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16,000+ students, 111 countries, 16 years and 715 open-source organizations – this is Google Summer of Code! ShapeBlue and the CloudStack Community are happy to be part of this global program focused on bringing students into open-source software development and helping them learn new skills.

About Google Summer of Code

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) started back in 2005. The program pairs students with mentors from participating open-source organizations, allowing students to face the real world of software development and coding. This also gives them the opportunity to learn new technologies, improve their skills and learn from the best developers globally. For the organizations participating, it is a chance to identify new, talented developers, who hopefully go on to become long-term contributors to the project. The successful symbiosis between students and open-source organizations results in more quality code being created and released!

How Does it Work

3 parties are involved in Google Summer of Code: students, organizations and mentors. Students contact the organizations they are interested in and submit project proposals. If approved, they spend 10 weeks of collaboration with the organization and mentors. Only open-source organizations can participate and when they are approved, they appoint mentors, who are existing contributors to open-source projects and experienced developers.

GSoC

Meet Google Summer of Code Mentors from ShapeBlue

Apache CloudStack is again one of the open-source organizations participating in GSoC, and  ShapeBlue is happy to support young talent and bring new contributors to the project. Over the next few weeks, our mentors will dedicate their passion and skills to enable students to find out more about the world of open-source technologies.

Meet our Mentors:

Pearl d'Silva - ShapeBlue TeamPearl d’Silva: “Google Summer of Code is a brilliant way of introducing students to the tech world by allowing them to work on real-world problem statements and best of all – a chance to work in an Open Source community! It’s a great way to learn to work in a team and collaborate with people. Being a mentor in this program is a chance for me to guide these motivated students through the process and – if the student wishes to stay committed to the community – help them get roped into our brilliant CloudStack family!”

 

Harikrishna Patnala - ShapeBlue TeamHarikrishna Patnala: “GSoC is always a good platform for the students to learn and get experience with different products. According to myself, it is also a great experience to mentor enthusiastic students. The most exciting part for me is to introduce students to a very good community-driven product and work on it together. This opportunity is a rare chance for students to explore technology. At the end of the project, I hope students will be more confident about their next achievements.”

 

Suresh Kumar - ShapeBlue TeamSuresh Anaparti: “GSoC provides a platform to share our knowledge and experience, and help/advise students to accomplish their project tasks. It is a dynamic ecosystem to engage with students across the globe, understand the younger generation mindset and thinking abilities, which can be different from us. There is mutual learning and dialogue of ideas between all parties within the project.

“For students, GSoC programme provides an opportunity to contribute to projects outside their academic work with their skills and mentors support. They are welcomed to join and be part of a wider community and discover a whole new culture. Students can continue their contribution to the projects at a later point if interested. They can utilise this platform to learn and improve their skills while performing their project tasks and can learning how open-source organisations work.”

 

Nicolas VazquezNicolas Vazquez: “GSOC is a great experience, for the students and mentors. Students can choose a project of their interest and help improving it while learning new technologies. Even though the time frame is limited and every project has a learning curve, I think the experience is very valuable as they can have first-hand experience on working on open-source projects, engaging with the community and interact with it, getting support from people who actively use the product and contributes to it. As a mentor, I am happy to meet talented people and supporting them in their learning and contribution experience in the Apache CloudStack project.”

 

Boris StoyanovBoris Stoyanov: “I am happy to be a mentor in GSoC and have the chance to help young people explore the Apache CloudStack project and contribute to it. The project is a win-win situation for all parties involved. Students can gather new skills, mentors can get inspired from fresh ideas and organizations attract new contributors to them.

“As a mentor, for me it is vital to help students have a smooth start in the project, guide them and give them a hand to help them complete their tasks successfully. When you start your career, mentors are the people who guide you and give you a direction affecting your whole career. That is why, I will put all my effort to inspire, teach and guide students and hopefully make them long-term contributors to Apache CloudStack.”

 

David Jumani | CloudStack European User Group Virtual 2021 SpeakerDavid Jumani: ” GSoC is a great platform for students as well as mentors to learn and grow. Students have the opportunity to work on open source projects, be a part of a community and see their contributions used by people around the world. They gain real-world experience working on software, in a team, and a look into the larger software industry.

“Mentors have the privilege of working with talented students, guiding them, and watching them grow as a person and in the community. Not only do we get a chance to hone our own skills but also leave a lasting impression on the students we mentor.”

