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Hello all, this is Abhishek Kumar, currently the newest member of the ShapeBlue family. It’s been over a month since I started working as a Software Engineer on Apache CloudStack at ShapeBlue, and I’m here to tell you about how it’s gone.

2019 has been an exciting year for me as I moved from the application development domain to infrastructure development. I always knew it will be a challenging task but also a rewarding one.

The beginning

It was last year that I moved to Gurugram, India, to work for a major med-tech company dealing with navigated intra-operative products. Prior to that, I’d been freelancing as a desktop and mobile application developer. Moving to Gurugram meant getting back in touch with some of the friends and batchmates from college who were already living and working in the city. Late last year one of these friends suggested to me the idea of applying to ShapeBlue, the company he had been working at for a number of years. I had previously heard about ShapeBlue and Apache Cloudstack from him, and I was interested in how the company works with a distributed team and how they contribute to open-source while delivering for their customers – they are community leaders in a sense. Initially I was quite unsure as I had never worked on something like this but after some deliberation, I decided to go through the compact yet effective hiring process of ShapeBlue. It involved two interviews, a coding challenge and a knowledge test on a subject that was chosen because they KNEW it was new to me (they were testing my ability to pick up new concepts very quickly). The whole process only took a week or so before I was hired as a Software Engineer at ShapeBlue!

The learning

This was my first experience of being a developer with infrastructure software and working as part of a large, open-source project. To be honest, to start with, everything was a bit overwhelming as it was mostly new to me – and the people I’m working with are probably the champions of the field. Within this first month, I’ve transitioned from C++ to Java, and have learned complex concepts of networking topologies, hypervisors and many other new subjects. I’ve not only been learning the fundamentals of the Apache Cloudstack project and working on customer projects but I’m also starting to contribute to the open-source community. A large part of this learning can be credited to the awesome training program that ShapeBlue provides for a new joinee. It is a very well-structured training course (called the “hackerbook”) that constitutes several chapters that explain a particular topic and then require the trainee to do some coding exercises to test the acquired knowledge. During the training period, a mentor is assigned to the trainee to clear any doubts, review progress and even have 1-2-1 sessions on complex topics. This contrasts with what I’ve experienced with previous employers and most programmers experience as well, where they are given access to a codebase and some limited documentation and left to figure things out on their own.

The challenges

As expected there have been a number of challenges. Moving from developing consumer-centric small applications to working on massive, complex infrastructure orchestration software would never have been easy. Then there are always those regular things one faces when moving to a new job: onboarding on company infra, learning new services and technologies to do daily tasks, following new practices & policies, etc. With Apache Cloudstack being an open-source project, it adds another dimension as it is not just your own organization but the larger community that you are dealing with.

Apart from the technical aspect I also find the social aspect of onboarding with a new organization a bit testing personally. Being a reserved, quiet, person, gelling with new people isn’t always easy for me. However, over the last month at ShapeBlue I can safely say that all these have been exciting challenges. While the technical aspects were taken care of with well-structured training, the social aspect took care of itself due the intrinsic flat organizational structure at ShapeBlue where everyone has equal say and has the freedom to communicate with anybody else in the company irrespective of their position.

The joy

I have liked being able to jump between my training course and real-world customer facing development. I was able to use the concepts I learned, during this period, in the customer project I’m working on. Within this short span of time, even though I don’t have the expertise that my team has, I still feel like I can make a contribution to the project we are working on. I can still participate in the development of new features for customers and contribute to open-source community to some extent.

Conclusions

My time so far at ShapeBlue has been nothing less than amazing! I could not wish for a better mix of challenges and rewards. Most days I do have to work hard to make sense of a very large codebase or some complex network concepts, but with enough effort, I can work my way through and go home satisfied. Being a software developer in the infrastructure domain can be challenging and learning to become a better and more efficient one might be even harder, but so far, I’m enjoying this job and loving this journey with my new work family: ShapeBlue!

Anurag Awasthi shares his experiences after one month in the ShapeBlue Engineering team

Let me start by briefly introducing myself. I hold a bachelors and master’s in computer science and engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. I have been working in technology for more than 5 years now and have had the privilege of working with some world class scientists and engineers at various organizations. Some of my past employers are Microsoft Research Redmond, Pocketgems Inc, and Twitter Inc. During this time, I have strived to be a generalist and explore full stack development in a consumer-focused product development. In my free time I enjoy going on hikes, camping, painting and I experiment cooking different cuisines.

