Migrations to MS Azure – Best Practices shared in Poland

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June was quite an intensive month with MS Azure in our minds and hearts

Together with Microsoft and our colleagues – Marcin Smelkowski, Sławomir Stanek and Piotr Rogala – we successfully delivered the Azure Migration Roadshow. It consisted of five meetings across Poland where we met ambitious and open-minded people who want to benefit from cloud transformation. The roadshow visited Szczecin, Wrocław, Katowice, Gdańsk and Łodź. Many thanks for all participants for your curiosity!

Lots of tough, tricky questions and round table discussions with coffee cups in hands

Our workshops were aimed to inform and spread knowledge of building an IT environment based on the public cloud. With our experience, we shared challenges that should be considered when planning the strategy for Data Center services, in particular:

  • When should you consider the migration?
  • What are the opportunities and risks associated with the migration?
  • When is the migration profitable?
  • What are the conclusions of analysis, considering the profitability of migration to Azure for Poland?

Cloud computing is one of the fastest growing technologies today. It is challenging the traditional ways of operating enterprise IT, applications and business processes. This is creating a market discontinuity, where the price of non-innovation can be significant as well as high costs associated with data driven companies. 

How to be competitive in the digital transformation market?

We often find several mistakes with the planning and implementation of IT environments using the public cloud. Often, companies carry the same assumptions and follow the same patterns that they are familiar with in their local environments. This results in increased costs as well as a reduction in potential profit.

The public cloud creates an opportunity to improve IT capabilities. To support organizations with the provision of high-quality services and an improved, simplified operational model.

The IDC research commissioned by Nordcloud 2019 shows that global spending on digital transformation will exceed more than $ 1.2 trillion by the end of 2019. At the same time, the pace of creating new business solutions and applications is growing. By the end of 2023, 500 million new applications will be created, which is equal to the number of applications built in the last 40 years.

If you want to read about IDC survey findings check out below:

Check the IDC study here

Let’s stay in touch! We’ll back on road after vacations.

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    The Top 3 Reasons Right Skills Are Key to Succeed in the Cloud

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    IDC predicts that by 2020, a lack of IT skills will affect 90% of all European organizations — resulting in $91 billion of lost revenue annually.* In particular, the IT skills associated with cloud implementations, migrations, and net new deployments are in very short supply.

    Therefore, to accelerate the delivery of these cloud projects, organizations will increasingly have to upskill existing employees or leverage external service providers that have the know-how to deliver these capabilities at scale. In this blog post we will explore these numbers a bit further and argue, why exactly upskilling is such a crucial – and possibly cost-saving – step on any company’s cloud journey.

    Trained organizations are  80% faster to adopt cloud and 3.8 times more likely to meet cloud ROI requirements.

    1) Transforming technology is not enough

    The value of cloud is realized with the changes in technology and changes in how the organization works. On the technology side this means DevOps, new architectural patterns and cloud native technologies in addition to hyperscale cloud. On the process side this means adopting agile ways of working and embracing lean tools like constant improvement and optimization. These have an impact on the entire organization, not just IT. You could say that to get the cloud benefits, you need to transform the technology, people and processes.

    2) A trained organization can respond to market changes in real time

    Lack of IT skills and enough knowledgeable experts is something we at Nordcloud have seen in practice throughout our customer base. Hiring more experts is very hard since there is a huge shortage of talent on the market and the cost of recruitment is very high.

    To solve this issue, we provide upskilling for our customers. We feel that in the long run our customers themselves also need to have the right knowledge. Knowing how cloud works also make the cooperation between customer and consultant work more seamlessly. Not to mention that trained organizations are also 80% faster to adopt cloud and 3.8 times more likely to meet cloud ROI requirements. **

    The value of cloud is realized with the changes in how the organization works.

    3) Achieve your goals

    Besides learning to know the technology you are working with there are some other forces driving the cloud upskilling. Some of the main reasons for training is being able to deliver new innovations for the business to be able to grab bigger portions of the competitive market and having the ability to find new revenue streams with the help of the right competence and hyperscale cloud. Companies are starting to understand that new approaches demand new digital skills and that they need to upskill existing employees to increase their productivity and start building new digital products faster.

     

    Cloud training at Nordcloud for AWS, Azure and Google Cloud

    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.

    To cater for all needs Nordcloud has a wide selection on different trainings varying from very basic Awareness trainings to official AWS, Azure and GCP courses to comprehensive 6-week Talent Acceleration Programs which all are used for our own needs as well.

    Contact our Cloud training experts!

     

    References

    *IDC Infobrief sponsored by Nordcloud (2019): Hyperscale Cloud Platforms as an Accelerator for Digital: the Role of Transformational Partners

    **IDC White Paper sponsored by AWS (2017): Train to Accelerate Your Cloud Strategy.

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      From Azure padawan to Azure knight

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      Life at Nordcloud

      AzureWhiteboardDay_9

      Going into the Azure Talent Acceleration Program, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that it would be an intensive learning experience but coming from a background of on-prem infrastructure management, I knew it would be extra difficult to get out of that on-prem mindset and into a cloud one.

