SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview Kash Shaikh, CEO and President at Virtana

Kash Shaikh, CEO and President at Virtana shares an overview on the impact of AI in ITOps and how cloud adoption trends will become more centralized in the future:

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Hi Kash, we’d love to hear about your journey through the years…tell us more about your role as CEO at Virtana?

I began my current role as CEO and President during the pandemic, coming from an Executive Leadership position at Dell; the situation required me to immediately connect and communicate with the entire Virtana team (virtually) to establish confidence and trust. Given my passion for servant-based leadership, as shaped by my mentors, I felt it crucial to connect and see how I could help right away.

The job of a CEO is to create a compelling vision and strategy, then rally the company to execute. A CEO also needs to remove friction for employees so that they can deliver their best work and grow professionally and personally. Doing that remotely was an additional layer of complexity, but I am very proud of what we accomplished through this time.

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How has Virtana evolved over the years; could you share about some of the business successes and key highlights of 2021 so far?

I have been with the company for the last three quarters. And for these three quarters in row, we achieved over-attainment of plan for Bookings, Revenue, EBITDA, Free Cash Flow, Spend. We are also profitable with positive EBITDA. Virtana was recently named One of the 100 Coolest Cloud Companies in the world by CRN among many other accolades, including being one of the 10 Cloud companies reducing public cloud cost by Business Insider;

All of this is achieved due to a dedicated and motivated workforce and some of the customer-first processes we’ve put in place.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the growing impact of AI in IT Operations today; can you talk about some of the leading ways in which you’ve seen global tech innovators change the game with new capabilities for ITOps?

AIOps (artificial intelligence operations) must be ideal in IT environments that are arguably too complicated for humans to handle. The promise of AIOps is to help enterprises detect IT problems faster by analyzing massive amounts of operational information faster than individuals can and acting in response to the information to automatically resolve the problems.

The sheer volume of applications in the cloud make it necessary for automation and AI to continuously monitor and manage infrastructure effectively.

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In what ways do you feel companies can reduce/optimize their cloud operations costs as demands for cloud services keep rising? 

Digital transformation is here, any company that is not leveraging the cloud operating model will have a disadvantage of missing out on agility and flexibility. Cloud-based operations enable global collaboration, uncover new insights from data for a competitive edge, and future proof organizations.

The demand for cloud is accelerating but costs and risks do not have to with the right tools — a ‘Know Before You Go’ approach makes migration safe, affordable, and predictable. The IT organizations are also struggling with sprawl and have cobbled together duct-taped tools to try to manage hybrid cloud environments.

Selecting the right AI-based unified platform for full observability to optimize workloads is the next logical step. Public cloud costs can soar with cloud bursting but they are avoidable. This is precisely why IT professionals need to embrace a FinOps mentality when it comes to managing the cloud so that cloud advantages are always aligned with the impact to the bottom line.

A few ways in which you feel AI will impact AI and ITOps in future?

My prediction is that multi-cloud environments will accelerate and that IT professionals will continue to struggle with managing public cloud costs, cloud waste and complexities.

The future of cloud is all about hybrid environments with comprehensive and cloud-agnostic  AIOps platforms to effectively and easily manage ITOps. ITOps and DevOps will converge and IT organizations will increasingly have a FinOps mindset/strategy front and center. I further predict that more stakeholders in organizations will become involved in cloud decisions because it is mission critical to effectively run a business and stay competitive.

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Virtana delivers the industry’s first unified observability platform for migrating, optimizing, and managing application workloads across public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments. Using artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) technologies, including machine learning and advanced data analytics, the cloud-agnostic Virtana Platform solves the most difficult challenges facing enterprises as they seek to leverage public clouds.

The SaaS platform enables a “know before you go” approach by providing intelligent observability into which workloads to migrate. It also ensures that unexpected costs and performance degradation are avoided once workloads are operating in the cloud. With the Virtana Platform, enterprises can confidently de-risk cloud adoption and reduce cloud operating costs by simplifying management of their IT environments.

Kash Shaikh is President, Chief Executive Officer, and member of the Board of Directors at Virtana. He has more than 25 years of experience in the data center and the cloud industry. Kash has a track record of improving results in small and large fortune 100 public companies by making necessary strategic calls to drive profitable organic and inorganic growth.

Prior to Virtana, Shaikh was Global Vice President and General Manager of Solutions business at Dell Technologies, which included technology partner alliances. Under his leadership, this Solutions business grew by 28% to $1.77B. Before Dell, Shaikh held executive and leadership roles at public companies, including Ruckus Wireless, Riverbed Technologies, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, and Nortel Networks. Kash also serves as a Board Member of Ignited, a non-profit that provides learning opportunities around STEM for teachers.

Kash holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from NED University, a master’s in Electrical Engineering from Wichita State University, and an MBA from Boise State University.

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