Tag Archive for: Case Studies

ShapeBlue recently attended the AfricaCom show in Cape Town, South Africa.  We had an excellent opportunity to catch up with a number of our clients and partners and listened to a number of storage challenges being faced by the industry.  We captured some of these thoughts, and also got some updates from our partner NetApp SolidFire in this short video.

With infrastructure and data center as the top technology investment priority for Africa CIOs in 2015, SolidFire’s storage platform enables businesses to increase agility and benefit from the cloud

BOULDER & CAPE TOWN, August 18, 2015ShapeBlue and SolidFire, the leader in all-flash storage systems built for the Next Generation Data Center, today announced that RSAWEB, a hosting and connectivity provider in South Africa, is the first Internet Service Provider to deploy SolidFire’s innovative all-flash scale-out storage platform on the African continent, specifically in its data centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town. For the first time, companies on the African continent can easily manage resources on demand with fast, secure, scalable infrastructure that delivers guaranteed and predictable performance in the cloud and removes the barriers typically associated with the move to the cloud.

ShapeBlue played an integral role in the deployment by enabling RSAWEB to test the solution and providing local technical, commercial and operational support throughout the entire process. “At ShapeBlue, we are always assessing the market for best-fit technology for our cloud customers’ environments. Providing feature-rich, automated and competitive cloud services is vital,” said Dan Crowe, Managing Consultant at ShapeBlue South Africa. “SolidFire’s solutions are proven and trusted. In addition, by offering practical space and power-saving efficiencies and enabling us and RSAWEB to use the existing supply chain, SolidFire was the perfect fit.”

RSAWEB’s customers require an infrastructure with simple online management, resiliency and performance predictability without any maintenance or capital cost headaches. SolidFire meets these needs by offering the ability to allocate, manage and guarantee storage performance with complete data and performance availability, regardless of system condition or application activity. Leveraging SolidFire storage infrastructure, RSAWEB can now provide its customers with flexible, infinitely scalable cloud server and virtual private data centre infrastructure at an affordable price.

Unlike any other vendor, SolidFire enables RSAWEB to isolate and identify root causes of performance spikes and completely eliminate noisy neighbours issues – applications that monopolize performance and slow it down for others. Its linear scale-out architecture means RSA can scale performance and capacity independently, without downtime or disruption. SolidFire’s REST-based API allows for seamless integration with RSAWEB’s VMware-based environment and its automation capabilities eliminate the challenges of day-to-day operations.

“The recent rollout of high-speed fiber connectivity combined with customers’ needs for speed and performance have made all-flash arrays the ideal choice for storage infrastructure in Africa. SolidFire enables us to not only meet this demand, but allows us to deliver additional value through linear and modular scalability and automation,” said Allan Boyle, operations director at RSAWEB.

“Storage has historically been a barrier that prevented many companies from going to the cloud. But with SolidFire at the core of our infrastructure, we can break down this barrier and give customers the confidence they need to move more workloads to the cloud,” said Andrew Cruise, cloud engineering manager at RSAWEB. “There are no more excuses to not go to the cloud. SolidFire’s automation, performance, scalability and flexibility open up brand new customer opportunities for us.”

“RSAWEB has always been an innovative company, launching the first public pay-as-you-go IaaS service in South Africa in 2010. With an infrastructure Fueled by SolidFire, it continues to drive innovation for its customers and allows us to establish strong presence in the region,” said Stuart Oliver, global service provider programs manager at SolidFire. “Our solution was designed from the ground up for service providers like RSAWEB, enabling them to deliver performance-sensitive applications from a shared cloud infrastructure. Combined with our scale-out model and automation, service providers and their customers gain increased agility, allowing them to respond to business demands faster than ever.”


Since being established in 2001, RSAWEB has grown rapidly, gaining extensive industry experience while continuously improving products. With great commitment to customer service excellence and in-depth technical understanding, RSAWEB is able to retain partnerships with some of South Africa’s leading brands from a wide array of sectors. RSAWEB takes pride in offering clients the best in service and support, providing Service-Level Agreements and a 24-hour helpdesk that fully supports and monitors all services, ensuring all clients have absolute peace of mind, this is who we are.

