Kiran is a 30-year veteran of the high-tech world. Over all that time, what makes him tick?
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
One of the most memorable achievements in my career was being part of the team that developed and scaled Isilon (now Dell PowerScale), a scale-out storage solution.
Isilon was a project that aimed to redefine how data storage was approached. The concept of ‘scale-out storage’ was relatively new at the time and represented a significant shift from traditional ‘scale-up’ methods. Unlike scale-up storage which required adding more hardware to increase capacity, scale-out storage involved adding more nodes to a network, enabling it to grow seamlessly without disrupting operations.
We started from scratch, working through complex technical issues, and conceptualizing and implementing novel solutions. As the project progressed, I had the opportunity to contribute to various aspects of its development, from design to deployment.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
My interest in a technology-focused career first took root during my graduate school years in the 1990s. Back then, the tech sector wasn’t as dominant in the global economy as it is today – but it was beginning to make its mark.
One of the key catalysts that sparked my interest was the IBM mainframe, which represented the pinnacle of technological advancement at the time.
These machines were monumental, not just in their physical size but also in the transformative impact they had on businesses and industries. They were capable of handling massive amounts of data and performing complex computations that were previously unimaginable.
The intellectual challenge presented by these systems was exhilarating. The idea of leveraging technology to solve problems, improve efficiencies and create new possibilities was incredibly exciting. It felt like standing at the forefront of a new era, where technology was starting to reshape the world.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
My management philosophy revolves around empowering the team, and delegating authority and responsibility to those closest to the particular challenge or issue.
To me, effective management is about fostering a supportive environment where every team member feels valued, heard, and empowered to make decisions. This approach not only encourages ownership, but also fosters trust and respect within the team.
Ultimately, my management style is centered around building a collaborative, inclusive and empowering culture where everyone is encouraged to contribute their best work.
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
The big shift today is driven by the ‘untethering’ of data. In the past, data didn’t really move; it was generated, consumed, managed and eventually retired in a single location. That’s changing. Today data is moving wherever freely from edge to core to cloud. It moves to where it is best consumed, managed, analyzed, archived, etc.
IoT devices are generating petabytes of data at the edge. The core (i.e. the data center) serves data up closest to the business. And the cloud is attracting data to be consumed by voracious AI workloads.
But there are problems. First, data is growing much faster than bandwidth, so moving data gets harder every day. Second, the industry never prioritized a standard data storage platform that worked everywhere, so we’re stuck with a frustrating patchwork of different storage platforms that work only in the edge or data center or cloud. It’s a mess!
This is where the truly interesting work is happening today within data storage.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
I work out to unwind and relieve stress. Working out or exercising regularly has numerous benefits for both your physical and mental health. I also enjoy walking with my Border Collie and whitewater kayaking.
If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?
Reflecting on my career journey, I wouldn’t change any of my past decisions. I firmly believe that every experience, every choice, has contributed to shaping who I am today. Each step, whether it resulted in success or taught me a valuable lesson, has led me to my current position – I’m deeply grateful for that.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
In the industry I’m currently involved in, the primary areas that attract significant investment are data management and the alleviation of data silos. These are critical areas that require attention and resources to ensure seamless and efficient operations.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in North America?
There are very few region-specific differences. Any challenges that do come up are not insurmountable, but they require careful planning and strategy. It’s also worth remembering that North America has a dynamic technology ecosystem and a culture of innovation that can help overcome any obstacles.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
We are in a moment of inflection and I expect that the next 12 months will be very hectic, in a good sort of way. I cannot really say more at this point – but stay tuned.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?
For those aiming to secure a C-level position in this industry, my advice would be to prioritize execution. It’s essential to demonstrate your ability to not only strategize, but also effectively implement those strategies and achieve tangible results. This shows that you possess the leadership capabilities and practical skills necessary for high-level roles. As a friend once said to me: “Ideas are free, Execution is IP.”Click below to share this article