The Poznań Project – getting familiar with Azure

Azure Talent Acceleration Program

Me and two fellow Finnish Azure Padawans started our journey with Nordcloud on January 2nd, right after New Year 2019. The first two days went with introductions, getting to know the office, getting our equipment etc. Talent Acceleration Program itself started the following Monday, 7th of January, in Poland at our Poznan office. Our journey to Poznań started on Sunday at Helsinki Airport where we met the TAP leader Aki Stenberg and our trainer Jarkko Girs. The plan was to be at our destination in the afternoon but our flight from Helsinki to Munich was delayed and we missed our connecting flight to Poznan. So, we ended up waiting for six hours at Munich Airport to get to the next available flight, arriving in Poznan around midnight. We had accommodation sorted out, so we took a taxi from the airport to the Apartamenty Pomaranczarnia, apartment complex located in the centre of the city, where I shared a flat with Timi. The apartment was really nice and it was also located in a rather quiet street. After travelling for nearly 12 hours, the only good decision was to get some sleep. 

First week in Poznań

On Monday morning we met with Esa and Tom (from the London office) and headed to McDonald’s to get some McBreakfast. This became a habit, we ended up having breakfast there every morning. After finding the right entrance to the office, the day started with meeting six Polish guys joining the program and Aki’s welcome words. For the first time, the whole TAP-crew was together. The day then continued with some basic Azure stuff with Jarkko. The next two days were Azure Fundamentals training by Jarkko. Lots of good stuff with a bunch of slides and labs. On Wednesday evening we went to Restaurant Brovaria to have some food and (of course!) beer. It was a very enjoyable evening involving all TAP participants and a handful of our Polish colleagues. A light-hearted session was in order for the start of Thursday, pairing up and presenting a brief introduction of ourselves in front of the group (slight caveat; we swapped roles and presented as if we were our partner), very funny and a great ice breaker for the group. On Thursday afternoon the program continued with a whiteboard session hosted by Teemu Tapanila (The Azure Guru!).

We were split into three groups in which we needed to come up with a solution for a client that provided us their needs and so on. Every group succeeded quite well considering the fact that we only had had a few days of Azure training. Great session!

On Friday morning Matti Puolitaival (Senior Cloud Architect) gave us the first glimpse of our upcoming case study and Dariusz Dwornikowski gave a presentation around our potential career possibilities at Nordcloud. Another Azure guru, Slawomir Stanek, gave us a presentation regarding what it’s like to be Cloud Architect at Nordcloud. The week flew by and before we knew it, it was time to wrap up the week and head to Poznań airport for our flight back to Helsinki. Luckily this time the flight went much better and we were in Helsinki approximately at the time we were supposed to be.Project Poznan

Few weeks in Helsinki

Week 2 started in Helsinki from where we remotely joined classroom training delivered by Jarkko in the Poznań office. This week’s Azure training consisted of Microsoft’s 70-533 and 70-535 courses, both of which are now replaced with new ones (but the content was still valid!). Once again, multiple sessions involving slide decks and technical labs. Azure training was the key focus from Monday to Wednesday, until Thursday when the focus shifted to agile methods of working, including a scrum workshop. A self-study day was planned for the Friday, primarily watching Pluralsight training videos.

Week 3 began in a similar vein to week 2, remotely joining the classroom training delivered by Jarkko. Thursday arrived which meant case study time! A brief morning kick-off quickly moved on to a planning meeting in our individual teams (the group was divided up into 2 Polish teams and the Finnish team, including their honorary Finn ‘Tom’). Team Finland came up with our high-level design quite quickly, initially drafting this on paper and then moving this into a LucidChart diagram. Once we received approval from our mentor that our design would work in practice, we were able to proceed with creating the environment (manually via the Azure portal). This work consumed the rest of Thursday and Friday morning. By Friday afternoon we were ready to present our progress to the other teams during the case study review. Our design was by no means perfect, but overall progress was good and the week had been a success. Time for a well-earned beer!