 

Why Students Need to Join Google Summer of Code – Ian Duffy Shares Experience

Ian DuffyIan Duffy is a past participant in the GSoC program who started contributing to the CloudStack project during the program. He completed successfully GSoC and after some time became a PMC member of the project.

“It has been a few years since I joined the GSoC, but the nice memories are still here and I am happy to give some inspiration to students. This program provides many opportunities, which will help you with your future career development. Firstly, you are getting introduced to a large codebase while still within the college. You have the chance to meet professionals across the world and collaborate with them. Some of these relationships I still maintain even today.

“Getting mentorship from proven professionals and learning so much was a great experience. I also got the chance to do public speaking. In addition, you will manage to do work that is available publicly and you can point to in the future when employers ask “what have you done?”.

“Getting a small payment from Google for the work also assisted with my rent, which was a great benefit. The main things I love these days about Google Summer of Code is seeing where all the people I met back then are now. So many of them became really successful and influential in the industry!”

 

ShapeBlue Supports Young Talent

One of our company goals is to be a socially responsible company with an internal and external focus on people. A company that inspires its team members to develop outstanding solutions and service to our customers, but also to give back to the community and CloudStack project. By helping students in GSoC, we will facilitate not only their career development but also the pace of the CloudStack project and the growth of the community.

Stay tuned for our next blog posts, where students participating in the program will share their first-hand experience!

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!

Hello all, I’m Harikrishna, and I’m based in Hyderabad, India. I joined ShapeBlue few months ago and I’m very happy to be part of this amazing team.

I started my career with CloudStack as a fresher when it was just incubating to Apache from version 3.x to 4.0, and it was very exciting to be part of a project which had only just been open-sourced. I initially worked on features like VM access reset, dynamic scaling resources of a running VM, and Citrix XenDesktop integration with CloudStack, and it has now been over 7 years since I started working on Apache CloudStack. I was made a committer in March 2015 which made me responsible for my technical contributions and helping users and developers on the CloudStack mailing lists.

On the personal side I love the most to go hiking and camping which I’m missing pretty badly due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. I also love to do some basic cooking and gardening, at least which makes my life lovable.

Joining ShapeBlue and coming back to the community

I’ve worked with CloudStack since the start of my career, and I have always loved working in an open source project, being an active member of the community, helping users, and being part of discussions. I enjoy the release process and contributing features and fixes to the project.

This process and culture got diluted a bit for me after moving between companies and working on private versions of CloudStack, but after joining ShapeBlue I was happy to return to the community. I must say I’m excited and impressed with my colleagues vast knowledge, and also the processes and procedures in ShapeBlue which are very well structured. The best part of the company is the open-source, community driven process of development and the complete team here works towards that.

In the early days I worked on existing issues and PRs (pull requests) and later jumped into a large and very interesting project developing VMware vSphere advanced features for CloudStack. With this I’ve got an opportunity to touch every workflow involved with VMware vSphere in CloudStack, and I was delighted to be given this opportunity as it gave me more scope to learn and exciting challenges to enjoy my work here even more. Also, it is always fun to learn new technologies with respect to different storage types and new features in vSphere. Needless to say I do get all the helping hands whenever I’m blocked or need some guidance.

After a while I joined the support team, providing 24/7 support for our customers on their issues or questions which is another interesting task. I started getting to know real production issues, and solving them gives me immense pleasure. This makes me more conscious when working on features or bug fixes which is a good in terms of producing quality work.

The challenge here is remote working, and I wondered how a whole, distributed team could work remotely and deliver such a quality work in the community and to our customers. To be frank, that was a concern to me, but I quickly realized this works very well and can be more productive, and I started enjoying working this way. We use various different tools to stay in touch, and the Slack channel is always busy with people discussing various aspects of their work and personal lives. I feel like people are always around! The team is spread across the world in different time zones, and this makes the Slack channel active all the time. People here are very open and helpful, and one can ping anyone directly or in the general channel, at any time and on any topic. Our bespoke lab infrastructure is a great resource with respect to building new environments, packaging, etc., and helps me to focus on actual work instead of worrying about process.

It has been fantastic time so far with ShapeBlue and I’m enjoying the job, be it technical or social with my amazing colleagues. Working with a flatly structured team and an open-source project gives special advantages like getting genuine feedback from real users and developers, which helps in viewing the code from everyone’s angle making it a lot better, and getting the necessary help required. Overall, it is a new way to work for me, and I am looking forward to my next challenge.