In late 2017, after spending 5 years in a heavy consumer focused product development, I wanted to expand my horizons, so I worked on my own startup to explore the world of cloud computing. It worked with moderate success for some time before I ran into an old friend of mine who had now become a PMC member in Apache CloudStack. That’s when I first heard of ShapeBlue – a company which was working very actively and contributing directly to the open source community of Apache CloudStack. The company works in distributed teams and is working with some big names in the industry as its customers. It sounded a little too good to be true. I had an interview with the company, and it became obvious that the subtitle of the company “the Cloud Specialists” wasn’t just a sales pitch but accurately reflected the true horsepower of expertise that the company carried. I saw incredible opportunities to grow technically and peers to learn from, and I joined within 4 days of the interview!

Having spent a little more than a month at the company I think I have reached a place where I can provide a comparison between a company focusing on opensource community development vs. a big name private company focusing on proprietary software. I will also try to highlight some of the pros and cons of working full time in a distributed company such as ShapeBlue. Two primary things that any engineering focused person would be concerned about are the development process (challenges, rewards, etc) and team environment (interactions with peers, support and expectations, etc).

Development Process

Overall, there are many similarities between the development process in an open source project and a traditional organization. A feature begins with a feature request that needs to be presented in a specific format, followed by discussions on proposed solutions, implementation, code reviewer approval and merge. The difference lies in the challenges that arise due to challenges with communication between collaborating parties, and time consumed because of a globally distributed team.

Technologies involved in an open source project are truly diverse, and multiple choices are available at each stage of a feature’s development. Naturally, each choice comes with its own challenges as one is responsible for the due-diligence work. ShapeBlue has its own CI test environment and test engineers, but the community as a whole does not have a fixed approach to testing. As one is directly contributing to the community project, the necessity of one’s own due diligence and initiative cannot be emphasized enough. Even for a simple task such as machine setup, one needs to explore options and wisely set up a preferred system for development. This is unlike a larger organization, which mostly would have a pre-tested and often pre-configured system ready for development, and managed by a separate IT department. This becomes a fun experience on its own when one jumps into development of an open source project that touches a multitude of system components like CloudStack. I started on a MacBook, but very soon switched to ThinkPad / Ubuntu because of the better community support available on the latter platform and the limit of RAM on Macbooks.

The Apache Way

Each Apache project community has its own set of principles and are determined by the Apache way! Since it’s not just managers controlling the flow of a project, feature development is usually slower than private development too. Each discussion requires genuine intentions and effort to be heard, and the necessary feedback from the community. This can be frustrating for the impatient ones, but following the discussions in turn brings in new learnings. It also means that any feature gets reviewed by a broad set of people. So, it has its advantages.

From Consumer to Infra

The true challenge lies when one transitions from a consumer product to an infra product, such as CloudStack. As one can imagine, orchestrating a truly scalable cloud deployment is a massive task that CloudStack does. Clearly, it is expected to be more challenging to be a true cloud specialist as compared to being a mobile engineering specialist, or a web specialist, and so on. In just my first month I have had to revisit most of my university learning and learn many new network concepts, linux administration and refer to some new design patterns in code architecture. Such large exposure is rare to most developers in larger, private organizations because they are abstracted in modern, product focused development. Now whether this is good or bad is a difficult call to make as it narrows down to one’s preferences. Personally, it’s been a rewarding experience, but I’ve had mentorship support from within ShapeBlue. It would definitely be a slightly harder and much slower transition otherwise, and would require patience.

Team Environment

An open source project is determined by its contributors and does not have a specific team that regularly goes on outings or hangs out at office parties. Most contributors don’t share an office location and often work in different time zones. Given most of us actively participate socially as well as professionally with our team members in larger organizations, I suppose that’s a disadvantage as it means social life with colleagues after work is negligible. ShapeBlue similar in structure and we have team members distributed across many time zones. The communication happens primarily over Slack, but is not a hurdle as much as in wider community as team members are one ping away. So that solves most of the problems of working in a distributed team. There is also a unique culture in the company that leaves the responsibility for being productive on the employee and provides good support to do so. If someone has worked in a controlled environment with a vertical hierarchy, it’s a little difficult to get accustomed to a flat structure in the beginning. But new perspectives open up in this environment which include thinking more creatively, independently, and having a better work life balance.

Hopefully this would help anyone thinking of transitioning from a monotonous iOS / Android / Web / Backend development in a larger company to a more technically enriching project such as CloudStack. On personal level, the move has been full of several new delightful experiences with some new challenges that don’t really pay back directly in skills in the short run but pile up benefits in the long run.

Andrija Panic shares some thoughts on joining the ShapeBlue team

Hi there, this is Andrija from… well, ShapeBlue! I’ve been working here for a month now and I thought that I’d share my views of working for the company.

Before I move to the actual topic, let me share just a little bit of background about myself.