      WEEK 1

      Week 1 was very interesting. We had the whole group turn up to Poznan in Poland. People coming from Finland, Germany, Netherlands and of course Poland.

      It was a great time to meet who we will be working with, what their backgrounds are and what they want to achieve in Nordcloud. With the team going out for dinner at Brovaria it was a good place to break the ice.

      I was nervous to say the least, with no idea what to expect, but we all just jumped straight into AZ-900 learning materials, with Jarkko (MCT) as our trainer for the first few weeks. Following the learning materials and the online labs, there was a ton of information to digest. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement, but over time as we started to pickup on those fundamentals, the materials started to become clearer.

      While week 1 was primarily an introduction to those fundamentals, Darek spoke to us about our career paths in Nordcloud, giving us an overview of what we can expect working here.

      We also took part in a workshop with Teemu (Azure Guru). This workshop was jumping ahead to Azure Architecture with small case studies. There’s an existing blog with more details covering that workshop here.

      WEEK 2

      We went into Week 2 expecting a similar experience. But this time it was a bit more in depth with Powershell. Remotely deploying resources through a few lines of Powershell code? Awesome. Being familiar with Powershell, it was my tool of choice as we went through labs. We also had the option of using this or CLI, which although looked intuitive and simple to learn, I’m a Powershell fanboy through and through, so I stuck with it.

      The labs were quite easy to follow, as they provided you with a step by step on how to achieve the goal. So, I, along with a few others in the group decided to try and perform these tasks using Powershell/ CLI instead of using the portal.

      This made it a bit more of a challenge, but it helped us learn much quicker.

      Later in the week were our self-study days to help us prepare for the subsequent weeks. Mostly using Pluralsight covering Git, Powershell, Docker and DevOps.

      WEEK 3

      With the first 2 weeks behind us, I was getting more comfortable with what was happening. Week 3 was focused more with classroom learning, specifically on AZ300. Although much of what was covered, we had already gone through in previous weeks, it was still good to keep our minds fresh with information.

      By this time, instead of doing the labs, Jarkko set us some challenges to complete with the information we just learned. Again, instead of using the portal, we’d be using Powershell/ CLI, maybe mix in some ARM Templates, or perhaps utilize key vault… adding bonus objectives with areas we hadn’t covered yet to help us learn the areas quickly. We enjoyed it, and it was fun coming up with different methods on achieving what Jarkko had asked us to do.

      Friday of that week though was the first kick off day to our case study. The case study would be the biggest focus for the following weeks.

      We were split into teams, representative of the cities we came from. The same teams we used in Teemu’s session.

      The case study was split into 4 phases:

      1. Design a solution for migrating a 3-tier web app to Azure.
      2. Implement the solution using the portal.
      3. Implement the solution using ARM templates.
      4. Implement the solution using Devops.

      Our first task, designing the solution.

      We had most of one day to design the solution. This took us back to our original task with Teemu for designing a solution in the cloud. All of us learned a lot since then, and felt that this time, our design was clear and informative.

      The key part was to remember that what we were designing, was what we were implementing. So, making it overcomplicated would impede us later. Keeping it simple was the way to go.

      WEEK 4

      This week we were primarily focusing on the next 2 phases of our case study. We had a day to implement our solution via the portal. It wasn’t too bad to get through. Using the portal to implement our solution was a great way to learn more features that we hadn’t used previously, but with that said, the knowledge we had already learned helped us get through the implementation without an issue.

      But on Tuesday, that was when the difficult part began. Implementing our solution via ARM templates.

      It wasn’t just writing out a single template and throwing it up into Azure, we needed to ensure that we were using features such as nesting and linked templates. The extra challenges made it extra difficult.

      It was tough, but at the same time the difficulty of the task helped us learn more about ARM templates.

      We were still split into teams, but that didn’t stop the groups from helping each other. We would often reach out to other teams to get their take on what we were struggling with and vice versa. After all, although we were in mini-teams, we are all trying to achieve the same goal. There is no shame in asking for help and advice, and it was great to see teams helping each other throughout the tasks.

      WEEK 5

      Our colleagues who were with us in Week 1 came back to Poznan in Week 5. It was great to see each other again after a few weeks. We took the time to go out for drinks to catch up as well as talking about what we had learned and how we accomplished the case study the previous week.

      Starting off the week with going out was a good idea considering what we were going to be learning that week.

      It was a very detailed and intensive few days of DevOps with Krzysztof, learning Azure DevOps, Git and CI/CD Pipelines.

      Considering our next task was to implement our solution using DevOps, the trainings we had were super helpful, and well taught. The lessons were tailor made to our group, and really opened our eyes to the possibilities behind CI/CD processes and automation.