Monday morning arrived, meaning week 4 could commence. Time was allocated in the morning for teams to finalise any outstanding tasks from the manual Azure build in week 3. By 12 pm this was complete, and then we got a 90-minute introduction into working with ARM templates by one of the Senior Cloud Architects. Now the case study started to get interesting! We were tasked with replicating the environment we created in week 3, but this time using only ARM templates to carry out our deployments. This was quite a steep learning curve for us all, many of the group had no prior experience working with ARM, but all 3 teams managed to create working templates and make good progress. Friday afternoon signalled another case study review. Team Finland had some slight problems with our templates, so we weren’t able to make it work by then. Not a major issue though, luckily the next phase of the case study wasn’t starting in week 5 and we had time to fix this. All in all, another successful week. It appeared working with Azure wasn’t quite so scary after all?

Back to Poznań

Week 5; DevOps time! Once again our journey to Poznań began on the Sunday from Helsinki Airport. We couldn’t have the same travel issues that we experienced in week 1, could we? Yes, we could! This time the flight from Helsinki to Munich was even more delayed than last time. Our flight left over two hours late, meaning yet again we missed our connecting flight to Poznan. To make matters worse, our replacement connecting flight was then cancelled too, a night in Munich for us then! Eventually departing Munich the following day around 1 pm, unfortunately, meant missing the first day of DevOps training. Top tip: don’t ever fly via Munich. Finally, we arrived in Poznań, finding the nearest Uber and heading to our apartment to meet Esa and Tom. 26 hours of travelling could only mean one thing, dinner at “bar a boo”, if you’re ever in Poznan, try it, you won’t be disappointed!Project Poznan On Tuesday we joined the DevOps training held by Krzysztof Knapik (only 1 day later than planned!). Another mixture of technical slides and intuitive labs. The training had been tailor-made for the TAP program, this was great. Team Finland managed to complete some outstanding tasks on Tuesday evening that had been left over from the previous case study, this meant we could fully focus on learning CI/CD pipelines!

Krzysztof’s training continued on Wednesday and was completed by close of business, a really interesting and valuable 3 days. Wednesday was again chosen as the Padawan evening event, bowling and a few drinks was the plan, what could go wrong? After good fun bowling, mixed with dinner and beers, it was decided a group visit to the local shot bar was the best plan! The night was great fun, although the entire TAP-crew certainly appeared to be nursing a hangover the next day.

Thursday was our introduction to security in Azure, held by Senior Developer Joona Somerkivi and Cloud Security Architect Joni Helle. The sessions were a real eye opener, the important lessons were to ensure you’re always in control and cover your ass! Joni Helle presented a really useful workshop/lab regarding how to identify security flaws in Azure and properly secure your deployments. Friday was Kubernetes day, a fast-paced introduction hosted by Piotr Kieszczynski. Most of the group were complete Kubernetes rookies prior to this session so there were lots to learn! The pace was difficult to keep up with at times, but it was great to get an instructor-led introduction to the platform.Project Poznan After the Friday session, it was time to return our key cards and say goodbye to all the great people at Poznań office (hopefully we get a chance to visit once again!). There were no Helsinki bound flights from Poznan on Friday evening, this meant a 4 am wake up on Saturday morning. We checked out of the apartment (which we had grown quite fond of in the 2 weeks we had stayed), returned the keys to reception, hopped in an Uber and headed to the airport. Our flight was surprisingly right on time, meaning we had nearly an hour to spend in Munich. The connecting flight to Helsinki was also on time and we arrived at Helsinki Airport around midday. A relaxing weekend was needed before the last week of TAP commenced.Project Poznan

Final week

Before we knew it, week 6 arrived, the final week of TAP. Starting on Monday morning with the DevOps case study kick off. Time to build some DevOps CI/CD pipelines, and once again deliver the environment we had created twice before throughout the program. Having learnt valuable lessons from the previous case study tasks (and, seeing how the Polish teams had worked), Team Finland managed their time much more effectively, minimising time spent in meetings and carving up the project into individually assigned tasks. We ended the task with a “mostly working” solution, some minor things were still missing by the time of case study review at Friday morning (again, not a major problem, the main point of the exercise is to become comfortable working with CI/CD pipelines in a “real-world” scenario). On Friday afternoon we had our final closing TAP meeting, Aki recapped what we had gone over in the past 6 weeks, the Padawans then had a chance to give feedback and discuss about the past six weeks.Project Poznan We did it! TAP Azure? Done! We got our TAP diplomas, and it was now time to prepare ourselves for assignment on real customer cases. The six weeks went by incredibly fast, lots to learn, at times very demanding, but equally rewarding and totally worth it. All ten Padawans concurring the TAP program was a great success. A huge thanks to Aki, Jarkko and everyone who was involved in the program – time to get started in the real world!