Before joining ShapeBlue, I was working as a Cloud System Engineer for two different Swiss-based Public Cloud providers, both utilizing CloudStack to provide IaaS services for local (Swiss) and international customers – many of which (as you can probably guess) were serious financial institutions (Switzerland being considered a big privacy and security center). We even had customers connecting all the way from South America to their infrastructure for daily business, all managed by CloudStack – and it just worked flawlessly!

During my time with the Swiss guys, I had the pleasure (with my colleagues) to lead and build their CloudStack infrastructure from scratch. Here I gained some serious knowledge and experience on this topic. I also had the opportunity to work with some nice storage solutions, from NetApp SolidFire distributed All-Flash Storage (providing block-level storage to CloudStack VMs), to Cloudian Hyperstore S3 Object Storage solution providing (you can guess by its name…) S3 object storage with 100% Native S3 API compatibility. Both solutions had their challenges of integration into existing environment and I was lucky enough to pull the strings here and lead the thing myself. Really fun time! Did I mention CloudStack? Yes, we did quite a decent job here, we made a lot of tweaks and improvements, migrations and decent customer support.

But after 5 years with CloudStack in a service provider environment , it was time for me to move on and improve my cloud building skills even more, so my next logical step was to pull Giles Sirett, ShapeBlue CEO, for a quick coffee on the last CloudStack Conference (I even didn’t have to pay for the coffee – it was a free one!). The rest is pretty much history – I’m now paving my way into consultancy as a  Cloud Architect at ShapeBlue.

After spending a month here at ShapeBlue, I can honestly say that I’m nothing short of being impressed with both the people (colleagues) and the processes inside ShapeBlue. I was already used to Swiss guys being strict and very well organized, but my feeling is that ShapeBlue has moved this to a whole new level. When I joined the company, besides having a dedicated colleague as a mentor (hi there Dag – thanks for all your help!) helping me to find my way around the company, I also got proper training on many different tools and processes used in company, from some internal infrastructure stuff, to customer support tools, processes and SLAs, to many different things in general. In fact , this was a revelation when compared to the  old RTFM-it-yourself way (stands for Read The [Insert asterisks ***] Manual), in case you were wondering) that I’d experienced at previous companies. The people at ShapeBlue are supportive, the working atmosphere is just great, with tons of seriousness across the board but with a healthy dose of (mainly) British humor in the middle of hard work – to make you wake up and warm up during these cold winter days. From time to time we even get cats jumping from our Slack channel.

After being mostly in a technical leadership position in my previous jobs, I’m now, for the first time in my professional carrier, part of the team with a more experienced guys than me – and I’m really happy about that – it’s always nice to be able to get some help in case you need advice – but individual initiative and engagement is something that is strongly respected in ShapeBlue. One of the interesting things is, that the guys in the ShapeBlue Leadership Team do actually listen to engineers and take their advice / opinion – something you don’t necessarily find in every company. It’s a very collaborative and not authoritative environment – a thing that everybody respects here.

So far, I have been tasked with quite a few interesting things to work on: from  delivering the famous ShapeBlue Bootcamp to one of our new colleagues, playing around with some more interesting CloudStack setups (with different hypervisors) and been included in some customer projects and support stuff – all in all a good start!

In case you are still following me, here come a few personal things about me:

I’m based in Belgrade, Serbia (for all you techies, that is 44.0165° N, 21.0059° E ) – a country known for good cuisine, but mostly for ćevapi and šljivovica (national drink). Serbia is also home to Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1 in men’s singles tennis (this is the guy who regularly beats Roger Federer, for the record!).

In my free time I’m hanging around with my 3 princesses and sometimes I manage to squeeze some time for gym, music or very light electronic projects.

Talk to you later, Andrija.

ShapeBlue SA are pleased to announce the extension of their distribution partner agreement for NetApp in South Africa, building out a successful relationship that started in 2014.

‘ShapeBlue has built a strong partnership with NetApp in this region. Expanding our capabilities to represent the full NetApp portfolio presents a strategic opportunity for us and our partners.’ Says Dan Crowe, Managing Director, ShapeBlue SA.

‘NetApp’s vision, depth of solutions and cloud-centric approach continues to differentiate them. We are seeing a fantastic response, in particular to the Cloud Infrastructure portfolio with HCI and the Cloud Data Services portfolio.’

ShapeBlue, as expert builders of clouds bring a unique insight to both service provider and integrator partners as they develop services, and work with customers on transformation projects.

ShapeBlue believe a new generation of NetApp partners can accelerate strategic initiatives across sectors and harness the true value of data insights.

ShapeBlue will offer SA based partners access to the full NetApp range of solutions, professional services and sales and marketing collaborations.