Having invested heavily in infrastructure, RSAWEB has built a strong presence in South Africa and Internationally with data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and POPs (points of presence) in London, Europe and the USA. http://www.rsaweb.co.za/

About ShapeBlue

ShapeBlue is the largest independent integrator of CloudStack technologies globally, and a specialist in the design and implementation of IaaS cloud infrastructures for both private and public cloud implementations.Our services range from consulting, integration, support and training and cover cloud orchestration, networking and storage technologies. https://www.shapeblue.com/

About SolidFire

SolidFire is the market leader in all-flash storage systems built for the next generation data center. Leveraging SolidFire’s all-flash architecture, with volume-level Quality of Service (QoS) controls, customers now can guarantee storage performance to thousands of applications within a shared infrastructure. Coupling this functionality with in-line data reduction techniques and system-wide automation results in substantial capital and operating cost savings relative to traditional disk and basic all-flash storage systems. www.solidfire.com

London, UK, 7th July 2015  – Cloudian, the leading provider of hybrid cloud smart data storage solutions, and ShapeBlue, the CloudStack company, have announced a partnership to drive adoption of object storage solutions within organisations running Cloud services powered by Apache CloudStack.  CloudStack is the most widely adopted open source cloud platform in production use by service providers and enterprises alike.

The partnership will allow customers to implement a combined compute and Amazon S3 compatible object storage solution based on technologies that are proven and simple to deploy.  The integration of Cloudian and Apache CloudStack unifies the S3 compatible cloud storage service along with the file system requirements of the CloudStack cloud computing platform.

Customers can directly utilise S3 cloud storage as they normally would with Cloudian, taking advantage of Cloudian’s S3 compatibility to deliver interoperability with the wide diversity of tools and applications found in the S3 ecosystem. Additionally, CloudStack templates and snapshots are centrally stored within Cloudian and managed through the CloudStack service and available across datacentres or CloudStack Zones via Cloudian’s multi-datacentre storage capabilities. Cloudian’s Cloud Management Console is integrated with CloudStack to allow cloud service providers and their customers to access and administer cloud storage and cloud computing services via the product’s intuitive user interface.

“At ShapeBlue we are seeing increasing demand for CloudStack-based orchestration environments as the market looks for production proven solutions.  Those organisations also need storage capabilities and as CloudStack has very tight scope around infrastructure orchestration we have looked for a best of breed vendor partner,” explained Giles Sirett, CEO of ShapeBlue.  “We evaluated a number of solutions both Open Source and proprietary and were very impressed with Cloudian’s technical architecture and commercial model.”

Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at Cloudian, explained: “This an exciting development for both organisations and we think ShapeBlue offers a perfect compliment to our approach.  Their experience and expertise in designing and implementing CloudStack technology for customers around the world will prove invaluable.”

About Cloudian, Inc.

Cloudian is a Silicon Valley-based software company specialising in enterprise-grade storage. Our flagship product, Cloudian HyperStore®, is an S3-compatible storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. For more information, or to try Cloudian HyperStore today, visit www.cloudian.com.

About ShapeBlue

ShapeBlue are the largest independent integrator of Cloudstack technologies  globally and are specialists in the design and implementation of IaaS cloud infrastructures for both private and public cloud implementations. Services include IaaS Cloud Design, Software Engineering,  CloudStack Consulting & training.

The company has a global customer base with offices in London (UK), Mountain View (CA) and Bangalore (India), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Cape Town (South Africa). For further information, visit: www.shapeblue.com




London, 6 September 2013

ShapeBlue, the cloud integrator and consultancy focusing on Apache CloudStack and Citrix Cloud technologies, today launched a dedicated cloud practice based in Brazil, aimed at developing the Latin America market.

This is part of a global expansion programme for the company that has already seen them extend their European and US operations into India & SE Asia.

The practice will focus initially on the Brazillian market. In July of this year, the company announced the development of a major public cloud offering for Ascenty, a Brazillian based datacentre provider.

Giles Sirett, CEO of ShapeBlue commented: “we are seeing a rapid increase in demand for our services relating to Apache CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform, being driven by both service providers building public cloud and enterprise adoption of private & hybrid cloud. We see more demand from Brazil currently than any other country.

We expect Enterprise adoption of private cloud for the next 12 months to rise significantly but we also expect CloudStack’s market share to rise exponentially. This is being driven by both CloudStack’s increasing reputation as the most stable, proven cloud management system and also Citrix’s exciting plans to integrate cloud orchestration with their enterprise offerings.”

The new practice in Brazil will be based in Rio de Janeiro and will give ShapeBlue both Consulting and sales functions in the region from mid September onwards.

ShapeBlue CEO, Giles Sirett will be visiting Brazil 10-20 September.

