A Face in the Cloud - Mike Zazon, Cloud Systems Developer
Here at Cloudreach, we believe that the growth of a great business is fuelled by great people. It is our talented individuals that make Cloudreach the success it is. Today Cloud Systems Developer Mike Zazon tells us about his experience working and keeping it cloudy at Cloudreach.
What is your role at Cloudreach?
I’m a Cloud Systems Developer in the Cloud Enablement* business unit here at Cloudreach! I get to work with major clients to solve huge business problems at hyperscale in a cloud agnostic fashion (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc.) with really efficient, smart software-enabled solutions like:
- Infrastructure-as-Code (CloudFormation, Terraform, etc)
- Microservices & Containers (Serverless, Immutable Infrastructure, Secure by Default, Docker, Kubernetes, etc)
- DevOps (CI/CD, secure software supply chain, pipeline, Jenkins/Bamboo, python, php, ruby on rails, c#)
- Automation & Software (DSC, Puppet, Chef, Ansible, etc, etc, etc)
- Security (Anti DDoS, Threat Detection & Prevention, DLP)
- Cost Control (Cloudamize)
- Emerging Cloud-Native/Distributed Tech (Blockchain, Serverless, Machine Learning, etc.)
I’m also currently a fully remote employee so I get to work from anywhere and pop into any Cloudreach office globally! How cool is that?
What motivated you to join Cloudreach?
I’ve always tried to keep my ear to the ground for interesting movers and shakers in our industry. I saw Cloudreach join Blackstone’s portfolio of companies, and I knew it was the right time to make a career move with backing and acceleration like that. Like pouring gas on fire!
The Cloud Systems Developer role was the perfect fit for me to contribute immediately in this space. The role is very broad, with plenty of work for everyone, so any technical experience or ability you bring to the table would be useful on a daily basis in the role. With my background, and what I am looking to do long term, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity. The interview process was unique and tailored to attract the best talent in the industry. I am so glad that I pursued this position.
I would encourage any of my friends to look at open positions and apply. There are routinely so many amazing positions open at this company as we continue to complete huge projects, work with massive new customers, scale and have fun doing it!
Which cloudy value resonates most with you and why?
The values of our company are propelling us into the next big waves of computational technology and we - Cloudreach - are poised to influence and shape the major shifts that you are currently witnessing.
The value that resonates with me most is "respecting the individual and individuality." We’re all so unique and our company prides itself on supporting the individual. In bringing so many uniquely talented minds together, globally, the possibilities of scale are endless.
Can you share a learning and development experience you’ve had within Cloudreach?
Pairing work with colleagues in our industry is really the most efficient way to learn and usually produces high-quality work product when both parties are engaged. You can really accelerate agile development on projects this way too, as knowledge spreads. There are too many benefits to enumerate. The point is: this type of work is encouraged out of the gate at Cloudreach.
As a fully remote employee like me, you may think it would be challenging to do this, but as good as Google Hangouts, Slack calls, etc. are, there is no reason you can’t seamlessly live-code with colleagues or chat while working on a problem. It’s actually something we do often in our roles.. There are virtually zero hurdles between remote and on-prem employees anymore with the collaboration technology we have, so I learn new things from my coworkers every day!
How has Cloudreach contributed to your personal and professional development?
I worked in higher ed at a research institution for 12 years... so I have learning and continuous improvement baked in by default. Much to my delight, immediately upon joining Cloudreach, I was encouraged to upskill in areas that I selected myself and was provided an environment and tools required to do so at own my pace. It also helped that I had a kickass boss - Clark Whiteway - to guide me. He always put me in positions to succeed and provided the tools I needed to do so. I trusted him to do that and he trusted me to get the job done and be the best person I can be.
I was also encouraged to shadow successful Cloudreachers out of the gate. When you’re aligned with successful peers from the get-go, you not only gain access to tools that enable you to quickly sidestep common upskill issues, but also to role models willing to help whether it be on or off the clock.
What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this?
I can say with total confidence that even if I won the lottery tomorrow, I would still be working here. In other words, because I love what I do, it doesn’t feel like work. I don’t see myself doing anything else right now.
What has been your favourite Cloudreach moment?
Remember that one night (morning) in Lisbon when Cloudreach took over the streets?!
Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I once drank a full beer on mile 22 of the Miami Marathon many moons ago... I still like beer, not sure about the running part
Tell us about an individual who has greatly influenced you.