Hi, my name is Vladimir Petrov and I am a Software Test Engineer at ShapeBlue. I started 10 months ago and have now been here long enough to share my ‘first impressions’ with you.

Let me start with some background. I have been involved with computers since I was 10 years old, and I started my professional career as a system administrator 20 years ago, switching to Quality Assurance (QA) 3 years later. I worked for several different companies (big ones like SAP and small startups); tried different industries (finance, e-commerce, communications) and different roles (manual and automation QA, team lead and Quality Manager). What I really like in my job is that it has so many different aspects: functional, security, performance, stress, usability, and other types of testing. It also requires knowledge of many different technologies and tools – you constantly need to learn new things.

Not everything is work though – I have many hobbies for my free time: reading, guitar playing, video gaming, photography, electronics and sports. My family is the most important thing in my life – I have two boys and we really love spending time together.

I am a big fan of open source software and the communities that surround it (I’ve been using Linux since before Windows was even a thing). Therefore, I was really interested when one day a friend of mine told me that the company he works for is hiring, and that they are major contributors to an open source project. This is how I found ShapeBlue. I did not have enough experience in cloud technologies, so I saw it as a nice opportunity to expand my knowledge in the area, and after several talks and interviews with the management I joined the company. This was a real game-changer for me having never worked remotely before, and I wondered if it would work for me. I knew I’d miss the conversations, the office atmosphere, working together in a team with colleagues and the friendships you develop during the process. It turned out the benefits of working from wherever you want far outweigh the drawbacks. Having full control of your working environment is priceless – less distractions from others’ conversations and usual office noises, no more negotiations about the A/C temperature settings, avoiding viruses during the flu season, listening to your kind of music while working… and many more positives. If the weather is fine, you can work from a coffee shop, park or even the seashore. Flexible working time is also very convenient – you can run some errands or even take a break when needed and then continue with your work later in the evening.

The first six months in a new company is always very challenging – but also the most interesting. You meet many new people, learn a lot, and even make new friendships. It was a pleasant surprise that all my colleagues are very friendly and ready to help. ShapeBlue also offers dedicated in-house initial training which makes learning faster. Sometimes, there are decisions to be made and you feel like a part of a big family when you initiate a discussion with your colleagues and reach a final agreement together. It is very easy to forget the physical distances and cultural differences when you work together to reach a common goal. It’s being a part of an international team of different people working from all around the globe makes this experience so unique.

My first testing project was the new Apache CloudStack UI (Primate) and it was a great experience to compare with the old one and realize how much it was being improved and then to see the reactions of the community when the first demo was presented. This is the thing I find the most motivating – everything you do stays forever in the open source community. Some of the projects I have worked on in my previous jobs were dropped because the market did not accept them, and some of the companies even went out of business – meaning all the time you invested working on a project turns out to be useless. This is not the case when contributing to the community – and you really feel like you have left a small trace in the world of the software technologies.

Stay tuned for more insights and choose open source solutions wherever you can!

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!

Hi – David Jumani here, maybe just a typical software engineer so far…

I studied Computer Science and Engineering, and after graduation I worked at some of the biggest virtualization and networking companies (such as Vmware, Cisco and General Electric) developing cloud and on-premise applications, such as an incident co-relation engine (from which relationships can be drawn from monitoring events); breaking monoliths into microservices, and creating an entirely new Object Relationship Mapping in Go. I also had some exposure on the infrastructure side – creating resilient, self-healing systems, as well as self-aware, self-balancing mechanisms for applications across datacenters. I have always been interested in Machine Learning, and during a hackathon I developed an analytic engine to identify potential at-risk students based on their search history, as well as a program that learns to write programs (cue the ‘Inception’ theme music).

Well that’s the technical side – so a little about me. Everyone has that thing that makes them think that they’re special, and mine is that I’m a national level Rugby player. I live in Bangalore, dislike coffee and I tend to show affection through insults! I also enjoy trekking and going on long rides – I guess you could say I love adventure. However – if you think that adventure is dangerous, try routine. Having worked for most of my career so far on application development, I thought it was time for a change, and that’s when a friend of mine suggested ShapeBlue.

Starting at the interview stage things were quite different from what I had been used to. Rather than asking about the solution to a problem ShapeBlue were more interested in my approach to solving a problem, and listening, either to my thinking aloud or my early feedback, and then kept pushing me for even better solutions. This turned out to be a great introduction as that’s how we work now that I’m in.