Our Talent Acceleration Program

More Cloud Training at Nordcloud

Interested in Cloud careers – Apply here!

Text: Jukka Loikkanen & Tom Lloyd, Photos: Jukka Loikkanen & Aki Stenberg

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NiceICT event: Team leads at Nordcloud

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Life at Nordcloud

In Jyväskylä, we Nordcloudians attend community events actively. Now it was our turn to invite NiceICT community to visit us. NiceICT has a strong cause for women in tech. Many members are students who are still pondering what they will become after graduation, so we wanted to spread knowledge of diverse roles in technology industry with a presentation on different team lead roles in our company from the pespectives of Tuire Peurala and Eija Jokilahti.

Tuire is a supervisor in Nordcloud design studio Intergalactico, and also works as a designer on customer projects. She’s responsible of taking care of her team’s wellbeing and supporting professional development. Tuire participates actively in recruiting and works in collaboration with sales to staff most suitable people on projects, and to ensure that everyone gets to switch projects once in a while to keep up interest and get learning possibilities.

One of the best things as a UX lead is to use my expertise to help others grow professionally.

Eija Jokilahti has been working as a UX lead in her recent projects. Her responsibilities include putting design processes to practice, facilitating workshops and building design culture, among others. As one of her responsibilities was coaching others on design related issues, Eija reflects: “One of the best things as a UX lead is to use my expertise to help others grow professionally.”

The event begun with bagels and lively discussion among the guests. After the presentation, there were lots of excellent questions to dig deeper in the roles we have. Following these questions, we discussed very personal matters of being a woman in tech industry. Tuire and Eija were glad to tell that Nordcloud has done exceptionally well in taking people as they are instead of focusing on external matters. Nordcloud hosting NiceICT

When all the questions were asked and answered, we went back to vivid discussion in small groups. The event was very warm and had an intimate touch in it. Everybody went home happy and with more diverse view on what the work can be in tech industry.

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Join us at Cloudfest, Germany

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Events

Join Nordcloud at CloudFest in March 23–29.

CloudFest | Europa-Park | Germany

CloudFest embraces and celebrates the cloud industry, showcasing everything new and exciting in technology and internet innovation.

Join Nordcloud for a full week of innovation, opportunity, and fun. There will be hundreds of exhibits, as well as insightful keynotes by leading voices in technology, deep dives into the industry’s latest advancements, and an agenda full of exciting activities.

Check the event agenda and speakers here.

 

Date

March 23 – 29, 2019

Location

Europa-Park Europa-Park-Straße 2 | 77977 Rust, Germany

 

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Microsoft Ignite Amsterdam

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Events

Join Nordcloud at Microsoft Ignite in Amsterdam in March 20-21.

 

MICROSOFT IGNITE | THE TOUR AMSTERDAM

Get the latest insights and skills from technology leaders and practitioners shaping the future of cloud, data, business intelligence, teamwork, and productivity.

Explore the latest developer tools and cloud technologies and learn how to put your skills to work in new areas. Connect with Microsoft community to gain practical insights and best practices on the future of cloud development, data, IT, and business intelligence.

100 + deep dive sessions and workshops and 350 + experts. See the complete list of sessions here.

FOLLOW US FOR NEWS FROM MICROSOFT IGNITE

Follow us also in twitter and Linkedin for news and inspiration from Microsoft Ignite!

 

Date

March 20 – 21, 2019

Location

RAI Amsterdam

Europaplein, 1078 GZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Serverless Meetup at Nordcloud 26.2.

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Events

Serverless Meetup Tuesday, February 26, 2019

 
Agenda:
  • Serverless with nameless-deploy-tools, Pasi Niemi
  • Appsync, Arto Liukkonen
  • Still room for a third topic if there are voluntary speakers.

Date: 26.2.2019

Time: 17.30-19.30

Venue: Nordcloud, 4.th floor, Antinkatu 1, Helsinki

There is a waiting list for this event at the moment.

 

Check availability from the waiting list

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Nordcloud takes the cloud revolution to Gothenburg and Tampere

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News

Leading cloud transformer Nordcloud opens new offices in Tampere, Finland and Gothenburg, Sweden. The new teams are part of Nordcloud’s plan to double the number of its cloud experts in the next 18 months.

