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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.

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.