Multi-Cloud: Why Stop At One Platform?

We deal with a number of major providers, each with its own outstanding features and strengths. A business just has to identify its needs and pick the service that best meets those.

Everyone knows the importance of picking the right tool for the job. Keen woodworkers have a selection of hammers, chisels and saws, golfers carry bags full of clubs, and even the most ardent sports car enthusiasts can see the limitations of a Ferrari when it’s time to take five kids to the beach.

The cloud is the same. We deal with a number of major providers, each with its own outstanding features and strengths. A business just has to identify its needs and pick the service that best meets those.

Except Why Stop At One Cloud Provider?

Let’s say, for the sake of an example, that a substantial portion of your compute needs are predictable, stable and that latency isn’t an overriding issue. You might consider a provider that offers a relatively inflexible service, doesn’t necessarily have data centres located close to your users, but that is highly cost effective. The lack of flexibility isn’t an issue because of the predictability of your requirements while the low cost makes it highly attractive.

However, let us also suppose that you also offer applications where latency is an issue and where it’s also important to be able to scale usage up and down do meet spikes in demand. A second cloud provider, one that has data centres close to your main users and that offers a flexible deal on capacity, is an attractive option even though its charges are higher than the first.

So, does it have to be an either or? Of course not. We live in a world where it’s possible to choose both.

But Which Cloud Provider Excels In Which Areas?

However, as the psychologist Barry Schwartz has argued, choices can complicate matters. You have to understand which cloud provider excels in which areas, the likely impact of their terms and conditions, and you also have to have a breadth of expertise in order to take advantage of multiple platforms, both to develop applications within the different environments and to create the architecture needed so that data can flow easily between platforms where required.

This is very much one of Nordcloud’s roles, to act as an expert facilitator between customer and cloud providers. It’s our job to know how to match a particular offering to a particular requirement. It’s our job to understand the implications of each provider’s terms of business for our customers, and it’s one of our great strengths that we have the resources to supplement our customers’ in-house technical expertise with our own. So, if your team’s proficiencies allow you to manage one provider’s platform but not another, we can help you to clear that hurdle. Our expertise in building a businesses’ Security & Governance models and core infrastructure, as well as delivering data centre migrations and optimised Cloud environments in a consistent way across the major Cloud platforms has allowed us to become one of the most trusted providers.

Benefits Of Microsoft Azure

Though we were already working with a number of excellent cloud providers, we have partnered with Microsoft to offer Azure cloud services to our customers. Azure offers particular advantages that make it an attractive option for businesses looking to locate some or all of their computing needs in the cloud.

For starters, there’s the familiarity of the MS environment, though it should be pointed out that Azure is equally adept at hosting Linux-based applications. Windows is ubiquitous and Microsoft’s range of tools and apps is beyond comprehensive.

Azure has put especially put emphasis on simplicity and speed. If you need to spin up a project quickly, you need to consider Azure. The human resources are easy to come by – most businesses have no shortage of people skilled in Microsoft-related development – and the tools are easy to use.

Azure has also addressed concerns relating to server stability with a comprehensive outage protection plan that mirrors users’ data to secure virtual environments. If the possibility of outages and lost data is a worry, then Azure is a good answer. Microsoft has an impressive data centre network with global coverage and is moving into Southern Europe, Africa and South America ahead of the competition. We’re confident that, as providers expand their infrastructure, Azure users won’t find themselves left behind. The business also offers great means of analysing and mining your data for business intelligence through its managed SQL and NoSQL data services.

Of course, the other cloud services that Nordcloud offers come with their own strengths, but a growing number of businesses, perhaps a majority, are now looking to mix and match with cloud providers to get the best of each to suit their specific needs. It’s a trend we only expect to keep growing.

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    Journey To CKA and CKAD

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    Life at Nordcloud

    This article is about trusting yourself to accomplish new things, achieving your goals and specifically Daniel’s journey to CKA and CKAD.

    (Picture of Daniel in Yosemite National Park.) 


    Last year I was working at Huawei in a position what looking from the outside must have been interesting. However, I was not satisfied with it. I had started to look for something else what would be more into it for me from a technology point of view.

