Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Data Storage Q&A With Dan Kogan at Pure Storage

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Data storage is needed now more than ever with the amount of data produced within a business

The data storage market is a rapidly growing category in the tech industry. The market is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% from 2022 to 2030, according to Verified Market Research.

Datamation interviewed Dan Kogan, VP, product management and marketing at Pure Storage — who shares his perspective on the development and growth of data storage technologies in the market:

Dan Kogan

Dan Kogan. Courtesy Pure Storage.
Dan Kogan. Courtesy Pure Storage.

At Pure Storage, Kogan aims to help companies grow to reach their best potential. He has led teams and departments at leading analytics and cloud companies, such as Microsoft, Tableau Software, and Veeam Software.

Data Storage Q&A

The Data Storage Market

Datamation: How did you first start working in data storage?

Kogan: I was actually working very close to storage in the backup space in my previous role when an old colleague reached out to me about an opportunity at Pure Storage. It’s been 18 months now since I joined Pure as VP of Product Management and Marketing, and absolutely love it. 

Datamation: What is your favorite thing about working at Pure Storage?

Kogan: The growth mindset and resilient innovation infrastructure. At Pure, we believe we’ll build the future of enterprise storage, and not just question or challenge the status quo – but erase it. With technology constantly changing, it’s critical to push the bounds of innovation to truly move the industry needle in new and unexpected ways. 

Transforming the traditional, legacy enterprise storage model has been in Pure’s DNA since our founding in 2009. We’re still in the early innings of the opportunity that we started the company to pursue. It’s fast-paced, fun and mission driven, and we’re excited for what the future holds.

Datamation: What sets Pure Storage’s data storage approach or solutions apart from the competition?

Kogan: Pure has been an IT pioneer since its inception in 2009, and is committed to maintaining a strong focus on innovation to truly provide valuable outcomes to our global customer base. In the past year alone, we’ve unveiled significant progression of our company vision of modernizing and simplifying how customers work with data by modernizing storage infrastructure, operations and applications through our industry-leading portfolio. 

While we’ve brought a host of impressive new enterprise data storage capabilities to market over the last year – from Pure Fusion to Portworx Data Services, FlashBlade//S, and more, it’s our commitment to transforming an industry riddled with legacy technologies, processes and infrastructure, into one that truly meets customers where they are in today’s modern world that sets us apart. 

Ultimately, technologies like Pure’s play a critical role in finding innovative solutions to keep the global economy moving. Pure’s innovations support the core IT operations for many of the world’s essential businesses, creating a simple and flexible foundation that allows these customers to spend more time focusing on important operations. 

Datamation: What is one key data storage technology that particularly interests you?

Kogan: I’m probably a bit biased, but what we’re doing at Pure with our Fusion project is one of the most interesting things in enterprise storage today. Fusion allows traditional enterprise IT customers to develop a storage as a service environment for their end users to consume through a storage as code model. It brings the best of cloud operating principles together with the benefits of high performance SANs. 

On the same note, the move to self-service, flexible choice, and a cloud operating model is only going faster these days in VMware infrastructure. VMware has truly engaged with this fact. The investment (recently and in-progress) from them on vSphere Virtual Volumes (vVols) is really exciting. vVols have provided the best way to build a cloud-like storage experience with VMware and our customers have truly taken advantage of that fact. Seeing what exists today with vVols is only really the starting point is truly an invigorating thought.

Datamation: What is one data storage technique that teams should implement?

Kogan: Managed self-service storage. It’s critical in today’s day in age as it frees the end users to consume the resources they need in an on-demand capacity, but with a fully IT managed and governed infrastructure.

Datamation: What is one data storage strategy that companies should implement?

Kogan: Automation is no longer novel – it’s practical, and it’s critical to building and maintaining an agile organization. Build it into your processes and infrastructure management wherever and whenever possible to eliminate complexity and unreliability. With automation, teams are freed up to focus on the innovative projects that will ultimately support bottom line business objectives and performance. 

Datamation: What is the biggest data storage mistake you see enterprises making?

Kogan: Failing to recognize the cost savings, on top of the environmental impact, that efficient storage can deliver. Enterprises can reduce energy costs by orders of magnitude, while helping meet their company’s environmental and sustainability goals, by looking at their storage footprint more closely.

It’s no secret that mitigating the environmental impact of data infrastructure is critical as data workloads increase. Today, organizations need to be building sustainable models for the future with data storage engineered to require significantly lower power, lower cooling, and far less waste, as well as having the potential to make a significant and immediate impact on reducing global data center carbon emissions. 

Datamation: What are some current trends in the data storage market that are promising?

