Working in a Multi-Cloud World
As the CIO of Rubrik, Avon Puri is leading a team that is creating the infrastructure that makes it possible to work across multiple clouds easily and efficiently, all while keeping your data secure.
Prior to joining the young team at Rubrik, Avon cut his teeth at VMware for more than eight years, rising to the role of Vice President of IT and Business IT. He moved to Rubrik in 2018 and has been diving head first into creating and using the technology that makes it possible to work across multiple clouds. In this episode, he and Ian discuss the many roles Avon has had in the past, how data delivery and software have transformed over the years, the future of the cloud and the excitement surrounding AI.
Topics Discussed: AI, cloud computing, cloud management systems,
Introducing Avon — (1:20)
- Avon came to the U.S. in 1995 and his first job was in IBM’s data center.
- Worked at an insurance company doing the first form of digital transformation — from hard documents to digital documents.
Working at VMware — (3:45)
- Avon was responsible for a big team and making sure the applications to run the business were running.
- “As a company, we were transforming the way we deliver software.”
Taking on the CIO role at Rubrik — (4:20)
- His initial response to the role was that he didn’t think he wanted to go from a big important role at a large company to a newer business in its formative years. Meeting the leadership and founders of Rubrik changed his mind.
- “At VMware, I saw the issues you run into when you operate at scale. At Rubrik, I have the opportunity to do things right early, while we’re smaller, and I’m already seeing that I’ve been able to apply some lessons I learned at VMware.”
- Getting the foundation right was one of Avon’s biggest goals when coming into Rubrik.
How do you build a system to support a billion-dollar company? — (8:25)
- You need to make sure to keep the systems simple, set the business process correctly and make sure the enablement process is done properly. You must also keep an eye on how you are going to scale.
- At Rubrik, there is a data strategy in which they bring all the data into one place in order to give a 360-view of the data and intelligence.
- “How do you bring standardization of infrastructure across the country?”
The process of understanding a new company — (13:15)
- Originally, Avon wanted to just come in and listen. But very quickly there were projects and areas that needed his attention.
- He also had to hire a team, which he prioritized.
- He estimates he had about 30 days of a honeymoon period.
The scope of the work Avon’s team is responsible for — (15:10)
- Avon’s team is responsible for the infrastructure on which product development happens.
- Avon works closely with customers, sales, and departments.
Advancements in cloud data managements — (16:15)
- “If you want to understand why cloud data management is very popular, you have to take a step back and look at what’s going on in the infrastructure world. …Every company is living in a hybrid world.”
- “The world is becoming a multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud world, and what Rubrik has offered is a product that works across multiple clouds.”
- Applications span multiple clouds and so creating products that can work across those clouds efficiently is an exciting idea for Avon.
Rubrik on Rubrik — (18:05)
- IT organizations end up being “customer zero,” or the guinea pigs for most of their products. What Rubrik does is use its own software to protect all their data and then they share the lessons and best practices with customers.
Practical insights for IT leaders and CIOs — (19:25)
- There is a lot of work being done in terms of enabling the cloud.
- Rubrik offers development environments that allow developers to work fast and not worry about making mistakes because they use the Rubrik software to back everything up. This allows the company to go back and restore anything that goes wrong.
What does innovation look like at Rubrik? — (22:00)
- “Coming up with a product that revolutionizes the way you manage your data means that innovation is in our blood.”
- Any time there is an interesting use case, Rubrik’s engineers very quickly go in and find a way to solve the problem.
Application development — (24:15)
- There has been so much development and change over the last few years.
- At VMware, Avon created an app that, within just a few years, was obsolete.
- Legacy applications are what you had 20-30 years ago, client/server applications. Now, cloud-native applications are the norm. The trick is taking those classic applications and turning them into cloud-native applications.
- At Rubrik, Avon is determined to keep everything simple.
- “Keep everything out of the box and keep everything in the cloud.”
- If you look at all the data you have gathered, you have the opportunity to build a number of applications that utilize all the data to do things like run ransomware.
- “There’s a lot of focus on building applications that can solve problems on the customer side.”
The future of AI and machine learning — (30:40)
- If you don’t have a focus on AI and deep learning, you’re not developing software for tomorrow and you’re going to get left behind.
- Rubrik is looking from the customer and IT side at how to get better by using AI. There are ways to utilize AI by installing software and analyzing machine logs.
What tech is right around the corner? — (32:38)
- “AI is going to be the next big thing. It’s going to define a generation. I think we’re just testing what it can do right now, but there is a lot more to come.”
- Avon is not worried about AI replacing jobs. Instead, he sees advantages in using intelligence to make jobs easier.
The Lightning Round — (34:15)
- Avon still loves Angry Birds
- Auto-predictor on Google is Avon’s favorite timesaving tool.
- Carmel Beach is worth a visit if you’re in the Bay Area.
- Advice: “Keep your environment simple.”