    This is how I found Nordcloud and their UK based subsidiary Nordcloud LTD.

    Nordcloud went through some serious expansion last year and are still hiring tens of people in several countries. We in the UK have a few open positions if anyone is interested.

    I joined Nordcloud in January and I could not have made a better decision.

    They provide me just the right amount of hands-on tasks to keep me in the game, and not just be a theoretical architect.

    I always thought without real hands-on experience you cannot call yourself a technical architect.

    Everybody can talk about technology (we have seen it with several brain dumpers), but being able to talk about it and also to implement it with proper design, that is where the real knowledge resides.

    When I joined Nordcloud I was already into containerisation.

    My friend, Vinayak Kumar, was an SRE at a company where he designed/managed several K8s clusters and a K8s based environment spanning through different regions/areas of the world. The technology was just fascinating.

    I can kind of compare the whole experience with it for me, like when I first met with VMware virtualisation back in 2007-2008. I instantly knew I must work with this technology and become an expert in it.

    Nordcloud LTD is not a huge consultancy yet; however we are growing and contributing to the group level directives and solutions as well.

    We have agreed with my lead Harry Azariah, that I will pursue to become a K8s expert – being an Azure Senior Architect working on AKS and focusing on all managed and unmanaged K8s solutions.

    So my journey began…

    I started to build my own clusters based on Kelsey Hightower’s and Ivan Fioravanti’s Kubernetes the Hard Way git repository.

    I was watching tens, maybe hundreds, of hours of Kubernetes videos from Kelsey Hightower and others. Luckily, I already had some experience with Docker – I had built Docker Swarm demo environments in Azure a few years before, but still K8s was a bit of a new territory and a challenge. When I thought I had enough knowledge to ask relevant questions, I called my friend Vinay and he was kind enough to jump over from 120 miles away to have a session with me. Yeah, we could have done it online but it’s always good to see a friend!

    Anyhow after that session I knew a lot more and was sure this is the technology I want to focus on in the upcoming weeks, months, (years?! 😄)

    Fortunately enough, we got a few leads at Nordcloud with K8s, AKS requirements. I got the chance to put all I had learned into practice. This is when I realised I know less than I thought. 😄

    So, dwelled even deeper into the rabbit hole, I started to work with Ingress controllers such as Nginx. In one of our projects (which I’m still working on) I had the opportunity to start to work with Istio Service Mesh. The whole experience was like a roller coaster ride. Just when I thought yeah I’m confident, something new came up. I think this is what got me excited about the whole K8s experience,  technology I knew little about and constantly can provide challenges.

    About this time I decided I want to be certified.

    With my lead Harry, I agreed that the CKA exam should be the first I achieve. I jumped on Linux Academy and started the CKA course there. It’s an OK course; you can get enough information to understand those requirements which are shared on the CKA exam leaflet. However, do not expect to be able to pass if you only go through this training.

    You must do more – as a bare minimum I would recommend going through the K8s the hard way material at least 5 times if you are not managing real world clusters on a day to day basis.

    By this time I was already working with AKS for 4 months, but that is a managed K8s solution, so you have almost 0 tasks to manage the Master nodes, and you can bet you will have some questions related to those.

    11% Cluster Maintenance, 12 % Installation, Configuration, Validation, 10% Trouble shooting; all these can mean you will have to look at some master components.

    So I was going on a long journey to search for useful exam prep tests and K8s trainings and found this link at the Kubernetes slack.

    It contains so much information that it’s an overkill in general for the exam, but some are worth to go through.

    With the CKA exam you can expect to use all your 3 hours to answer the questions, maybe get 10 minutes at the end to review what you have done. I used up my time completely, had about that 10 minutes to review with 1 question unanswered (8% worth). I decided to go and look at my solutions for other questions and not to bother with that one.

    The main reason you will use the 3 hours is that you have to type a lot, even if you know where to find some templates in the documentation (what you can use), it is still a lot to do. Even if you use “kubectl create dry-run -o yaml > pod.yaml” to generate your base config, it’s a lot to achieve on the k8s resource side, not to talk about the install/manage questions.

