0:00 [MUSIC PLAYING]
0:01 WOMAN: Luminaries talking to the brightest minds in tech.
0:05 MAN: We have always believed that if we built the right technology, we could amplify and enhance and enable human progress. And when I look at what lies ahead, I realize that we’ve really just barely begun.
0:22 WOMAN: Your hosts are Mark Schaefer and Douglas Carr.
0:29 MARK: Hello everyone, and welcome to our latest episode of Luminaries, where we talk to the brightest minds in tech. And boy are we going to deliver on that promise today. I’m Mark Schaefer and I’m here with my stalwart co-host Douglas Carr, better known as Dougie Baby. How are you, Doug?
0:52 DOUG: You know, I’m going to have to start bringing a dictionary so I can look up all these adjectives you use for me.
0:58 MARK: Oh, yeah, stalwart. That’s a tough one.
1:00 [DOUG LAUGHING]
1:02 MARK: Well, look, we have got a treat in store for you today. We’re talking with Ravi Pendekanti and Scott Aylor, and these gentlemen have such an incredible background. Just impressive, impressive men, and I thought instead of me doing their introduction, I’m just going to let them tell you a little bit about themselves and what they do. So Ravi, why don’t you take it away?
1:29 RAVI: Hey, that’s fantastic, guys. First and foremost, I think we’re going to have a ball of a time with folks like Mark and Doug here to keep us entertained as well, so thank you.
1:39 DOUG: We’ll try.
1:40 RAVI: I’m sure you guys don’t have to really try hard. So first of all, it’s great to be here with you folks along with my wonderful colleague, Scott. So as a way of quick introduction, my name is Ravi Pendekanti, I’m the senior vice president for all our servers, product management, and product marketing here at Dell EMC.
1:57 As a quick snapshot of what I’ve done in the past, essentially I’ve been in the geek world for a number of decades now, looking at some of the cutting edge technologies right from, I would say, looking at the mainframe industry, believe it or not, all the way to the new workloads such as machine learning and deep learning, as we speak today. So it’s been one heck of a ride, and we’re going to talk more about some of the things we’re going to do. So thank you.
2:30 SCOTT: You know, Ravi, when you talk mainframe you’re dating yourself, you know.
2:33 RAVI: Indeed.
2:34 [SCOTT LAUGHING]
2:34 SCOTT: Sorry. Anyway, well again, my name’s Scott Ayler, good to be with you as well. I’m corporate vice president and general manager of the enterprise business at AMD. So I have responsibility for all the semiconductor products we build go that go into both data center as well as inventive applications. And my background actually spans kind of a variety of technologies.
2:55 Most recently I think I’ve been working on AMDs re-entry into the server market, but before that I had responsibility in networking, which I think is very relevant to the topic that we have here as well, as well as spending about thirteen years in the automotive space. So I’m very excited to be here talking about what we’re going to be doing in the Edge and how the cloud evolves over time, so I’m excited to be here.
3:16 MARK: Well I think that’s a good place to start, Scott. You know, when I was preparing for this episode I was reading research stating that the Edge will eat the cloud. Now I am just starting to figure out the cloud.
3:34 What’s the edge thing all about?
3:37 RAVI: Now this is the beauty of the space we live in. If there is a constant, there is change. And the beauty of that is things keep evolving. The workloads of today change to something really dramatically different in the future. And it was not by accident I chose to talk about the mainframes. And the simple reason is if you go back in time, we talk about mainframes being the epicenter, where you had dumb terminals attached to it, and you could talk about it as a centralized environment. Fast forward from there, you have a client server environment, which essentially means you have a distributed environment.
4:13 Now fast forward from there, you came to a cloud world. For me, it’s as simple as consolidation again, and you’re in a centralized environment. Now you move a step out from there, you come back into the world of IoT, Edge computing and what that really means is you’re back into the distributed environment. So this is how the pendulum swings, and this is where we talk about the number of devices out there. You know, if you talk to your favorite analyst, they might tell you that they are about 30 billion devices to 50 billion devices out there.
4:45 And the beauty of this is each of those is creating data, and some of the facts today point to the fact that, approximately, no more than 2% of the data that we collect today is being really well-understood. But 98%– yes indeed, only 2% is well understood. 98% is wasted. Now when you think of what we want to do as a more connected society, is to ensure that we actually pick up the data and start analyzing it, start ensuring that we know the interdependencies, so on and so forth. And that is when I think you get into this world of Edge computing. You know, call it IoT, which in a way is going to go on and provide a whole new impetus to this thing called cloud.
5:34 So yes, Mark and Doug, be ready to go ahead and recalibrate your vocabulary, because all of us will need to do that.