Kogan: As organizations enable more digital capabilities, they must increase the number of apps used within their IT environments. However, provisioning the infrastructure resources required to build and manage apps can often be an unpredictable process, causing bottlenecks and performance issues across the entire environment – but especially so in data storage. This is prompting the need for renewed simplicity across data storage. 

Modern infrastructure that emulates a cloud operating model is capable of prioritizing flexibility, agility and speed in addition to enabling reliability and performance. We’re going to continue to see the rise of what we call “Infrastructure-as-code,” which enables organizations to adopt a cloud operating model on top of their infrastructure to deliver a cloud-like experience for IT teams and storage consumers. It’s the future of storage. 

Datamation: What are the biggest factors that are driving change in data storage?

Kogan: The pace of digital transformation has rapidly accelerated over the last few years – and for many organizations, this pace is expected to continue. Organizations want a new experience from their on-prem infrastructure to better support the agility needed to quickly pivot with unexpected changes. To enable this, IT modernization needs to address IT infrastructure while enabling simple and intuitive digital experiences, while ultimately avoiding heavy upfront costs.

Datamation: How has data storage changed during your time in the market?

Kogan: My time in data storage is admittedly a short 18 months, but even then, I’ve been blown away seeing our customers focus on automation and move towards creating agile, cloud-like environments on-premises.

Datamation: Where do you predict the data storage market will be 5 or 10 years from now?

Kogan: Hybrid and connected. Customers are increasingly going to operate in a world that spans enterprise, edge, and hyperscale cloud data centers and need their storage experience to connect, as well as simplify, this for them.

Data Storage Professionals

Datamation: What is one data storage technology your team wants storage professionals to know?

Kogan: While there is and will always be competition for talent in the technology industry, the most critical roles that are difficult to fill are those requiring platform skills and a broader technical knowledge of integrated platforms. There are countless, very accomplished and brilliant individuals in the talent pool right now that have very specific skill sets, however platform skills tend to be the most difficult to find and thus, are seen as extremely valuable across the industry. This is certainly a high growth avenue for talent that wants to stay and grow in data storage.

Datamation: If you could give one piece of advice to a data storage professional in the beginning of their career, what would it be?

Kogan: Be curious and don’t stop trying to find ways to improve outcomes for your business.

Datamation: With the shortage of tech talent, how is your team finding and retaining professionals to work in data storage?

Kogan: At Pure, cultivating a workplace that employees are proud and excited to be a part of is top of mind to attract talent and drive retention. In an environment where talent is in the lead, we are continuously advancing our approaches to people management, redefining the way the hybrid workplace feels and functions. At the end of the day, we are focused on hiring people with the right skills and appetite to learn. We believe that having diverse perspectives and opinions makes us stronger. Great culture stems from talented and diverse individuals, something of immeasurable importance to us. 

Datamation: For the greatest business impact, what should data storage professionals be focusing on most in their roles?

Kogan: The ability to collaborate, think critically, and problem solve is extremely valuable across the industry, particularly in today’s hybrid work environment. Data storage professionals should prioritize teamwork and the support of each and every individual within their team. Doing what’s right for your teams, what’s right for your organization, and what’s right for your partners and customers will ultimately lead to success. 

Work and Life

Datamation: What is one of your top professional accomplishments?

Kogan: One of my top accomplishments has to be turning around a startup I joined as a member of the executive team. I was able to guide the company towards a successful acquisition. While I experienced some of the hardest challenges I’ve ever faced professionally, the personal accomplishment with creating success from such a nascent state was highly rewarding.

Datamation: What is your favorite part of working in the data storage market?

Kogan: Personally, I feel that one of the most rewarding aspects of working in data storage is the ability to help customers solve really complex problems that make a tangible difference for their business and in the lives of the individuals who use our products. Storage is hard and storage teams have really hard issues they’re tasked with solving – I love being part of a company that works to tackle these challenges alongside our customers. 

Datamation: What is one of your favorite parts of the work week? How does it encourage or inspire you?

Kogan: I love reading win reports as they come across my inbox (every single one still does). I set aside time every day to go through these and see the reasons that customers choose Pure – it motivates me to keep building for them. I find the loss reports valuable as well to read, but they’re definitely not quite as enjoyable as the win-wires…fortunately they’re also much less frequent!

Datamation: Do you have a favorite way to recharge during the work day?

Kogan: If the weather is nice, I like to take my dog out for a walk on the beach and take meetings on the go. The change of scenery helps break up the “Zoom fatigue” and gives me that boost of energy to keep going.

Datamation: What are your favorite hobbies or ways to spend time outside of work?

Kogan: I love playing pickleball with my family. We live on Bainbridge Island in Washington, the place where pickleball was actually founded, and we’ve totally fallen for the game.

See more: Data Storage Articles

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