After a painful wait for the offer, the training was intuitive, hands-on and challenging, learning about the technology that ShapeBlue focuses on – Apache Cloudstack – by working on mock features. This gave me a pretty solid understanding of CloudStack by getting straight into the code rather than just a month of more typical, theoretical training. I also had a mentor (that’s you Rohit), who would guide but not spoon-feed me, since the point was for me to learn and understand for myself.

So that’s how I got in, but that was just the beginning. To me, the most important thing about enjoying a job is the environment, and ShapeBlue has that spot on. You can disturb anyone, even Giles (the CEO – also a rugby fan), to ask them the simplest of questions, or ask for feedback. Now you might be thinking “Yeah, that sounds great, but this interaction is all via computer! You don’t get to see them or meet them! Isn’t working remotely kinda lonely?” I might have agreed, but we have methods to combat this, such as live chat (we use Slack), which is not only a great resource for technical conversation, but also a source of entertainment and occasional banter, and our weekly all staff video call, where we get to see each other and talk about what we’ve been up to the past week (not your usual stand-up). These diversions and regular contact with colleagues is especially welcome during the lockdown. The atmosphere is just like a start-up and neither age nor seniority creates any barriers.

With all that hype you might think that it’s perfect, but it’s not all easy! Taking on an entirely new feature and starting development from the ground up can be quite challenging but calm seas never made skilled sailors… and it has truly been challenging. I’ve learned about stuff I’ve never heard of before and moved from implementing small bug fixes to developing entirely new features for customers and the community. The development process is very thorough – we scope the entire feature before even a single line of code has been written, and start with an internal kick-off where we go into deep detail about the feature, as well as planned calls for code review, updates, to get better clarity, and feedback so that what we develop is exactly what is required. We also have a good review system and can ping anyone to help us or review our work.

In the past few months, I’ve learned a lot about hypervisors, their internal workings, strengthened my understanding of networking, and come up with creative ways to solve problems. I’ve worked on creating an entirely new way to remotely access a guest console, tweaking Linux networking to support new customer requirements, tried my hand at dynamic resource scheduling, and even dabbled in the new Cloudstack UI (Primate).

It’s been a rush the past few months, but I wouldn’t have it any other way… and I hope that it keeps getting better! I’m looking forward to pushing my limits even further, taking on greater challenges, and becoming a better engineer.

Hey there, my name is Pearl d’Silva, and I have recently joined ShapeBlue as a Software Engineer. I’d like to share my ‘two-cents’ and tell you about my experience at ShapeBlue so far…

Having graduated with a degree in Electronics and Communication, I developed a professional inclination towards communication and networking on distributed systems, and I was quite fortunate to work in these fields as a campus recruit. I then worked in various areas that spanned across cloud computing, software defined networking, Network Management and Cloud automation and orchestration, before taking up a role as an Automation Engineer in my next company. However, after 3 years in the industry, I realised that there was something missing, and eventually began looking for an opportunity that was challenging and provided larger scope to learn. That’s when I came across ShapeBlue! At first, I was apprehensive about working in a ‘distributed office’ environment, but the job turned out to be a perfect match. As unfamiliar as this concept (distributed office) seemed to me, the hiring process was also unique, and as I was introduced to the various stages of the hiring process I realized that this place was different – in a GOOD way! The year 2019 ended on a high note when I was offered a job at the company.

ShapeBlue spend all their time working on an opensource project: Apache Cloudstack. Delving into the CloudStack world was pretty smooth – the initial weeks of training with my ShapeBlue mentor easing me into the whole process. These first few weeks were also all about getting my hands dirty and understanding how to develop features in CloudStack, whilst gaining an understanding of how it works as both a user and a developer. This process of getting the feel of CloudStack and understanding the various concepts is nicely put together in “The Hackerbook” – a structured training guide specifically for developers new to CloudStack, and tailored for ShapeBlue. I also sat in on a CloudStack Bootcamp training course to understand the various use-cases of CloudStack, and one couldn’t ask for any better way to get introduced to a project that so vast and elaborate! All aspects of the technology are covered, but it’s definitely an ongoing learning experience – making it all the more fun. Apart from being introduced to the technical aspects, this training period gave me a chance to understand the various company processes in place. It’s amazing to see the team collaborate and help each other out, and it doesn’t for a minute feel like we are dispersed across the globe.