I love my whole family. They are all brilliant, incredible, fantastic people. They all provide influence and strength to me when I need it. All my sibs and parents rock!
But I have to say for this question, my mom [nurse] Suzy! She’s my biggest influencer, always helping everyone around her. She is always going above and beyond, serving the people she’s responsible for caring for, and applying those interpersonal skills daily as a long time hard-working healthcare professional still out in the trenches. She has always encouraged creativity through any art form, education down any path, as well as perseverance, individuality, selflessness, and treating others the way you want to be treated. Honestly, it starts to sound a little familiar!
What is your personal philosophy?
0 Goto 12
1 REM "Basically:"
12 PRINT "Quiet your mind"
22 PRINT "Find your strength"
40 PRINT "Confront your weakness"
50 PRINT "Envision the path"
60 PRINT "Plan"
70 PRINT "Iterate"
80 PRINT "Execute"
90 PRINT "Learn from success & failure"
99 REM "no sleep available in basic"
100 Goto 0
How do you strike your own work/life balance?
Cloudreach supports a healthy work/life balance with uncapped vaca, supportive peers, and a culture that enables you to strike any balance you define. It’s up to you to MAKE. THE. TIME!
For me, it’s about:
Gadgets, smart home/automation (shout out Kartik!), traveling, golf, hockey, my dog, cars, working on cars, buying cars, selling cars, boats, working on boats, trading cars for boats, trading stuff for boat parts, guitar, piano, but most of all sharing experiences with family as much as possible. Friends too. And even people I’m not friends with yet. Living and loving life!
What impact do you believe Cloudreach has had on the tech industry?
- We have lifted and shifted a lot of servers & VMs. We’ve innovated where others haven’t and wrapped repeatable processes around common tasks. Process automation that slams operational cost to the bottom line. These tactics are now becoming industry standards and we are writing the book on it.
- We’re fostering a culture [Cloudy Values] that is impossible to duplicate in the industry. Any company can lift and shift, support, consult, etc. but we have fun doing it with our clients and we bring value to customers with more automation and tooling than any other competitor.
- We build our own tools when we can’t find them. The tech industry adopts them. The open source community bolsters them. The non tech industry benefits. We all win!
- We closely partner with the largest players in the field to enable consumption of their amazing services-- Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc!
- Cloudreach has a precise methodology that is a proven model for modernizing infrastructure with minimal effort & cost and maximized resiliency. Some will try to replicate this, but we are always one step ahead, and there is a lot more to do in this space.
What role do you see Cloudreach playing in the technology industry over the next 5 years?
- Cloudreach is transforming the way that enterprise consumes cloud technology and reaps the benefits within. This is an incredible thing to be a part of. Just watch out for new products out of our various business units, all designed to streamline cloud adoption and infrastructure modernization in any capacity or scale that your organization chooses.
- The ETA and Cloudamize mergers set forth to bolster our innovation and cost control portfolios have been exemplifications of the software-first methodology, an area in which Blackstone and Cloudreach have and will continue to find major success and that pass incredible value on to customers existing and future.
- Modernization of software supply chain initiatives is critical to quickly ship highly functional software to customers and to do it securely is something that we just have to do nowadays. The Cloudreach portfolio includes teams of people who are solely responsible for working with customers software development teams to modernize how they build and ship software. Injection of devops automation into legacy build processes increases efficiency exponentially! Yeah, we do that!
- Machine Learning/AI, Big Data/Analytics, Blockchain, Serverless… Our company is leading the way that businesses consume these new emerging technologies and innovate themselves above their competitors. We enable that, plain and simple.
- I see "secure by default" and immutable infrastructure playing the largest part of the future of infrastructure modernization. We’re leading the way that customers stay one step ahead of attackers from a security standpoint. We can’t give away too much of our secret sauce so I’ll just leave it at that!
What advice would you give to recent new hires?
- Our industry moves fast. You’re now part of a company that is leading the way in a lot of areas. Be smart! Stay focused! We need your help!
- Listen to your line managers and leads, let them work with you to put you on a path to success. They are leading you because they have been in your shoes!
- When working on behalf of a customer, look to your Cloud Engagement Managers at all times! They will tell you what you need to be focusing on, since they will always know what’s going on!
- Always be honest with yourself about your abilities, your time, and your personal commitments. There is nothing to hide here! Remember: You’re working for an incredibly supportive organization that is built upon respecting the individual & promoting growth both professionally and personally!