant advantage in the race to capture marke t share in the growing cloud space. 

Colocation IconStructured cabling is an important part of any colocation installation. Proven industry expertise is required in network infrastructure design and installation. The resources needed to implement structured cabling solutions manage the installation for a wide range of clients. Consequently, colocation customers should consider the important reasons to utilize structured cabling for data center colocation implementations.


The client gets a complete design package that includes design elevations and material lists. Structured cabling should have the look, feel and support of the colocation provider offering. The offering should meet or exceed the proposed design and implementation specifications and be provided directly by the colocation provider.


The structuring cabling should be at market price parity and consistency. With the volume of business the colocation provider offers, leverage their increased buying power with their suppliers, and consequently trickle down to greater overall cost savings on labor and materials, which is passed on as the lowest pricing for the highest quality structured cabling design and implementation.


There are significant performance, composition and cost differences in cable types available in the market place. This applies to both copper and fiber cable. It is important to understand the performance requirements and standards associated with the active components (servers, switches, routers) when considering the physical infrastructure that will interconnect and support the active component assets.


The physical construction of the cable needs to be considered within the environments the cable is going to be used. If cable is installed today, knowing that additional cable may be installed in the future in an overhead or under floor system, the construction and composition of the cable should be considered as future cable may be installed on top of existing cable. Again, for pennies per foot, a higher quality cable should be considered so that performance degradation does not occur when future cables are installed on top of existing cables. There are also significant differences in connectors and termination hardware. It is important to utilize components that have been manufactured and rated to comply with the overall solution being installed.


The installation, testing and warranty of structured cabling solutions should be implemented by those that have been formally authorized and trained to install in accordance with manufacturer and industry standards. The solution should be warranted by the manufacturer of the components through the colocation provider installing the solution. Such certifications occur both at the company and individual installer level. Upon completion of the installation, the installer should be able to provide a Certificate of Warranty that is issued by the manufacturer to the customer owning the solution. This is a result of not only using properly certified installers but also by having the installer issue the certified test results of the project to the manufacturer. Upon submission of the proper paperwork and the certified test results by the installer to the manufacturer, the project is filed and warranted.


Colocation providers should incorporate checks and balances as part of their structured cabling process. To ensure the highest quality at the lowest price, colocation providers should internally audit completed designs to ensure they are within market pricing and that the quality of work is in line with the industry.


As you can see, colocation is not just about space, power, cages and cabinets. Structured cabling is a critical component of the colocation solution for enterprise organizations. As infrastructure specialists, Savvis offers comprehensive design and installation services associated with structured cabling solutions. Savvis provides the physical connectivity to a customer cage and also has the expertise to design and install services associated with infrastructure builds within the cage environment. These elements are critical when delivering a high-performance, reliable and secure network system infrastructure to the colocation customer.


Drew Leonard is vice president, colocation product management, at Savvis, a CenturyLink company.