By expanding to new areas, Nordcloud gains access to great markets both business and employment-wise. Gothenburg a large and rapidly evolving manufacturing industry with  many exciting opportunities for the leading cloud transformer, whereas Tampere area is a home to the second largest base of ICT-experts in Finland.

We are already working with some of the biggest companies in Sweden, but by establishing presence in Gothenburg we are ready to acquire more larger accounts. The heavy manufacturing industry in the city is definitely a fascinating market for us.

 Hans Christoffersson, Azure Team Lead of Nordcloud Sweden

The universities in Tampere area have produced numerous high-level specialists, whom we can offer interesting projects. In the long run we also want to serve local clients, but our primary goal is to hire senior cloud architects and developers.

  Harri Lakkala, Site Manager for Tampere office

Altogether Nordcloud plans to recruit over 500 additional cloud experts to its European teams over the next 18 months. At the moment Nordcloud employs more than 400 experts across 10 countries. In February 2019, Nordcloud received €20 million in funding to fuel its international expansion and portfolio development.

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Multi-cloud webinar by Nordcloud and SSH

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Events

Join our 60 min webinar on Feb 21!

The public cloud promises to bring savings, agility and scalability. All of this is attainable provided that you know which services to choose for your purpose, and how to set up your environment following best practises.

Join multi-cloud experts from Nordcloud and SSH.COM for this exclusive webinar hosted by Cloud Security Alliance where we will discuss the following topics:
  • Why vendor-lock might not be your best option in the cloud
  • Why ensuring the best possible privileged access experience for developers and administrators is vital for your business
  • How to make daily access routines operationally efficient with automation
  • How to choose best-of-breed services for the cloud based on your business needs
  • Why existing cloud vendor or legacy solutions might sometimes add increase costs

Date: Feb 21, 8:00 pm EET  Finland – Helsinki  – or after on demand. 

Presented by Petri Kallberg, CTO at Nordcloud Finland and Markku Rossi,CTO at SSH.COM 

Register now!

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Value of people and team work

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Life at Nordcloud

1. Where are you from and how did you end up at Nordcloud?

I’m from Finland, but I never worked for Nordcloud in Finland. I was previously working in Helsinki for another company, but I heard from my friend that Nordcloud has an opportunity in Poland. (This happened in sauna by the way, the real Finnish way 😉) I had been previously working with a half-Polish team back in the days and also spent quite a lot of time in the country since 2013 both in business and private life, so I was like “Let’s do this!”.  

2.What is your core competence?

Team building, working with different types of people and stakeholders and getting things done together, seeing the big picture, combining the business view to the fact that we are all unique people, not numbers.

3.What do you like most about working at Nordcloud?

I strongly believe we are as a company on the right market and we have a chance to become a big player. So the foundation is solid. That gives me and all of us the possibility to get small and big wins every week. And what’s better than the feeling that we succeeded in something together as a team?

4.What is the most useful thing you have learned at Nordcloud?

That in this business, the people you hire, they are everything you’ve got. Put effort to the recruitment and try to make sure they get to do interesting things and develop themselves.

5.What sets you on fire/What’s your favourite thing technically with public cloud ?

I like building something new and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to help Nordcloud build the Polish operation together with my superb colleagues!

6.What do you do outside work?

I go to the gym, need to stay in shape. Also used to run a bit, but right now only HIIT on treadmill. I listen to a lot of podcasts: tech and popular science mostly. I highly recommend the Joe Rogan Experience, especially the episodes with scientists and entrepreneurs as guests. I also study Polish, but that’s a tough project 🙂

BTW, here are some additional fun facts of Nordcloud Poland:

1. A year ago we had much smaller office with around 20 people on board; today we have a new site in Poznan and 80 team members; mostly techie guys
2. At the very beginning we were focused on recruiting AWS & Azure Architects mostly and we still do, but nowadays GCP Architects as well! 
3. We managed to develop Platform & Tools Development team (only in Poland!) and set up new departments like Managed Cloud and Data Driven Business.

Poland keeps growing so stay tuned, keep and eye on our openings or let us know you’re interested in a chat with us:

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Employee training is essential for organisation’s success

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BlogInsights

Talent shortage is a top emerging risk facing organisations

 
According to a 2017 report by Global Knowledge, a massive 68% of IT decision makers faced a present skills shortage in their teams. 