5:42 DOUG: I think that, I think the other thing that I’ve heard, how I’ve heard it described is a little bit this idea of the cloud becoming a fog. Where there’s a continuum of the virtues that were, as Ravi mentioned, in the mainframe in the client cloud era, that now start to make their way closer and closer to the user. Because of that data, all of that data that’s being kind of compiled and generated, as Ravi said, isn’t being analyzed. How do we think about taking moving compute, moving storage, moving things closer to where the data is being generated, so that we can do things with it more real time.
6:14 So I think the edge is really kind of, again, where the cloud starts to move next. It starts to move out closer to the user, closer to the producer of data, in a way that will make it much more useful for all of us.
6:27 MARK: That’s also– I think I’m going to brand my own server system now. I’m going to call it the fog, but you’ve got to add a couple letters in that. You know, fog, G-G-G-G-G, because that’s what they do. That’s what they do in tech today.
6:41 SCOTT: I got it.
6:42 MARK: You got it?
6:44 DOUG: Scott made a little joke about being old, so I’m an old guy, here. And I remember way back in the day, this is back in the early days of the internet, getting my computer online and actually hooking up with, I think it was NASA at the time, maybe it was someone else, where they ran a screen sharing program that utilized my computing power because there just wasn’t enough power. You know, we didn’t have the cloud back then, we didn’t have what we have nowadays. And I thought that was just magical, you know, the fact that my little computer could be computing algorithms and helping someone up there somewhere.
7:22 And now with the edge, it looks like we’re on this combination where we have distinct algorithms and everything that has to be controlled locally, but we also have the cloud where things have to go back and forth to. I’m curious with Edge, is it literally this distributed environment where it’s just client server, or are we ever going to see peer to peer on this as well?
7:50 SCOTT: Yeah I think, from my perspective, I think it’s not an either or, it’s both. I think when you look at some of the things that the Edge and kind of extending the cloud closer to the usual will bring. The possibilities are really pretty endless. And one of my favorite examples here is kind of this idea of autonomous driving, where you will have the need to have kind of a larger client server relationship, such as you understand traffic patterns, and how things are happening globally, and where to guide people, and rules and regulations. At the same point in time, you will have vehicles that are going to be able to want to talk to each other. Because, quite simply, you can’t get up into and out of the cloud fast enough to be able to react to those real time things.
8:32 So I think the future of Edge computing will actually involve some of both. It will involve real time peer to peer things, where latency is extremely important, but it will also involve taking that right and relevant data to the cloud, processing it, and then kind of pushing it back closer to the user such that it can be done in a more useful and real way.
8:54 RAVI: Absolutely, and I can’t resist but say this. Your autonomous vehicles will kind be looked upon them as data centers on wheels.
9:05 MARK: I can see that.
9:06 RAVI: It is amazing. We now have a lot of important transactions and decision making that needs to happen within that autonomous vehicle, because you might be on a collision path that you want to immediately act on, and you can’t wait to go out and send the data back to the cloud and come– you know? And there is inherent latency built into it, so I absolutely agree with Scott’s statement that you’re going to have a mixture of both happening there, and that’s essentially where you got to live in both worlds.
9:38 SCOTT: And I think the interesting opportunity that we have is, how we think about a lot of those technologies, that historically we thought was purely data center technologies, making it out closer to the user in the end, to your point, the data center on wheels.
9:51 I think the challenge for us as technology providers is, how do we think about delivering those kind of building blocks in a way that scale to the massive needs of the hyper-scale data centers that are today, the on prem data centers that are today. But then also making it safe, secure, providing power consumption that it can be pushed closer to the edge are all challenges that I think both companies like Dell and AMD will face.
10:12 MARK: What I’m hearing is some of the numbers that Ravi was talking about, the billions of sensors and the incredible amount of data that’s being generated, is really– I mean this is just the tip of the iceberg. And you know I saw a mind blowing number couple of months ago that said that Fitbit was generating like a trillion data points over a couple of months. Just mind blowing numbers.
10:41 And I want to build on your comment, Ravi, about all these sensors out there. Because we’re generating new data, from that hopefully we’ll generate new insights, but we’re also leaving ourselves open. Each one of these sensors is now an access point for hackers, and evil organizations out there trying to hack into us. How are your organizations keeping up with the security demands of IoT and this exploding trend?
11:16 RAVI: A very pertinent point. Why, I think, as we look at our powered servers, we have said there are three main tenants that we build our servers on. One is a scalable business architecture, which essentially says we have to ensure that we scale on any vector. Not just a CPU, we got to scale on memory, on your drive capacities that you need, on your I/O. And the second thing is intelligent automations.