 About ShapeBlue

ShapeBlue are the globally leading indepndant integrator of Apache CloudStack & Citrix CloudPlatform. The company was the first Citrix Cloud Advisor in Europe and has worked with customers including Cisco, Citrix and SunGard Availability Services. The company provides cloud design & build, consulting and training services.



Information Availability pioneer, SunGard Availability Services has over 30 years of experience keeping customers’ critical applications up and running – in recent years, delivery of such services has necessarily embraced cloud Infrastructure as a Service offerings   SunGard looks to provide cloud infrastructures for all sizes of organisations, at all stages of their cloud adoption journey and whatever the use case – Test and Development, Pre-production or Production, the flexibility of SunGard Online – the company’s newly launched on-demand computing platform – is therefore a vital component in our services delivery.

Selecting best of breed partners who add value to SunGard’s offering so that customers can harness the best availability solutions for them has long been part of SunGard’s strategy.  So, when looking to develop SunGard Online,  expert cloud  integrators, ShapeBlue, were the obvious choice.

As a proven, stable and award-winning  provider of cloud infrastructure and managed services, SunGard enables it customers to harness the cloud to realise their business and information availability ambitions. However, to reflect the fast-moving and dynamic nature of both the technological and customer landscape, SunGard was looking to provide a more flexible solution for SMEs. Gary Watson, General Manager for SunGard Availability Services in Ireland explained.

“We wanted to offer our customers the capability to manage their own environment in addition to the fully-managed service we already provided. This flexibility would give them the adaptable and cost-efficient infrastructure modern organisations require, but backed up by an enterprise-class service.”

With organisations continuing to look to drive efficiencies and deliver always-available resources, they are increasingly reliant on IT to help achieve scalability, cost savings and flexible operations.  SunGard Online would therefore support rapid access to robust, scalable resources, but without lengthy set-up times or a complex management interface.  The service would also offer businesses the opportunity to realise these benefits through the cloud in an easy to access and secure hosted environment.

Affordable and flexible on-demand cloud computing platform

To provide such a flexible IaaS solution, SunGard carried out significant research in the market before eventually choosing CloudStack, the leading open source cloud orchestration platform. In use by many of the world’s largest public and private clouds it is a multi-hypervisor, multi-tenant, high-availability IaaS cloud management platform.

“CloudStack was chosen for a number of reasons,” said Gary. “Firstly, was its flexibility to cope with the demanding requirements we would place on it. As we wanted to offer an adaptable IaaS solution to our customers it was important that the framework we built our offering on could deliver this.

“Equally important was the fact that we could contribute to the solution going forward. SunGard has teams on the Apache foundation so we can have direct input into the future direction of the product based on our customers’ feedback and our experience.

“Finally, its multi-hypervisor capability would enable us to deliver the cost-effective functionality our customers wanted.”

 An Expert Delivery Partner

Having determined to base SunGard Online on CloudStack, SunGard then needed an expert partner to help design, build and implement the solution.  A track record of excellence in CloudStack deployments meant ShapeBlue was selected to work with SunGard in realising this latest extension to its wide portfolio of cloud and managed solutions.

Said Gary “We were aware that ShapeBlue was one of the few organisations who had implemented CloudStack at scale for global service providers, so we were confident that they would add both value  and skills to our team.”

A ShapeBlue implementation team started working with SunGard and Citrix in June 2012 as Giles Sirett, Managing Consultant of ShapeBlue explained. “We were initially involved with the requirements phase, working with SunGard to scope requirements to build an initial point of presence in Dublin. A series of workshops ran to establish detailed business, technical and operational requirements. This provided information to create high and low level designs for all aspects of the system. We then moved onto specifying the actual requirements for the physical storage, network and compute platforms.

“The build and implementation commenced in July 2012 and took some 16 weeks to complete. ShapeBlue fully managed the project during this time. This involved the build-out of the storage, compute hosts, virtualisation, CloudStack orchestration and CloudPortal Business Manager layer. We also specified and managed the customisation of Cloud Portal Business Manager by a team from Citrix and supported the integration of the platform with other systems like monitoring and billing platforms.”

Education and skills transfer were also a key deliverable and ShapeBlue developed a comprehensive training and skills transfer programme across SunGard’s technical and operational teams so that they could become self-sufficient. Finally, detailed operational, support and sales run-books were created as part of the handover.

High level of service at a reduced cost

Commenting on the service provided by ShapeBlue during this time Gary said. “They were excellent. It is obvious that they know both the technology and the industry very well. Importantly they also know how to apply this knowledge and experience for the benefit of their customers due to their technical and commercial astuteness. They were  there whenever we needed them, added value to our team and helped us meet ambitious targets for the launch of SunGard Online.”