Having worked here for a few months and interacted with the team every day, I am truly astounded not only by their level of knowledge but also by their level of patience with ‘newbies’! Being new to this technology, everything seems to be a mammoth task, but they just make it seem so simple, and are never too busy to answer questions and provide guidance. Every day brings a new opportunity to learn.

Having completed the training, I have officially started working on CloudStack with customer and in-house projects, and every task unveils a new dimension of CloudStack. So much learnt, so much more to learn… ShapeBlue is truly a place for an individual who yearns to learn and get out of their comfort zone. It’s rare to have the opportunity to work in areas that interest you when part of a large organization, but here at Shapeblue we get to work on every aspect of the lifecycle of a product. I’ve only been here a short time, but it has given me a lot of perspective and insight into being a better engineer.

And to top it all, there’s no dearth of fun; Slack is our medium to connect for day to day chat and stay in touch, and apart from the usual “intellectual” talk, there’s a lot of other fun stuff that happens here. People pulling each other’s legs, sharing stuff they’ve been up to, talking about their pets… and our weekly ‘all staff’ video call to get a little bit of face time. You don’t feel like you are in a different city, let alone country, or even better, continent!

All in all, it has been a challenging (but what’s fun without a wee bit of challenge every day) and fun experience, and I hope to continue to learn more every day, and continue to contribute to the team and the community.

apache_cloudstack_with_cloud_monkey

ShapeBlue are delighted to confirm that the latest version of CloudStack is now on our support matrix as a fully supported and recommended version for our customers. We have worked extensively with the CloudStack community on quality control and testing, and this release contains more than 80 bug-fixes and improvements on the CloudStack 4.9 release. We have also introduced better QA automation, testing and code reviewing.

As well as these improvements, some major new functionality has been introduced, including support for XenServer 7, VMWare vSphere 6.0 and 6.5. Already in the 4.9 release is Out-Of-Band power management for hosts and several improvements to networking and storage. The 4.9.2 release notes include a full list of corrected issues, as well as upgrade instructions from previous versions of Apache CloudStack, and can be found here.

Long Term Support

LTS branches of CloudStack are maintained by the CloudStack community for 18 months:

  • 1-12 months: backport blocker and critical priority defect fixes in the scope (ie. not in a new feature) of the LTS branch functionality; fix all blocker and critical priority defects identified on the LTS branch
  • 13-18 months: backport blocker and CVE (security) fixes in the scope of the LTS branch functionality; fix all blocker and critical priority defects identified on the LTS branch

For our CloudStack Infrastructure Support customers, an LTS release on the ShapeBlue support matrix will be fully supported for an additional 6 months (so a total of 2 years) including our Product Patching service.

ShapeBlue CloudStack Infrastructure Support for the 4.9 LTS branch will be provided until 1 January 2019.

Downloads

All documentation, including release notes and installation guides, as well as the packages available for download can be found on our website here.

The official installation, administration and API documentation for each release are available on the CloudStack documentation page.

More information

For more information on this latest release, or if you would like to discuss our services, please contact us at info@shapeblue.com

CloudStack Collaboration Conference, Budapest, 19  November 2014

ShapeBlue to bring next-generation storage benefits to public and private cloud environments

ShapeBlue, the leading independent global CloudStack integrator, today announced that it has forged a new strategic partnership with SolidFire, the storage industry’s #1 Solid-State Array, to deliver next-generation storage solutions to organisations running IaaS cloud environments. ShapeBlue historically has been storage vendor agnostic, citing a lack of clear differentiation in block storage solutions for implementing public and private cloud environments.

With the new partnership, ShapeBlue now intends to leverage SolidFire’s full enterprise feature set including Guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS), complete system automation and scale-out storage design to bring its customers radical increases in functionality and efficiency in delivering cloud-based services.

Giles Sirett, CEO of ShapeBlue commented today: “We are delighted to be taking our relationship with SolidFire to the next level as they have a genuinely unique proposition for organisations running, or planning to run, an IaaS infrastructure. That proposition comes from four elements of their technology:

“First, only SolidFire can give us guaranteed storage performance in a multi-tenant environment with the ability to dedicate IOPS to individual tenants or applications, removing the “noisy neighbour” problem often experienced in cloud. Next, SolidFire’s unique design offers the ability to deliver a much higher IOPS density than with traditional storage vendors. This helps overcome the need to over-specify storage in virtualised environments. Third, SolidFire also has deep integration with Apache CloudStack, allowing storage to be automated and provisioned on the fly. Finally, the scale-out architecture of SolidFire perfectly suits the capacity and growth models we usually specify for our customers.”

