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IT Life: Improving Your Memory

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Fusion-io CEO David Flynn talks about Fusion-io, Steve Wozniak and Nigerian spam emails

David Flynn is the co-founder and CEO of flash memory company Fusion-io, which aims to deliver the world’s data faster. The firm attracted headlines when it hired Steve Wozniak as its chief scientist in 2009, who just happpens to be Flynn’s tech hero. He started out by creating a flight simulator for the US military when in high school and has worked on all sorts of projects ever since, fulfilling his ambition of building cool tech.

What is your company, how long have you been in IT and what are your areas of expertise?
My company is Fusion-io, we deliver the world’s data faster. Most of us take data for granted from the moment we wake up in the morning, but the ubiquity of data in our lives today is generating major challenges in delivering data at the speeds that we click on our devices.

To help our customers succeed in the face of these challenges, Fusion-io created a new memory platform we call ioMemory platform to accelerate virtualization, databases, cloud computing, big data and performance applications. From online retailers to the world’s social media leaders and Fortune Global 500 companies, our customers are improving the performance and efficiency of their data centers with Fusion-io products.

Goodbye to spinning disks

David Flynn Fusion-io

Fusion-io was founded in 2006 when my co-founder Rick White and I recognized that spinning disk-era storage could no longer keep up with modern data demands. Between us and the rest of our founding team, we had experience in transaction processing, high-performance networking, storage, superclusters, and computing and image processing.

I started working in computers back in high school, when I built a flight simulator for the US military. Since then, I’ve worked in 3D graphics, high performance computing, graphics information systems, and at Oracle Computer on smart terminals, interactive TV and web technologies.

What’s your favourite project that you’ve ever worked on?
One of my favorite projects was building a flight simulator for a military missile system for Computer Science Corporation back in high school. Fusion-io is pretty incredible as well. I’m lucky to have been able to work on lots of really great projects throughout my career – it seems whatever I am working on at the time is always the coolest thing.

What technologies were you involved with ten years ago?
Ten years ago I was having fun building supercomputers. Some of the things I discovered at the time, like the relationship between memory and performance, led to the eventual founding of Fusion-io.

What do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?
I think the biggest transformation we will see in ten years will be developments in machine perception. Having computers understand video and audio will completely transform technology. Cars that can do their own driving will only be the tip of the iceberg.

What do you think is the greatest challenge for an IT company or department!
Scaling to efficiently meet today’s data demands is a challenge we see across the globe with companies large and small. This is why Fusion-io was founded – we saw a way to break through expensive storage sprawl with a new memory platform to accelerate applications in the server where data is processed.

To cloud or nor to cloud?
Certainly, to cloud! Our mobile devices connect to the cloud to deliver the apps and services that simplify and enrich our lives today. Our devices are becoming portals of information and it’s all about ease of use.

Jobs Wozniak squareWho is your tech hero and who is your tech villain?
Our chief scientist Steve Wozniak is my technology hero. It’s incredible to get to work closely with one of your heroes through our work at Fusion-io. My technology villains are those “Nigerian prince” scam guys that try to entrap little old ladies with fraudulent pleas for help.

What’s your favourite technology ever made and what do you use the most?
My favorite technology was my Commodore 64. I joke about admitting this to Woz, but my family was of too modest means to afford an Apple computer at the time.

Today I use my iPhone the most, primarily for business and travel.

Apart from your own, which company do you admire the most and why?
I honestly admire Facebook very much. I admire their passion-driven company culture, their ability to change how people interact on a massive scale, and I really admire the individuals I have the pleasure of working with there.

What did you want to be when you were a child?
For me, it was never what I wanted to be, it was what I wanted to do. What I wanted to do was build cool technology. Doing that as an engineer is what I had envisioned, but leading a whole company of talented people is even more fulfilling.

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