Great team!

Hey there, this is Suresh Kumar Anaparti, from Hyderabad, India. I was born and brought up in the “City of Destiny” (Visakhapatnam) and moved to the “City of Pearls” (Hyderabad) to start my IT career. My personal interests are playing video games, watching movies (mainly crime and thrillers), bike rides, long drives, travel, gardening and playing with my kid! I have been a tea lover since I was a teenager, and I enjoy spending time with friends and sharing a cup of tea with them. I joined ShapeBlue some months ago and wanted to share my initial thoughts on the work and culture here.

I graduated in Computer Science and started my Software Engineering career in my early twenties. My first job assignment was on a defence warfare system and mainly in geospatial technology – work I am proud of and enjoyed a lot at the beginning of my career. Here, I was recognized by the Scientists at Defence Laboratory for my solo efforts towards the advanced GIS (Geographic Information Systems) features integration in the system, thereafter tagged “GIS” to my name and started calling myself “GIS Suresh”. After a few years, when the development work in the project was completed, I transitioned to a new role at Verizon, where I learnt about VoIP (Voice over IP) technology in the telecommunications sector. Here, I gained extensive knowledge on VoIP protocols, worked on the underlying server-side products and developed patented functionality in one of the protocols. Later, I moved to Avaya to continue working with VoIP, this time on the client-side and security products. I gained some experience in the applications development using the desktop clouds and VMware products while working in the telecommunications industry, both at Verizon and Avaya, for a decade.

As I was keen to know more about cloud technology and its evolution as a next-gen platform, I choose to step into the cloud world and joined Citrix. it was here I started working on Citrix CloudPlatform, and joined and started contributing to the Apache CloudStack community. Whilst working with Apache CloudStack, I got know the community and culture, and interacted on various issues through mailing lists, PRs (Pull Requests), etc. I was part of the ApacheCon event in 2018 and 2019, and presented some talks for improving CloudStack. This was my first open-source experience and I really enjoyed working in the community. I contributed some PRs on VMware hypervisor related improvements, volumes, snapshots, etc., and also addressed user and developer queries in the mailing lists, for which I was recently honoured by being made a committer to the project. I didn’t have much time for community participation or contribution in my last role, and one of the reasons I liked ShapeBlue is that they actively encourage their team to engage with the CloudStack community and increase contributions towards Apache CloudStack.

Beginning at ShapeBlue

My onboarding here at ShapeBlue was very smooth. On the very first day, Rohit (who I had known for some time in the community) took me through the onboarding process, introduced the team, shared development procedures, and spoke about the culture here. For the first week I was busy setting up accounts, looking into onboarding documents, acquainting myself with the process, etc., but then I was immediately able to start work on new feature scoping and development work as I already had good knowledge of CloudStack. The team has been there to help me whenever necessary on process and to answer any questions.

I was trained in the support process after a few weeks, and when ready I was able to start dealing with support tickets and resolving customer issues. I have also taken up some in-house assignments (other than participating in the community activities and PR reviews), such as working on the Primate UI, (which meant some quick learning on VueJS), and I’m very glad to have worked on the PowerFlex / ScaleIO project integrating a new storage plugin for CloudStack.

Initially I was a bit worried about remote working. It was for the first time in my career – would it be too challenging to work from home all the time? However, the team here is very open, cooperative and vibrant, which helped me acclimatize to the remote working culture quickly (and of course the world is working remotely now due to COVID-19).

The team structure is flat, and although the hours are flexible, it is better to maintain some core hours so as to interact and collaborate with other team members who are working from other parts of the globe. We generally communicate through the Slack channel and we have regular sync up calls with colleagues, mentors and the wider team. The weekly ‘all staff’ video call provides a chance to see everyone face-to-face in MS Teams (with smiling faces in ‘together mode’!) and share official and personal updates. Every month there is a one-to-one meeting with the CEO (Giles Sirett) to discuss ongoing work, issues or concerns being faced with anything / anyone professionally and personally. One thing I noticed here is that the feedback resolution turnaround time is very quick. This is one of the best teams I have worked with in my career.

Even though the team couldn’t meet in person this year to celebrate its annual event (ShapeBlueCon) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the knowledge sharing sessions were still continued through ‘Virtual ShapeBlueCon’, which helped me and everyone in the company to gain more insights into CloudStack and to hear about company policies and business. The tools, technologies and processes followed in-house are on a par with top-notch global companies, and the way the company works is the way it should be.

Overall, I’m very happy to be part of ShapeBlue, and I’m looking forward to other in-house assignments and more contribution to Apache CloudStack.

Take care, and stay safe!