Since coming to market in November 2012, SunGard Online customers can now enjoy the following benefits:

  • Efficiency: The underlying technology maximises multi-hypervisor capabilities and offers flexibility to future-proof the service by not restricting it to a single technology.
  • Flexibility and packaged service: Businesses only need to pay for resources that they use in a packaged service – starting from only 9c per hour for 30 day contracts. Extra resources can be provisioned within minutes via 24/7 self-service portals.
  • Intuitive: The secure online portal allows an autonomous approach to cloud management based on pre-defined packages that can be designated within your budget.

Gary Watson comments: “This is an important development in SunGard’s cloud capability, giving businesses control and autonomy, as well as ultimate flexibility, in how they choose to transition to the cloud. Companies of all sizes can leverage the stable and robust service, benefitting from enterprise service level guarantees, without the capital costs of larger IT projects.”

This latest development in SunGard’s portfolio of cloud solutions extends a capability that spans public, enterprise and dedicated private cloud infrastructures supported by experienced migration consultants.to ensure customers journey into, and through, the cloud is both smooth and cost-effective.

The next step for SunGard Online will be its expansion across the rest of Europe, as part of realising the overall SunGard global roadmap for cloud solutions.



ControlCircle is a leading provider of managed and cloud-based services to enterprises and on-line businesses on a global basis. ControlCircle serves organisations that require enterprise-grade solutions across the spectrum of IT requirements – from colocation to cloud – aligning the right solution to address the stated business imperative and evolving these solutions over time as demands and requirements change.

ControlCircle’s customers rely on them to manage their critical IT infrastructure and applications.. Since its inception in 2001, the company has focused on developing a robust foundation, including its ability to service customers from data centres across the UK, US and EMEA, ISO20000 and ISO27001 accreditation and key partnerships with technology leaders.

Business situation

ControlCircle recognised that although it managed its customers’ private clouds within its datacentres ControlCircle needs to be able to offer a service that enables the delivery of a hybrid cloud. As Tim Cox, Chief Technology Officer at ControlCircle explained, “All the private clouds we manage are revenue generating platforms for our customers. We need to provide a service that enables our customers to extend their private cloud for either testing or development purposes or to be able to bring new products to market, all with enterprise level SLAs and hardware.”

Technical situation

The new solution is named Hybrix™. It is a highly flexible and customisable platform that offers traditional Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS),IaaS with monitoring and management and hybrid platform connectivity.

Hybrix™ enables a customer to self-administer virtual servers, storage, virtual networking, security configuration and components with fully managed enterprise-grade load balancing and firewall options. The Hybrix™ architecture is built upon years of experience designing, building and managing mission critical hosted virtual platforms for large-scale enterprises.

The solution

ControlCircle decided on a parallel implementation strategy of using Citrix CloudPlatform (powered by Apache CloudStack) for the customer platform and Apache CloudStack directly for their own internal development estate with a view to ultimately moving everything to CloudStack.

After implementing Gen1 of Hybrix™, they approached CloudStack specialist ShapeBlue to help them with the design and installation of Gen2. “We wanted to upgrade using established best practices and with maximum flexibility and ShapeBlue provided us with the expertise to do that,” explained Tim.

“They were able to help us define the landscape and identify the decision points. This helped us understand exactly what our new platform could do so we were never in a position where we oversold its capabilities.”


“Apache CloudStack is more mature and feature-rich than all the other solutions we looked at,” Tim noted. “It is possible to configure and deploy it out of the box and start making money. Its powerful API enables us to quickly build automation around it, and the customer can see the results in the GUI.”

“By having a parallel implementation strategy, we achieved the best of both worlds,” concluded Tim. “We have the documentation, support, development and SLAs offered by a major organisation as well as the benefits of being part of the wider Apache CloudStack community.

“Because the code has been donated by one company, Citrix have a vested interest in ensuring that it is sound, solid and maintained. Unlike other open source communities I have been involved with, people are regularly putting stuff back in, making it a very vibrant community that is progressing and growing.”


