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Driving Cloud Innovation

We’re big on teamwork and collaboration at Pure. Get a feel for how our engineering and solutions teams partner to build revolutionary solutions.


The level of collaboration experienced on the project was unique to Pure: “The engineers wanted to sit down with us to fix the product and learn from us.”


Introduction

When Aswin Karumbunathan first started working on the cloud data services project in early 2018, it was just an experiment. Today it’s much more. The Cloud Data Services team helps organisations turn data into value virtually anywhere by unifying applications on-premises and in the cloud.

“I was the first person to start working on it,” Aswin, a software engineer, explains. “The first few months were really just me learning. I’d never developed in the cloud before.”

Aswin appreciates that he was given the freedom to climb that learning curve—and to explore how Pure’s product might work in the cloud.

Software engineer Michael Yoo joined the effort a few months later to focus on one of the project’s biggest challenges: performance.

“That was the doubt everyone had early on,” Michael says. “Our software ran on our own, custom-built hardware, but the cloud came with a whole different set of limitations.”

Less than a year into his tenure at Pure, Michael says joining the still-nascent Cloud team was an early opportunity to take ownership. And to connect with teammates who could help solve performance problems.

“At first, it was a struggle just to get our code working on Amazon. Most people aren’t running their own operating system in the cloud,” Michael explains. “We re-architected a lot of the design and eventually started to see ways to escape the bottlenecks. That’s when I realized this might be pretty huge.”

Collaboration

The team’s early results don’t compare to the cloud products Pure sells today. But they were enough to get more people involved. Aswin started coordinating with members of other teams—particularly with solutions architects, who work directly with customers. Technical Directors Rob “Barkz” Barker and Cody Hosterman saw the value of the Cloud team’s efforts right away.

“When I first started working with our cloud solution, I thought, ‘Wow! The potential here is huge,’” says Barkz.

“It was exciting because it combined the flexibility of the cloud with what we’ve always offered at Pure, which is the ability to store data affordably and simply,” Cody says. “Our customers could have data on premises, in the cloud, or both, with the same level of reliability and the same interface. That’s when we realized we could do this better than anyone else.”

The Solutions team was not only an enthusiastic supporter but the Cloud team’s first “customers.” Somu Rajarathinam, another technical director, remembers an exciting early test drive.

“Whenever we bumped into an issue, Michael would fix it right then and there,” he recalls. “It was energizing to see that. And there were many use cases for our customers. Light bulbs started going off.”

For Barkz, the level of collaboration he experienced on the project was unique to Pure: “The engineers wanted to sit down with us to fix the product and learn from us.”

“Many times, they would reach out and ask, ‘How would this work with VMWare? What about Microsoft?’” Cody recalls. “We’ve always been good at collaborating at Pure, but this was on a different level.”

For the Cloud team, the insights were invaluable. “When someone in Solutions ran into an issue, they always let us know quickly. One of us would run over to take a look,” Aswin says. “That feedback loop was really nice.”

Launch

As the Cloud team worked toward deployment, their Solutions teammates built demos to help customers prepare for migration to the cloud. “They already knew how our product works on the hardware side, so once we got them going, they just ran with it,” Aswin says.

Meanwhile, the teams continued working closely to align the cloud product as much as possible with the plug-and-play nature of Pure hardware, while still navigating challenging issues like permissions.

“They made it so smooth and so similar to what we’re used to,” Somu says. “The fundamental simplicity and consistency say a lot about how the Engineering team works.”

Looking Forward

Although the cloud product is now live, no one involved in the launch is ready to rest. “We’re looking into other applications and working on improvements and innovations,” Somu says. “The product team is constantly working on what else we can do, where else we can take this.”

Aswin also sees countless possibilities. “I’m excited to find out where it goes from here,” he says. “Will we explore new use cases in the cloud? What could we build on top to offer even more compelling and complete solutions?”

Pure’s cloud product has already been transformative, even at this early stage. “It’s really changed the conversations I can have with customers and prospects to be a lot more strategic, and a lot more globally architected,” Cody explains. “We’ve been talking about data mobility for 10 years, but the fundamental pieces we needed didn’t exist. Now that we have them, we can start putting it all together. That’s going to be really fun.”

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