11:42 It’s not good enough to have automation, but you want to have some level of intelligence so you can differentiate between what is a known element that we can take preemptive– preventive action on. Again, something that we probably don’t know where. We probably might need some manual intervention. But more importantly, directly to your point, we have integrated security built into every single server, which goes directly into why, as you rightly point out, you could have threats coming in to any organization, not just external sources. But the thing is, it is said that about 30% of the hacks that happen, also happen because of the internal issues.
12:27 MARK: Wow
12:28 RAVI: Yeah I mean and that’s precisely why we have integrated security, to be able to come up with new features wherein, now I’ll give you an example, of wherein we are providing the concept of server lockdown. Now what this means is, accept unless the authorized user is– except for authorized user, no one else can make any changes to the configuration of the server.
12:53 There is this epidemic in the industry today called configuration drifts. So we have the ability to go out and do server lockdowns within our portfolio, which ensures that you’re able to not provide access to anyone, but only those select few who can make those changes. And this is where our partner, in this case AMD, is also working on bringing some new technologies that is making security an integral element, because it really cannot be an afterthought. It has to be taught at the conception phase, all the way to design and implementation.
13:30 So it’s kind of important. Now let’s talk about the security elements that he’s bringing to the table, along with his team.
13:37 SCOTT: Yeah, and we think of ourselves as kind of a fundamental technology partner, to enable innovations that Ravi’s PowerEdge products bring to market. So we actually are building in kind of hardware based security into our products, that start to close off not only those physical security threats, we talked about the idea that just because you physically own the server doesn’t necessarily mean that it is secure, because you have bad actors.
14:02 So we have a couple of technologies that we’ve put in called secure encrypted virtualization and secure memory encryption that mean that, even if you physically have access to the server, even if you’re able to get into the server itself, we can make the memory in the virtual machines that live in it secure. And the reason we focus on doing this, is we also want to make security something that’s easy to use, right. Because the other thing is, if security measures kind of are so cumbersome that they inhibit the adoption, people just simply won’t use them.
14:31 So thinking about how do we build technologies that are not only powerful in their ability to protect, but also easy to use such that they aren’t an encumbrance that it is an inhibitor to use.
14:44 MARK: Absolutely fascinating.
14:45 DOUG: I’m overwhelmed with this information.
14:49 MARK: Yeah, it’s like a sci-fi movie. OK, we’re on– we’re on lockdown.
14:57 DOUG: Today we’re training developers on cloud technologies that are disappearing, right, or going to disappear. For companies that are creating these applications, and they are going to have to conform to these security challenges and everything else, what do they need to do to take advantage? You know, it just seems like this is another wave of change that needs to just be pushed through these companies today, not tomorrow.
15:26 SCOTT: Yeah, when I think about preparing for this digital transformation, and how people think about kind of preparing for security from the start, I think really it’s a very thoughtful process about thinking about, hey, what are the different agents and points of a potential breach, that people really need to prepare for. Because at AMD and I know at Dell, we provide different building blocks in the solution, but really it requires the software developers that write software on top of that, the people that actually do all the kind of physical implementation and control, they’re part of that solution as well.
16:00 So I think going back to what I said before, how do we think about, as technology providers, making the technology easy to adopt? So if you’re writing software, you don’t have to learn a new language, you don’t have to go recompile in a way that is going to force you to kind of put an extra burden in. So us, as technology providers, both AMD and Dell, how do we think about building those technologies?
16:23 So those things that I talked about before, the secure encrypted virtualization, secure memory encryption, those are things that can actually be applied to legacy applications that have been around for 10 or 15 years. If you think about some of the challenges of yes, I’d love to be able to protect my data, but man, I’ve got this application that’s like 30 years old that I never want to touch again. I don’t want to go have to do extra work to make that secure.
16:45 So we’re thinking about ways in terms of making it not only kind of transparent, performant, and easy to use, but also making it something that, again, it’s not this big barrier to overcome, so that people don’t have to make a choice of do I want to secure but it’s really, really hard to do? Instead, I want to make it secure because it’s easy to deploy.
17:03 RAVI: And one other thing I’ll add there, I think Scott has made some excellent points, is we always do tell our customers and our partners to look at a solution from the perspective of three Ps. The three Ps being product, processes, and people. You can have the best product, but if you don’t have the right people trained, it doesn’t help. Likewise, if you have the right people trained and have the right products, and if you don’t have the right processes you’re prone to fail.
17:36 And that’s where we think it is important to focus on the three Ps to ensure that we have a successful deployment, which covers the whole gamut. Giving it the right price performance, making sure that you have the right security– again, security is in built. It should not be an afterthought. So that’s, again, where I think the three Ps formula will help our customers by and large, if they focus on those areas.