ShapeBlue have recently expanded office premises in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, with worldwide software engineering now based here in SA. “We’re excited about our newly expanded partnership with NetApp and looking forward to the next step in our evolution.” Concludes Crowe.

About ShapeBlue

ShapeBlue are the leading worldwide independent CloudStack integrator, with offices in London, Bangalore, Rio De Janerio, Mountain View CA, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Services include consulting, integration, training and infrastructure support

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.

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.

Dan crowe - SB launch

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:

  1. Service providers building public cloud
  2. Organisations looking to increase agility through automation & devops
  3. The concept of “AWS insourcing” – moving workloads back into a private cloud environment when known demand can be predicted
  4. 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

 

 

 

ShapeBlue expands service into Southern Africa

London, 29th May 2014

ShapeBlue, the leading independent global CloudStack integrator, today announces the launch of a dedicated cloud practice based in South Africa, aimed at meeting growing demand in the region.

This is part of an ongoing global expansion program for the company that has already seen them extend their European and US operations into SE Asia and Latin America.

The practice will focus initially on the South African market, where cloud adoption is anticipated to accelerate sharply during the rest of 2014 and beyond.

Giles Sirett, CEO of ShapeBlue commented: “We are seeing a sharp increase in demand for our services relating to Apache CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform, driven by service providers building in-country public clouds and ongoing enterprise adoption of private & hybrid cloud compute models. South Africa is an exciting opportunity for us to bring our services to emerging opportunities across sub Saharan Africa.”

Dan Crowe, Managing Consultant for the new practice added: “South Africa is catching up with more mature cloud markets rapidly, and we believe what we’ve learnt about building clouds over the past three years, and using our CSForge rapid deployment framework, we can help accelerate time to value for South African businesses evolving cloud adoption strategies” Sirett continued: “Today, CloudStack technologies are under represented in southern Africa, but with Apache CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform proving the most stable and proven cloud management system we expect usage across the continent to increase exponentially.”

The new practice in South Africa will be based in Cape Town and will give ShapeBlue both consulting and sales functions in the region. Crowe concludes: “We are also delighted to announce details of a launch event to be held jointly in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th July where we, along with Citrix and Trend Micro will discuss adoption trends and cloud computing models in a South African context. We look forward to meeting with many interested parties there.

Event details:  Click Here

About ShapeBlue

ShapeBlue are the leading global independent CloudStack integrator, with offices in London, Rio de Janeiro, Bangalore, Mountain View, CA and Cape Town.

We operate global Consulting, Implementation, Support and Software Engineering teams with a focus on Apache CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform ecosystem technologies at the heart of our operations.

CloudStack Collab Conference, Denver,CO – April 9, 2014.

ShapeBlue, the leading independent global CloudStack integrator, today announced general availability of its new CSForge product, giving organisations rapid, low risk, deployment of IaaS cloud infrastructures. The framework can be used as a basis for public cloud or enterprise private cloud and is deployed onto the customers own hardware infrastructure.

CSForge is made up of components including Apache CloudStack and the Xen hypervisor with automated deployment components and test & capacity planning tools. . CSForge has a standard, flat, price for environments up to 24 hypervisor hosts and also includes a technical education programme, implementation support and up to 12 months pilot support.

Giles Sirett, ShapeBlue CEO, explained: “ShapeBlue has been building IaaS clouds now for over two years and recently and, with smaller deployments, we’ve seen an 80% commonality in the requirements. Although the use-cases may be different, there is usually a standard set of building blocks that most people want from their IaaS platform.

We have therefore decided to package these components into a pre-configured, pre-planned product that will allow our customers to benefit from an open, flexible IaaS environment without the need for an extensive design & integration process. This is giving our customers rapid time to value. Baked into CSForge is all of the best-practice that we have learned & developed over the last 2 years, building IaaS environments for 100’s of customers”

CSForge uses pure open-source technologies at its core: Apache CloudStack and Xen hypervisor. ShapeBlue have developed a set of proprietary deployment, test and capacity planning tools to enable the rapid, low risk deployment.

Sirett continued: “our customers want the flexibility and avoidance of lock-in that only open-source platforms can bring. They recognise the benefits of open-source, but want the peace of mind usually associated with vendor technology. CSForge bridges that gap. We already have seen great demand for our CloudStack Infrastructure Support which gives enterprise-grade support to these environments , CSForge is the next evolution.

It is important for our customers to understand that we have gone to great lengths to ensure that all of the core operating components of our solution remain open source and we have no plans to change that. We provide a wrapper to reduce cost and risk, but the final operational environment remains 100% open source with no propriety parts.”

 

For further information on CSForge or ShapeBlue see shapeblue.com

For press enquiries, please contact Steve Roles steve.roles@shapeblue.com