Application Strategy Improves IT Agility

A series on CenturyLink’s Information Technology team’s move into the cloud

As part of our journey to the cloud, our CenturyLink IT team has made a commitment to migrate 90% of our strategic applications to the cloud. The foundation for this is our long-standing strategic plan for our application portfolio that we call “cap and grow”. Driven by both natural IT strategic evolution and numerous acquisitions, we’re “capping” our investments in many legacy systems and retiring others, while “growing” our investments in existing and new, strategic applications.

Our cap and grow approach helps us improve our agility and focus as we move toward running our portfolio in a hybrid IT environment. If our business strategy calls for expanding our digital TV product into new territories, the cap and grow approach preserves the reliable legacy systems we need for expansion while adding new cloud-based software for fast, efficient innovation. In this case, a legacy billing system we want to keep running can be easily complemented by a new cloud-based web front end.

A fundamental step in “cap and grow” is the process of figuring out which applications are to be capped and which will grow. We work directly with business leadership and our business partners to understand where they are headed and the “grow” systems that will get them there. Our “grow” portfolio consists of applications that are in multiple stages of preparation for deployment to the cloud. For new applications, we embraced a “cloud first” strategy – but for all others we created a classification system to determine “cloud readiness,” allowing us to understand an application’s environment and build a practice around how to successfully migrate that type of application to the cloud.

  • Category 1: Fully virtualized Windows or Linux-based applications using VMWare.
  • Category 2: Partially virtualized Windows or Linux-based applications (i.e. front-end components virtualized while back-end databases run on physical servers.)
  • Category 3: Mainframe platform applications.
  • Category 4: Unix platform applications.
  • Category 5: Heterogeneous platform applications (Windows/Linux/Unix/Mainframe combination).

For us a clear “cap and grow” strategy is an absolutely essential process in our journey to the cloud. Watch our video to learn more about how you can apply the “cap and grow” process to manage your application portfolio and prepare for moving to the cloud.

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