    I definitely recommend to use completion source <(kubectl completion bash)”>>~/.bashrc

    Personally, I have not used any alias configured by me, some people find that useful. I work with alias in my day-to-day environments, but for the exam I was not finding it useful (configured a few though).

    • Know the documentation and where to find what.
    • Watch as some links are navigating off from the domain ad that is not allowed, but in general if you know where to find things or how to ask the right question if you get stuck, this will be a life saver.
    • Build a AKS, EKS, GKE cluster and use that to prep with the Kubernetes resources (it’s faster to build than a K8s the hard way cluster and it does not depends on your setup).
    • Do deployments of objects until you feel like you are bored with it, when you literally wake up at night and hear your thoughts going around “apiVersion: v1 kind: Pod metadata: labels: app: someapp spec: containers:”

    That is the time when you can feel confident about your knowledge… not joking…

    • Build a habit to use the commands which help you to generate templates, or create resources quickly. There is a really good cheat sheet from Denny Zhang to start with.
    • Do some tests in a practice environment, the exam environment is nothing too complex, but it’s a browser based exam, not a basic ssh from your tty client.
    • I have tried this environment to get a look and feel, from Arush Salil.
    Practical tips for the day of the exam:
    • Find a place with good WiFi Coverage and without any distractions.
      I sat in a phone booth at the office, however my WiFi was awful when I shared my camera ( have not tested it before properly) so I had to find another place to do the exam from. Save your self that 20 minutes of worry which I had…
    • Do some video calls with someone from the location you will do your exam from.

    Luckily the proctor was reasonable enough to give me time to find another place.

    • I would not recommend to do it from home. I’ve heard horror stories from others that proctors were asking to cover everything in a room and such.
    • Have a glass of water with you. As I have mentioned you won’t have much time to leave from the exam… No food, no headset, papers, other electronics, etc. is allowed on the desk or around you.
    • Your face and eyes must be always on the screen. I was asked several times to adjust my camera (Dell XPS 15) or position because I was leaning too close to the screen… That was annoying – probably an external camera would have been better to use.

    After passing the CKA;

    I must say the CKAD was like a walk in the park. I went through the Linux Academy course just to have training and then I took the exam.

    With the extensive preparation I had spent for the CKA (you need a lot as it almost covers “everything”) and the Linux Academy course I easily passed the CKAD. The exam is only 2 hours long and I finished it about 15 minutes earlier.

    I can’t say that anybody who passes CKA can easily pass CKAD but for me it was not a problem. However, it is worth to mention by this time it was already 5 months into an AKS project for me where I was working with Probes, Persistent Storages, Deployments on an almost day-to-day basis.

    So where to from here?

    I’m definitely going to stick with this technology; it gives me the chills with all the challenges and new aspects of technology it comes with. Nordcloud is a place which lets its employees flourish if you can and are willing to put in the additional effort.
    There are some plans in my head to get to know other K8s versions better like OpenShift (already studying), dwell into EKS and GKE more, see how they really compare, and build a K8s practice at Nordcloud limited on the long run would be nice. My leads as far as I see are partners in this.

    What is the conclusion of all this?

    I think for me it is that never be afraid to change. Admit to yourself what you think you need/want. I mean I did this a bit more than 3 years ago when I came to the UK from several years of being a Solution/Enterprise Architect, went to a Senior Consultant position, and just about 7 months ago from a Product Owner/Architect Position I accepted Nordcloud’s offer for a Hands-On Senior Architect position.  I can clearly say it totally is worth it – my move 3 years ago, and my decision this year, I was never really happier than when I made these two decisions in my professional life.

    There is really something in the saying from Confucius: “He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right…” If you want something, do it; you just need to put the required time and effort into it and you can achieve anything.

