CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY

Centurylink adds 1,100 new workloads with turbonomic

  • Real-time performance for 1,200 workloads across a diverse environment
  • Reclaimed unused and underutilized resources and identified over 14TB of wasted storage resources
  • Increased workload density by 33% from 15:1 to 20:1

“We can confidently prepare for new application deployments, major system reworks or refreshes, and consolidation, knowing everything we will need to make those projects successful, no more, no less.”

Yanping Zhu Principal Engineer CenturyLink

With Turbonomic's Workload Automation Platform, CenturyLink assures performance of more than 1,200 virtual workloads and enables seamless management of 4 new data centers.

Challenges

  • Difficulty managing performance of applications in a rapidly expanding virtual environment (over 100% Y/Y growth)
  • Onboarding new workloads from multiple acquisitions spanning 4 data centers

Solution

Turbonomic intelligently and automatically senses changes to CenturyLink’s application demand and adjusts infrastructure supply in real-time to improve utilization, assure performance and ensure service delivery to CenturyLink’s customer base.

Results

  • Workload Automation Platform drives real-time performance for 1,200 workloads across diverse environment
  • Reclaimed unused and underutilized resources and repurposed for future projects, including identification of over 14TB of wasted storage resources
  • Increased workload density by 33% (15:1 to 20:1)
  • Enabled an efficient hardware refresh process through leveraging Turbonomic planning capabilities

Company Overview

Founded in 1968, CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States and a leading global provider of network services, cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions. Headquartered in Monroe, La., CenturyLink is an S&P 500 company and is included among the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations.

Yanping Zhu, Principal IT Engineer for CenturyLink, has been with the Network Operations team for 15 years, and is responsible for the systems support network operations. CenturyLink’s network service data centers are located throughout several metro areas in the mid-west and leverage VMware vSphere® ESX™ 5.1 and 5.5 across FlexPod® converged infrastructure.

Industry Challenges

CenturyLink provides managed services to customers throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, operating 55 data centers globally. These multi-tenant data centers seek to achieve economies of scale necessary to deliver competitively priced yet profitable cloud services that meet the QoS standards desired by subscribers.

However, the increased scale and complexity at which these infrastructures are operated, combined with the enhanced expectations of subscribers, created challenges for CenturyLink as the organization sought to deliver robust yet cost-effective managed services.

Managing 1,100% Growth

Over the past few years, CenturyLink has undergone a number of acquisitions, enabling the company to provide enhanced network services to its customers but also adding layers of complexity as it expanded. “Our environment was growing rapidly, we started with one data center and within 12 months we had four other locations,” said Zhu. “We saw the immediate financial benefit in virtualizing, but the more applications we virtualized the harder it became to manage performance and control the environment.” In their first year of virtualization, Zhu’s team had approximately 100 VMs, and by the fourth year they had more than 1,200.

Zhu and his team wanted to get a better handle on their data centers, as well as stronger capacity planning capabilities. “Initially we were just looking for a monitoring tool, starting with vCOps and VeeamOne, because we didn’t realize there was another option,” said Zhu. “We saw the positive impact Turbonomic had on our environment within the first few weeks and pretty soon after we were automating all vMotions.”

Measurable Results in Under 1 Week

Since deploying Turbonomic, CenturyLink’s virtual environment has seen a decrease in congestion and uncertainty, and the Operations team has been able to reclaim large quantities of unused or underutilized resources. “We’ve increased our VM to host density and have seen improvements in both performance and efficiency,” said Zhu. “We are sweating our assets more than ever before, and honestly I think we could go even further.”

Prior to leveraging the workload automation platform, the typical response to assuring performance was to add resources, an expensive and unnecessary habit. “Turbonomic gave us the ability to engage in a much needed hardware refresh without having to purchase any new software components,” said Zhu. “It’s been an incredible value-add to the tools we have today, some of which we will be able to retire in the near future.”

33% Workload Density Improvement through Effective Capacity Management

A major feature the team at CenturyLink was looking for was strong capacity management capabilities, and they found that in Turbonomic. “There are plenty of tools that can tell you to add resources, but none that I know of that capacity plan the way Turbonomic does,” said Zhu. “There isn’t that worry that we will be overprovisioned when the time comes. We can confidently prepare for new application deployments, major system reworks or refreshes, and consolidation, knowing everything we will need to make those projects successful, no more, no less.”