ShapeBlue have already worked on a number of customer projects with SolidFire and have seen the benefits that its technology can bring to customers. Going forward, SolidFire will be ShapeBlue’s primary block-storage recommendation for IaaS builds.

“We already have a standardised reference architecture that accommodates SolidFire’s technology,” said Giles, “and we will be looking to make that public in due course. We will become the go-to partner for companies who wish to benefit from the efficiency and automation that SolidFire brings to their cloud environments.”

As part of the partnership, ShapeBlue have become a SolidFire Gold Cloud Builder partner and built-out significant technical capability for advising and providing SolidFire expertise to its customers. ShapeBlue is the first SolidFire partner outside of the U.S. to achieve this prestigious status.

Dave Cahill, VP of Corporate Development & Strategy for SolidFire commented: “ShapeBlue’s expertise in designing and building cloud infrastructures will drastically simplify deployment and accelerate time to value, enabling customers to take advantage of SolidFire’s ability to scale granularly , automate storage management and consolidate mixed application workloads – all while delivering guaranteed performance.”

 About ShapeBlue

ShapeBlue are the globally leading independent integrator of Apache CloudStack. The company provides a range of services to enable its customers to operate automated, reliable and secure IaaS cloud environments and has customers including Cisco, Evry, TomTom, Colt, Interoute and SunGard Availability Services.

Learn more: www.ShapeBlue com | www.twitter.com/shapeblue |

About SolidFire

SolidFire is the market leader in all-flash storage systems designed for next generation data centers. 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 storage systems.

Learn more: www.solidfire.com

 

* The Gold Tier membership is intended for organisations which are able to help customers design, plan and deploy both traditional computing infrastructures and virtual infrastructures in a high performance, multi-tenant cloud scale environment.

Strong technical knowledge, planning and design best practices, and a clear understanding of the technical capabilities of SolidFire’s solutions are essential. To achieve Gold level, partners must complete a Partner Agreement, the required SolidFire Sales Training and Technical Training, and show a base level SolidFire selling success and achieve SolidFire competencies to attain the Gold Tier.

 

 

ShapeBlue , today, announced that we will be publicly hosting our public CloudStack repository and SystemVM templates. But why have we decided to do this ?

Access to our CloudStack product patches

Part of ShapeBlue’s CloudStack Software Engineering services, we provide a product patching service to our customers where we  take an official CloudStack release that our customer is running in production and apply bugfixes or enhancements. We try do this work publicly and contribute to the upstream CloudStack project, unless requested by the customer to keep it private. After the whole process of building and testing internally, we package a testing APT/YUM repository that is used to verify the build by our team on a test infrastructure that is close to the customer’s environment, before we deliver the patch to the customer.

So, yes, we are now giving non-paying customers access to our CloudStack product patches, along with our commercially supported customers. What we won’t do, however, is give any notifications, technical support or assistance on those patches unless an organisation has a CloudStack Infrastructure Support agreement in place

Our commitment to the CloudStack project

The Apache CloudStack project ships CloudStack releases every 4-6 months. Since being accepted in the Apache Incubator, the project has shipped 11 releases including the latest 4.4.1 release. After an official Apache CloudStack version gets released, it’s currently only a few individuals in the community who package and host CloudStack releases as APT or YUM repositories publicly. Thats becuase The Apache Software Foundation only distributes code.  But such package hosting sites may not host previous versions of CloudStack and the SystemVM templates, and often times the information on using those CloudStack repositories is not clear, for example which git tag or SHA was used to build those repositories, or if any additional patch(es) or modification(s) was applied on the CloudStack build, or if it’s the “oss” build or the “noredist” build.

Since we already have the product patching infrastructure to build, test and package CloudStack, today we’re rolling out our public APT/YUM repository and SystemVM template hosting for everyone. We’re hosting APT/YUM repository and SystemVM templates for all the CloudStack releases since the 4.2.0 release. All the packages are noredist builds, or what we like to call as the full-version of CloudStack that supports VMWare hypervisor, NetApp storage, Juniper SRX, F5 etc. For more information on using the repository checkout the ShapeBlue packages page: https://www.shapeblue.com/packages.

The packages repository is GPG signed and shipped under Apache License 2.0 by ShapeBlue, and the underlying infrastructure is kindly provided by BT Cloud Compute.