    Trust in yourself, and do not wait others to make your life happen! Because when you trust in yourself that is when magic happens in your life. 😊 

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      Migrations to MS Azure – Best Practices shared in Poland

      CATEGORIES

      Blog

      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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        Azure Cosmos DB – Multi model, Globally Distributed Database Service

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        BlogTech Community

        Introduction to AZURE COSMOS DB

        Azure Cosmos DB  is a multi-model database service by design, which can be easily globally distributed. Database engine supports storing of data in documents, key-value pairs and even graphs. Scaling of Cosmos DB across any number of available locations is extremally easy –  just press the appropriate button in the Azure portal. In modern web-based applications low latency is expected by the end users. With Cosmos DB you can store data closer to application users. Database can be distributed and available in 50+ regions. This creates enormous opportunities. Regions management can be involved at any time in application lifecycle.

        Based on the above, global distribution of data with Cosmos DB provides a set of benefits such as:

        • support for NoSQL approach for data management,
        • easy management of massive data amounts (read, writes operations close to end users),
        • simplicity of cooperation with mobile, web or even IoT solutions,
        • low latency,
        • high throughput and availability.

        For development purpose Microsoft provide Azure Cosmos DB emulator. Functionality is close to native cloud version of Cosmos DB. Developer will be able to create and query JSON documents, deal with collections and test stored procedures or triggers on database level. We need to understand that some features are not fully supported locally. These are among others multi-region replication or scalability.

        Later in this post I will try to explain more details about supported data models. All of them use main, cool features provided by Azure Cosmos DB.

        Supported data models

        1. SQL API

        This kind of Cosmos DB API provides capabilities to dealing with data for users, which are familiar with SQL queries standards. In general, data is stored as a JSON, but we can query them in easy way with SQL-like queries. Communication is handled by HTTP/HTTPS endpoints which process several requests. Microsoft provide dedicated SDK’s for this kind of API, for most of popular programming languages like .NET, Java, Python or JavaScript. Developers can load dedicated library in their application and start very fast read/write operations directly to Cosmos DB. Sample flow has been shown below.

         

        2. MongoDB API

        Existing instances of MongoDB can be migrated to Azure Cosmos DB without huge effort for this activities. Both standards are compatible. If new environment is created, change between native MongoDB instance and Cosmos DB instance (by MongoDB API) comes to change a connection string in application. Existing drivers for application written for MongoDB are fully supported. By design all properties within documents are automatically indexed.

        Let’s check, how simple queries for identical documents collection as used in previous point will look like:

         

         

        As a result, specified sub-JSON contains data will be returned. If query doesn’t return results, empty object will be send as a response to query.

        3. Table API

        This kind of API can be used by applications prepared natively for close working with Azure Storage tables. Of course Cosmos DB provides some premium capabilities comparing to Storage tables e.g. high availability or global distribution. Migration to new DB source for application doesn’t require changes in code. User can query data in a few ways. Also lot of SDKs are provided by design. Below sample will show how to query data by .NET SDK with LINQ. During execution LINQ query will be translated to ODATA query expression.

         

        4. Cassandra API

        Azure Cosmos DB Cassandra API is dedicated data store for applications created for Apache Cassandra. User is able to interact with data via CQL (Cassandra Query Language). In many cases action for changing DB source from Apache Cassandra to Azure Cosmos DB ‘s Cassandra API is just changing a connection string in application. From code perspective integration with Cassandra is realized via dedicated SDK (NuGet -> Install-Package CassandraCSharpDriver). Sample code for connecting to Cassandra cluster from .NET application is presented below.

         

        5. Gremlin API

        The last API provided by Azure Cosmos DB (on the day of writing this article 😉) is Gremlin API. This kind of interface can be used for storing and operation on graph data. API supports natively possibilities to graph modeling and traversing. We can query the graphs with millisecond latency and evolve the graph structure and schema in easy way. For querying activities we can use Gremlin or Apache TinkerPop languages. Step by step process from NuGet package installation to run first query is has been shown below.

        Summary

        From the developer perspective, Azure Cosmos DB is very interesting service. Huge range of available APIs allows for using mentioned database in various scenarios. Below you can find information from official Azure Cosmos DB site about availabilities of APIs per programming language.

        Source: Azure Cosmos DB Documentation

        ***

        This post is the last part in our Azure DevOps series. Check out the previous posts:

        #1: Azure DevOps Services – cloud based platform for collaborating on code development from Microsoft

        #2: Web application development with .NET Core and Azure DevOps

         

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          Global Azure Bootcamp in Poland

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          Global Azure Bootcamp is organized all over the world, this time in 5 cities in Poland including Poznan where’s our Polish office and where we hire Azure geeks like Sławek Stanek who co-organizes the event so we are more than happy to support such a bootcamp!