On-demand Cloud Computing Platform Puts Affordable, Flexible Infrastructure On Tap For Businesses

Dublin, Ireland: 20 November, 2012 – SunGard Availability Services, the pioneer and leading provider of Information Availability services, today announced the introduction of SunGard Online: An on-demand computing platform, providing Public Cloud service-level flexibility backed by SunGard’s over 30 years of experience in delivering resilient IT infrastuctures and that offers businesses the ability to access the enterprise grade compute resource they need, when they need it. The intuitive online portal allows SunGard customers to harness the power of the cloud to support rapid access to robust, scalable resources without lengthy set up times or a complex management interface.


Read full story  here:


Moving to a cloud-based infrastructure can deliver a number of significant benefits. Whilst these are usually easy to identify and quantify the actual process required to migrate on-premise systems to the cloud can be complex and fraught with problems unless approached in the right way.

Such a problem was faced by Texas-based software developer eSkyCity. Located in Dallas, the company develops custom software solutions for specific vertical markets such as hospitals and provides these via a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Traditionally, eSkyCity had offered their SaaS solutions either on their own on-premise infrastructure or Amazon Web services. But, in early 2012 decided that the best way forward was to build their own Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud.

Meeting customer demands

Trace Finn of eSkyCity explained the reasoning behind the decision. “Providing SaaS is very unpredictable with regard to infrastructure requirements. The demands that our customers place on hardware can change daily. As delivering high quality performance of our applications has been key to our success we needed to get full control, we wanted to move to an easy-to-scale infrastructure that we could manage ourselves.”

After looking at the options available to them, eSkyCity chose Apache CloudStack, the leading open source cloud orchestration platform. In use by many of the world’s largest public and private clouds it is a multi-hypervisor, multi-tenant, high-availability IaaS cloud management platform.

“We chose Apache CloudStack because it enabled us to leverage our existing infrastructure and it is hypervisor agnostic,” explained Trace. “But, we knew that we had no internal expertise on Apache CloudStack so would need a partner to guide, train and advise us on every aspect of creating and migrating to the cloud, including hardware.

“We made enquiries as to who would be best to partner with and ShapeBlue were highly recommended as the global leaders in implementing this technology.”


Building the infrastructure

ShapeBlue are a centre of excellence in the design and implementation of cloud platforms using Apache CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform. They have been involved in the Apache CloudStack project since before Citrix donated the code to Apache and remain at the forefront of developments in the platform. They combine deep skills in Apache CloudStack with extensive expertise and experience in building clouds utilising a range of storage, network, compute and hypervisor technologies.

After initial consultation with ShapeBlue’s consultants, eSkyCity set about building out their infrastructure to accommodate their cloud in the summer of 2012. “We have built an initial infrastructure with 7TB of storage, 128GB ram and 48 virtual CPUs but plan to extend it greatly beyond this,” said Trace. “ShapeBlue helped us setup a proof of concept and advised us every step of the way providing us with in-depth technical training to ensure the correct skills transfer and enable us to start to grow our internal Apache CloudStack expertise.

“We are now involved in testing to see how our old infrastructure can be incorporated into the new cloud and the migration of this will be the final part of the project.”

Elasticity to quickly and automatically scale up or down

Although their IaaS cloud has only been running for a short time eSkyCity are already beginning to notice the benefits it will bring, as Trace explained. “We like to be in control of everything we do. With our old on-premise infrastructure this was not always easy.” He continued, “It was difficult to forecast demand and scale our resources accordingly. This meant that at any time we could have too much or too little computing power available for our customers to run their software. Too much was costly for us, whilst too little impacted on performance for our customers.

“So, a solution that that gives us the elasticity to scale up or down quickly and seamlessly is ideal. Apache CloudStack provides that as it has a great API that gives us amazing control to be able to scale our infrastructure to meet customer demand automatically.

“We have also noticed a significant performance improvement when compared to our previous on-premise infrastructure. This is something that most organisations tend to overlook when considering IaaS. They think it is a cheaper solution, which it is, but forget that it will also provide better performance as well.”


Integrated skillset

With such a relatively new technology as Apache CloudStack the expertise and skills required to be able to successfully implement an IaaS cloud is limited worldwide but, it is not only understanding the software involved that is important as Trace outlined.

“The skill set of ShapeBlue’s consultants is pretty unique. They fully understand all the implications of hardware, software and the overall integrated infrastructure involved in a Apache CloudStack installation. They know how to implement Apache CloudStack and recommended to us the best configuration of hardware for it to run that would always enable us to provide a high-performance solution for our SaaS customers.

“We found working with their staff very easy. They were great at explaining everything to us and their in-depth technical training was an important first step on helping us to build up our knowledge, so that in time we can be self-supporting.  In a nutshell, they helped us to understand and build.”