Gartner research 2018 indicated that companies need to shift from external hiring strategies towards training their current workforces. Statistics clearly show the importance and benefits of employee development: a more competitive workforce, increased employee retention, and higher employee engagement.

“Organizations face huge challenges from the pace of business change, accelerating privacy regulations and the digitalization of their industries,” said Matt Shinkman, managing vice president and risk practice leader at Gartner. 

The use of cloud has been growing rapidly in the last 4-8 years. Compliance, automation, improved security, infrastructure as code, better DevOps practices, and developing cloud-native applications, are just some common reasons corporations want to move to the cloud. 

Adopting a new cloud environment involves extensive change, from skills to processes to technology. With the growing technology changes, it is hard for companies to keep up, and even harder for the average employees.  

 

Skills development: hard and soft skills

Skills development is a process where we turn from a beginner to a junior, and ultimately a senior. Skills development comes down to two key factors: identifying the skills gaps and developing those skills.

When developing skills, it is commonly broken down into hard and soft skills:

  • Hard skills are specific to a task and tend to be knowledge-based. Having skills in programming, software, or even another language is classified as a hard skill.
  • Soft skills are what we as humans have been learning from our first breath. Personality, leadership, time and stress management, decision making, ability to deal with adversity, and most of all networking.

Hard skills are commonly looked at. It is great to have a smart co-worker, but it doesn’t help the corporation if the employee is not willing to share information or can’t handle stress. Therefore it is best to help employees build both skills.

 

Bridge the skills gap with cloud training

According to a recent study, 2017 U.S. training expenditures increased 32.5 percent to $90.6 billion. We at Nordcloud have also seen a drastic increase in our cloud training business. During the last year we saw a 66% increase in participation numbers.

As an example, last year we arranged 101 AWS courses with an excellent (4,50/5 average in) participant satisfaction.

“Excellent course, materials and instructor! Gave good overview of AWS. There were also some interesting questions asked, the answer were good and the instructor seems very educated surrounding the topic. All in all, a good training!”
“The pace was very high which was great for me. I really enjoyed the presentation and the trainer was very knowledgeable. I learned a lot about the basic AWS technologies and all the technical questions were well answered. Great instructor, any question and the answer comes out like from a machine gun. Very much knowledge of the topic in her.”
 

As a cloud native Nordcloud knows the public cloud well, and we understand what it takes to succeed there. We provide cloud training for both individuals and companies.

 

Check our Cloud Training here – and sign up!

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Nordcloud accelerates its growth with new €20 million funding

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InsightsNews

This new funding will be used to continue Nordcloud´s profitable growth, fuel international expansion and develop its offering portfolio to address evolving customer demand. Over the next 18 months, Nordcloud plans to recruit more than 500 additional team members across its key European markets. The company will also expand its R&D and invest in capabilities that help its customer get the most business benefit out of the public cloud.

“Nordcloud is a company that is in the heart of Finnvera’s strategy. Finnvera’s task is, by means of financing, to promote the internationalisation and exports of enterprises. The goal is that the companies achieve something that wouldn’t be achievable without Finnvera’s financing. Nordcloud is a great example of such a company”, says Finnvera’s finance manager Kalle Åstrom.

Finnvera, Business Finland and the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs have been supporting Nordcloud’s international growth through Team Finland since its founding.

Financing from OP Corporate Bank plc is supported by the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of EFSI is to help support financing and implementing productive investments in the European Union and to ensure increased access to financing

“Nordcloud has been growth focused from the start. Over the past 3 years our organic growth rate has been over 500%. Together with our partners, people and customers, we’ve realised our vision of bringing about truly agile and efficient corporate IT through hyperscale cloud and software. This latest funding gives us additional tools to do more for our customers, expand our service portfolio and accelerate our European expansion” says Nordcloud’s CEO, Jan Kritz.

Nordcloud enables enterprises to transform their IT infrastructure and accelerate their digital transformation efforts using the public cloud. Nordcloud’s deep expertise in public cloud, ability to transition from legacy IT and agile way of working reduce significantly the time to value and costs for customer’s using public cloud.

The company is a leading partner for the major public cloud platforms: AWS, Microsoft and Google. Already among the fastest growing companies in Finland, Nordcloud employs more than 400 cloud experts across 10 European markets and a revenue run-rate of over €60 million.

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