If you've ventured out under level 2, you might have come across various contact tracing apps. Until recently there were 20 or more available in New Zealand. An early front runner was Rippl: a simple, privacy-first mobile app developed by Wellington-based development firm PaperKite.
What started for them as a proof of concept based on taking privacy seriously was rapidly adopted by Wellington and Dunedin City Councils (who cover business' first three months' of usage costs) and has since been rolled out across New Zealand. Because of PaperKite's working relationship with the Ministry of Health, Rippl now handles government QR codes as well as their own, making them the primary contact tracing app of choice for many. Usage is growing rapidly every day.
But why is this relevant to Catalyst?
It all started with Catalyst Managing Director Don Christie replying to a Tweet from PaperKite asking where they stored their data. AWS Sydney was the response, and so ever the data sovereignty and Catalyst evangelist, Don put PaperKite's technical director, Rob Holmes, in contact with Tomas van Ammers, Delivery Lead for Catalyst’s Cloud Native team to see what we could do to help.
Don pledged some pro bono time from us, along with Catalyst Cloud Managing Director Bruno Lago, who offered to help out with cloud costs.
The initial plan was to help PaperKite get set up in Catalyst Cloud, and for them to manage their own infrastructure. However, after kicking off the project early last week, PaperKite decided they wanted Catalyst to provide them a managed platform that they can trust, so they were able to focus on app development rather than infrastructure.
This led to getting Doug Thompson, who heads up our Managed Services team involved to discuss commercials and ongoing support, and what started as a fun pro bono project, was soon turned into a welcome party for Catalyst's newest customer, PaperKite and Rippl.
Welcome to Catalyst, PaperKite!
The technical journey is just as exciting as the business journey, too!
Instead of migrating PaperKite's infrastructure like-for-like, Hamish Rae-Hodgson (Cloud Architect) Evan Hanson (Technical and Practice Lead) stepped up in a massive way. They have created - in a matter of days - immutable infrastructure across two cloud regions; containerised Rippl; and helped automate the build and deployment pipelines. Colton Vermilyea (Infrastructure Engineer) implemented monitoring, backups, and alerting in record time. The team even had time to write end-user and technical documentation.
As it stands, we have fully-functional production and non-production environments running on the Catalyst Cloud as of this afternoon, little over a week after conversations began.
This is a great example of local companies working together for a common good, and of Catalyst's ability to quickly and effectively work with clients' complex systems in a way that adds value to the partnership.
Perhaps stranger, we’ve learned that Twitter is a good place to land new business (this being the second Cloud Native project initiated on Twitter this year).
So when you're out and about and have the choice of which contact tracing app to use, you can rest easy knowing Rippl is hosted on New Zealand's very own Catalyst Cloud.
Catalyst is a New Zealand owned and operated company where openness, long term relationships, community and diversity are essential characteristics of how we do business. Since 1997, Catalyst has been enabling success with expert open source solutions, and clients all over the world trust us with their mission-critical systems.