Why Alex Mattioli, former Director of Architecture for a global telecoms giant, chose to join ShapeBlue

Hello, I’m Alexandre Mattioli – a Cloud Architect at ShapeBlue. After a few months working here I’d like to share some views.

Originally from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, I moved to Europe in my mid-twenties in order to pursue a PhD at Imperial College, London. With that done I worked for quite a few years in software development in London, Belgrade and remotely throughout the continent. After a few years I decided to move to infrastructure, so I quit my job, got myself a bunch of routers and switches and started studying networking and infrastructure. Once I had (or thought I had) enough knowledge I started my next journey, working in all kinds of companies. These included property management portals, trading, news and media, finally “settling” in a large telecoms business (GTT Communications), where I worked as a Cloud Architect, Chief Architect and finally Director of Architecture, leading a team responsible for the design and implementation of its cloud and edge products.

In my early days working as a cloud architect I was given the task of finding a suitable replacement for GTT’s cloud orchestration software, and after some investigation and testing, we decided on Apache CloudStack. During that process I ran into ShapeBlue, who we engaged with to provide consultancy on this new platform, and later technical support and development of new features. During that period, I worked extensively with ShapeBlue on new features, bug fixes and upgrades. We also collaborated in many meetups and conferences, during which I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet many ShapeBlue staff.

After all those years of collaboration, changes of focus in my role, acquisition of my previous employer by another company and my subsequent departure, I got a message from Giles Sirret, Shapeblue’s CEO and a friend from all those years. During that time I was always very impressed with ShapeBlue’s capability and professionalism, having never regretted the decision to choose them as the development and support partner for CloudStack. So, when I met Giles for a coffee and a chat, which quickly morphed into a job offer I definitely couldn’t pass on, I joined my old partners and friends at ShapeBlue.

The transition into ShapeBlue was relatively smooth, surely helped by already knowing many people well in the company. Nevertheless, I was also made very welcome by those I had not met before. The completely distributed nature of the company, with home-based working and with most communication done online was something to get used to, and moving from a more traditional, office-based company with more than 3,000 people to one a little smaller took some adjustment! With that said, most of the adjustment has been positive, with way less red tape to get through in order to get things done.

Over the years my roles had become increasingly about product development and team management, and a bit less hands-on the technology, especially in the past couple of years. For a while I have been missing more and more the hands-on aspect of being a technologist. Joining ShapeBlue has given me the opportunity to be more “spread in the stack”, quickly getting involved in customer projects, strategy, and trouble-shooting.

CloudStack provides quite a lot of flexibility on how networks are deployed and managed, and in my previous job we were able to leverage this ability and create a software defined MPLS core, allowing IAAS customers to create and manage their own global IPVPN VRFs. This would have been incredibly difficult and time consuming were it not for CloudStack’s networking capabilities. Now at ShapeBlue I have the very exciting opportunity to take this a few steps further, leveraging Cloudstack in the deployment of SD-WANs and other types of software defined networks. This also opens up the possibility of expanding CloudStack into more distributed and varied network topologies, allowing it to enable the orchestration and management of not only Cloud infrastructure, but also remote infrastructure at the Edge.

It’s great to be more involved with the technology again, and great to have the opportunity to getting my hands back on it!