On the 3rd and 4th of July, we officially launched our South Africa practice with two launch events in Johannesburg and in Cape Town. The event in Johannesburg was kindly hosted by Westcon and the event in Cape Town was at the African Pride Hotel.
The objective of these events was to introduce ShapeBlue, explain the technology space we work in and why we think it’s highly relevant to the market in South Africa.
ShapeBlue are a organisation with global consulting, engineering and support teams who deliver services into many different countries for many major service provider and enterprise customers. The key for us when looking to enter a new territory, is to identify countries where the economic and technology develop cycles are in a position to benefit from our eneablement of public & private cloud services.
Our South Africa practice joins our existing practices in London, California, India and Brazil and is here to develop local technical capability and awareness.
Dan Crowe, Managing Partner of ShapeBlue South Africa started the day off with an insightful talk explaining his views on the key drivers towards cloud adoption in South Africa. In order to explain why ShapeBlue are in South Africa, Dan explained how research shows that Africa is predicted to have an incredible cloud adoption annual growth rate of 57% through to 2017.
Dan went on to share stories of organisations that have leveraged cloud technologies in order to disrupt existing markets and how, with its recent history of innovation, the technology sector in South Africa is currently in a perfect situation to leverage cloud.
Next up to speak was our CEO, Giles Sirett, with a talk titled “The business Use-Cases for building IaaS”. Giles gave a brief history of ShapeBlue and how he founded it with a vision to bring a new, specialist form of cloud integrator into the global market. He showed how, despite only being 2.5 years old, ShapeBlue have designed and built cloud environments for many of the world’s largest service providers and also many significant enterprises.
He went on to explain how the company have focused on Apache CloudStack as their core orchestration technology and how the company has deep involvement in this open source project. He gave some examples of companies that have used Cloudstack to transform their infrastructure delivery. One key point that Giles raised was that Cloudstack (and its commercial distributions) are in much wider use than many people realise. The technology doesn’t have marketing associated with other orchestration projects, but it is certainly the most widely adopted, production grade platform available today
Giles then explained the 4 key use-cases for building IaaS that he sees in the market today:
- Service providers building public cloud
- Organisations looking to increase agility through automation & devops
- The concept of “AWS insourcing” – moving workloads back into a private cloud environment when known demand can be predicted
- Enterprises looking to develop next generation infrastructures
Next, Simon McCullough from Citrix presented current trends and success that Citrix are having with CloudPlatform. CloudPlatform is Citrix’s commercial distribution of Apache CloudStack and is the technology that ShapeBlue often work with in enterprise customers.
Simon explained how Citrix also collaborate in the opensource project and how their commercial distribution is in widespread use worldwide. He talked through some interesting case studies ranging from a major international petroleum company to the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
The last speaker of the day was Andrew Potgieter from WesCon Security solutions. Andrew looked at some of the challenges in cloud security and focussed on Kaspersky’s anti-virus and anti-malware protection suite.
Dan wrapped the day up by thanking our co-organisers for the day: Citrix and Westcon and by giving a few places where people could go for further information. He suggested that people join the CloudStack South Africa User group and is looking forward to organising some future meetings of this community
Giles is CEO and founder of ShapeBlue and is responsible for overall company strategy, strategic relationships, finance and sales.
He is also a committer and PMC member of the Apache CloudStack project, and Chairman of the European Cloudstack User Group, actively helping promote brand awareness of the technology.