      Once we had gone through these trainings and labs, we had half a day focusing on our soft skills. Hosted by a third party, it was primarily focused around public speaking, and getting us used to being able to talk openly to a large group of people. It was a nice break from the intensive technical training, as many of us were still processing the raw information provided to us the days before.

      And then came Friday, Kubernetes day. Piotr hosted a workshop not only for us, but for anyone who wanted to join. Going through the many subjects surrounding Kubernetes, performing labs using either our existing clusters from labs before, or using MiniKube.

      The workshop was once again super helpful.

      That evening though, it was nice to relax at an office party. The timing was great as we still had our colleagues on the TAP in Poznan who could join us. A fun party to get to meet and greet people who we hadn’t yet spoken to, drinks, pizza, it was great!

      Not to mention a couple of surprise birthdays on that day too with 2 of our TAP colleagues. An excellent evening that was most definitely needed, after a super intensive week.

      FINAL WEEK

      In our final week, we had the whole week to complete our DevOps task. This was truly a step up, as we had heard that in the past TAP teams had struggled with this case study. The intricacies in the task were difficult to deal with, but it didn’t stop us.

      Building our repo through to building the branches and pipelines… we found ourselves restructuring a few times as we were trying to automate the entire deployment.

      Once again, we were reaching out to other teams to get their take on certain methods and vice versa. We also had a lot of help from Krzysztof guiding us in the right direction.

      After multiple failures…

      We finally managed to get it working. We were super happy with what we had accomplished. The feeling of accomplishment was one of a kind.

      That afternoon we talked about the TAP, giving overall feedback and what happens next. We received our diplomas and now… fully qualified Azure Knights! Next step? Becoming an Azure Master.

       

      One thing! We haven’t planned a new TAP yet, however stay tuned since after holiday season it might happen again! So far, we don’t stop recruiting for Azure Cloud Architects in all countries where we have the offices. Follow the link here and check our current openings.

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        Employee training is essential for organisation’s success

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        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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          Pinja’s day at Talent Acceleration

          CATEGORIES

          Life at Nordcloud

          Hi everybody!

          You are warmly welcomed to follow my day in our Talent Acceleration team! 

          Who am I and what do I actually do, besides talking a lot while waving my hands and hanging out in Linkedin? And what is talent acceleration actually? Those are the things I hope to answer with this short story.

          pinja-nordcloud

          First of all I’m going to tell you a bit more about myself. You may call me Pinja, one of the Talent Acquisition Ninjas of Nordcloud. I joined the company in June 2018 and jumped on a fast-forward moving train of a rapidly growing tech company with huge potential to untap. This ride has been an absolute pleasure so far and suddenly I’ve found myself in the most interesting, new and exciting situations. Our growth has been impressive, and there is still a lot to do. For a recruiter and HR person like myself, this is a very challenging but especially rewarding situation to be in. As our company’s motto states, ‘we power up our customers’ business with an unlimited source of energy: our people”. This is people business to its core. For me, the feeling of getting things done and seeing some of my recruits walking around at the office with a Nordcloud hoodie on is the best possible reward.

          My background

          My own background is very far from tech savvy, but I claim to know something about people. I’ve always been intrigued by all things humane and therefore studying social psychology was a perfect match for me. Recruiting was a quite natural career path to take after that, as working with people is my greatest source of motivation. Matching great talent with new opportunities, seeing people step up their game when given the right chance and seeing the sparkle in their eyes while doing so is what makes me happy. The years working with tech recruitments have also created the little engineer in me and suddenly I see myself doing bits of coding stuff, fighting with Excel and reading about all things technical – you really are the company you keep!

          My regular day looks like..

          Well, honestly there isn’t a regular day! I do a lot of basic recruitments stuff, such as interviews, hunt and gather CVs and send out technical assignments, job offers and take care of our new joiners. I work closely with our managers and try to solve their business needs from a resource point of view. Our talent acceleration works hard to solve the need for people in a field where there are not enough cloud-skilled people existing. We have created our own solution for this and are training our own pros.

          Currently I am recruiting people for Poland and Germany, where we are offering a permanent employment and a full-time six weeks of training in Microsoft Azure to start with. This is a big project, where everything has to be orchestrated carefully, so I’ve been spending recently a lot of time networking with the right people, planning, researching and just testing things that could work out. This is ramping up growth and creating market entry at the same time, in addition to the normal recruitment activities.

          What is Nordcloud talent acceleration?

          The basic philosophy of this ‘talent acceleration as a strategy’ is to accelerate the skills and productivity level of new hires and existing staff too. Basically this makes it possible for you to hire into specific roles at an “underfill” level and rapidly accelerate new hires to full performance. Shortly put, it is critical for talent acquisition to create talent strategies that meet future challenges now, not next year. Job market, especially in tech, is in constant flux and shifting so fast that normal recruitment processes and traditional talent acquisition can’t catch up.

          PS. You can find me at Linkedin, feel free to connect there!

          Check our open positions here

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