IT Life: Virtualise All The Things!

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Poojan Kumar, co-founder and CEO of PernixData, likes virtualised storage, chess and the idea of automated milk delivery

Poojan Kumar has been working in IT for the past 12 years, holding management positions at companies like VMware and Oracle. In 2012, he co-founded PernixData, the US start-up responsible for what it calls the industry’s first hypervisor for server-side flash.

The FVP software product virtualises all flash, and creates a new clustered acceleration tier that allows management of storage performance independently from storage capacity. In October 2013, PernixData brought FVP to the UK.

Kumar says that the days of on-premise storage are far from over, and the IT departments just need better tools to achieve cloud-like features.

Tools for data

Oracle Big Data ApplianceWhat has been your favourite project so far?

A few years back, I co-founded a company called PixBlitz and our engineers were trying to achieve live advert insertion for real-time media in sports content. The objective was to show brand adverts targeting the relevant audience, and at the time, Google was the only company playing in this arena. It was a lot of fun working on projects that involved animation technology.

What tech were you involved with ten years ago?

Ten years ago I was more focused on technology in the enterprise world. Having co-founded Oracle Exadata, I led the product development for Oracle Exadata v1 which accounts for billions in Oracle revenues today. During the technology boom I was deep into building Oracle’s Big Data Appliance.

What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?

I expect to be using smarter automated technology, ultimately making day-to-day life easier. For example, if my carton of milk was expiring, this might be resolved by a technology that could automatically replace the milk without having to manually order online or go and buy more in a shop.

Who’s your tech hero?

Steve JobsSteve Jobs – he gave people things that they didn’t even know they wanted. Steve’s unique mix of talents made him pivotal to the rapid rise of connectivity, making it easier than ever for people all over the world to communicate. He was a true businessman, innovator and visionary.

What’s your favourite technology ever made? Which do you use most?

I would have to say that building PernixData FVP for the last two years has definitely been my favourite of all the technologies that I have worked on.

Like most people in this digital era, I spend most hours of the day on my smartphone.

What is your budget outlook going forward? Flat? Growing?

PernixData has grown from two people to one hundred and twenty people in the space of two years. I am pretty bullish with how we are set for the next two years – the forecast is looking bright for sure.

Apart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?

I have high admiration for Google as it is extremely difficult to do multiple things well. Google has pulled off more than one innovation which earns my utmost respect. I also have serious respect for VMware – the main reason being that the company continues to innovate for many years and it keeps people excited.

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?

Given the amount of new data appearing every day, the greatest challenge is scaling storage capacity to gain control over future storage investments. Many IT departments struggle to find a solution that decouples storage from capacity for instantaneous acceleration of system performance.

To Cloud or not to Cloud?

Ultimately companies need on-premises storage. If businesses can deploy the benefits of cloud on-premise – then it will be more straightforward.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

Chess champion. While growing up in India, I played professional chess as a full-time endeavour outside of school. I defeated the third best chess player in the world under the age of 15, as well as the top chess player in India under the age of 15.

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