          Come and learn more about the public cloud, Azure Active Directory, DevOps on Azure, Artificial Intelligence & Big Data, Power BI in Azure and SAP on Azure!

          Registrate here: https://gabc2019poznan.evenea.pl/

          Venue: Centrum Wykładowe Politechniki Poznańskiej – Sala CW8 Piotrowo 2, Poznań

          Date: 27.04.2019

          Time: 09:00 – 16:00

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            The Poznań Project – getting familiar with Azure

            CATEGORIES

            Life at Nordcloud

            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!

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

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              Nordcloud accelerates its growth with new €20 million funding

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              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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                Petri Kallberg returns to Nordcloud to lead its Finnish technical expertise

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                Nordcloud Finland appoints Petri Kallberg as Chief Technology Officer

                 

                Kallberg makes a return to the cloud company, where he previously began working in 2013.

                During his first employment, Kallberg witnessed the company transform from a 10-person startup into an international player with 100 employees. Now Kallberg comes back to a company of over 400 people and 10 European operating countries, bearing expertise from OP Bank and Sanoma Media Company, where he managed internal public cloud development.

                In his new role, Kallberg’s mission is to ensure that Nordcloud´s customers in Finland succeed with the public cloud and the team remains at the forefront of AWS, Azure and GCP clouds.

                “You could say that I strive toward soft values with hard, technical tools,” Kallberg says. “My task is to ensure that no one feels like they are being held back. Technology is at the heart of it. When employees are given challenges and feel like they are making progress in their field, the positive impact becomes evident on the customer’s side, too.”

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                  Nordcloud appoints Minna Lindholm to lead its people-driven growth

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                  In the beginning of 2019, Nordcloud appointed Minna Lindholm to lead its people-driven growth as the Senior Vice President of Professional Services.

                  Lindholm has served a long career in the ICT field. She has acted in the ranks of international players, such as Tieto, Fujitsu and Nokia, where her responsibilities included global tasks, team management and other business functions. At Nordcloud, Lindholm will direct customer projects in all ten operating countries.

                   

                  Lindholm’s appointment plays a role in the Finnish company’s growth agenda

                  Public cloud is on the rise and with its help, Nordcloud aims to expand operations. Lindholm’s unit approaches growth from a human perspective. The goal is clear: to utilize Nordcloud’s own talent by empowering employees and giving them tools for success. The key for Nordcloud is the modern way of working that emphasizes agile methods and automation.

                  “This is an interesting time to join the team. It’s amazing to see how Nordcloud continues to develop from a growth company to a force of nature that reshapes big corporations,” Lindholm says. “The key in this development is people, of course. My job here is to bring the best out of our employees and create superstars: remove barriers and help them see what they’re capable of.”

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                    Nordcloud prepares for growth by appointing a new country manager in Sweden

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                    Nordcloud appoints a new country manager Malin Stålbrand to lead its growth in Sweden.

                    Stålbrand joins the ranks from Capgemini, where she served as a manager for a Stockholm-based team and was part of Capgemini’s Infrastructure Services’ Swedish leadership team. She has also worked in various IT infrastructure projects, such as data center transformation projects, infrastructure upgrades and different pre-studies. Her expertise lies in people and project management. In her new role, she will be overseeing Nordcloud Sweden and driving its team forward.

                    Nordcloud is gearing towards growth in all its 10 European operating countries, as the demand for public cloud services rises. According to Gartner, the worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.3 % in 2019.

                    Stålbrand´s predecessor as country manager Niklas Kjäldström moves on to manage and drive the growth in the entire Scandinavian region. In the Nordics, Nordcloud also operates in Denmark and has recently expanded into Norway.

                    “As the country manager, I am driven to grow Sweden and ensure that we offer a good workplace for our employees”, Stålbrand says, “It’s exciting. I can’t wait to be a part of this journey. It’s thrilling to see where we can go.”

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