18:00 MARK: That’s such a keen point. I was involved in technology deployment for a big part of my career, and I found that technology was really the easy part. You can make the technology do whatever you want.
18:16 RAVI: Absolutely right.
18:17 MARK: The people are a little more challenging sometimes.
18:19 RAVI: Yes. Yeah, because you now have people who might not be really willing to change. There is a level of job security that comes in most of the times. They might not be trained, and they’re not willing to be trained, they don’t have the time. I mean there’s so many factors that come into this, which is why we think it’s probably not an overstatement to say, focus on all those three and then you’ll be good to go.
18:47 MARK: You know I’d like to do something a little different. I’d like to pivot the conversation a little bit from digital transformation to personal transformation. I think we’ve been so fortunate that we’ve got so many amazing people listening to this podcast now from all different levels of organizations and all different levels of their careers. We have entrepreneurs, we have people working at startups, we have senior level people, we have young people just starting their careers that are listening in to learn from amazing executives like the both of you.
19:28 So as I started our discussion, started our program today, I just was in awe of these amazing careers that you’ve been able to put together. What advice would you have to our listeners about staying relevant in their own careers in the midst of all this change? I think it will just be an amazing opportunity to hear from you, if you could share some wisdom with the people that are listening to us today.
19:58 SCOTT: Yeah, Mark, it’s a great question. I think it’s a very interesting pivot. And when I think about even just the continuum of the conversation we’ve had here, you know what comes to mind is really this concept of how are you kind of– people talk about kind of being a lifelong learner. How do you really think about what you learn, and not only learning but to taking that learning and really kind of paying it forward.
20:21 When I think about the example that we talked about even, to kind of open it up, we were talking about autonomous vehicles. I remember my first job out of college, I was a junior product engineer working on automotive microcontrollers running engine vehicles. And when I look at how what I learned there then helped me then think about, OK, how do I take those systems and build them into networking? And then now, kind of here even now we’re now taking that experience and putting it into the cloud.
20:49 The ability to take those experiences that you have, and you could– people probably say, oh, I’m just a junior person, what I’ve done doesn’t really matter, I think that’s a little bit of bunk. I think thinking about what you’ve learned, how do you think about taking and applying those challenges, be it specific technically, or specific personal challenges, and really kind of driving those to bring value to the new opportunities that you encounter. Because at the end of the day, as you progress, there’s a lot of things that boil down to good problem solving capability. The ability to take what you’ve learned and apply it moving forward, the ability to create focus in this myriad of opportunity.
21:29 I really think this idea, of how do we think about is as individuals learning, applying that learning in a way that will bring value in the situation. And the further you go along, you’re going to figure out, the less you know. The more you know, you figure out the less you know. And so I think our ability to take that learning and apply it to future things is something that I’ve tried to drive, because I know I only know a very small fraction of what’s out there.
21:52 But what I do know, I try and figure out how to apply to future states and bring value. That then opens up a whole new world of opportunity.
22:00 RAVI: That’s awesome Scott. You know, frankly, I love this question, too, for the fact that it actually puts the whole human element into perspective here. Technology is one element of it. There’s this whole human element to it. And this is where I probably will draw upon the mentor in my life. I mean I’ve had a lot of mentors, but one mentor who has been with me all through time has been my dad. And I think it goes to 3 things he’s always told me.
22:29 He says number one, be a student for life. And in all fairness, I tell you there’s not a single day that I don’t go out saying, holy cow, I never really knew what that was and now I know. And as soon as I think I’m a little smarter, I get up the next morning and say OK, we’re going to start back again. So I think it’s important for all of us to realize that we are students for life, and I know I’m one. I continue to learn. Even sitting here with Scott, the whole process of osmosis is taking over I’m learning quite a bit.
22:58 And I think the second thing is talk about the fact that we don’t live in a world that is constant. This is where I do believe in this concept of, if there’s anyone in this technology space who thinks that we know everything, that’s absolutely not going to be true. Things are going to change. Again this goes back to the second thing, which is change is the only constant. We talked about earlier on wherein we’ve gone from a centralized, to distributed, to centralized, back into a distributed environment, back to your question, Mark, earlier on, which is you talk about Edge computing, that’s really distributed. So it’s a constant change, and we’ve got to keep at it.
23:41 And finally, I think the thing I would say is, your attitude is your altitude. The thing is, you get up in the morning, you want to go back and learn something, let’s do it. And that is what gives us the altitude, is all that attitude to learn, roll up your sleeves, and be sure that you will have to go out and get your hands dirty. And any day that we start thinking that we got everything under our belts is the day I think we stop learning, we stop growing, and be go in to that what I call the lethargic phase of not innovating, and sitting back, and looking at the world take over us.
24:19 I think that’s probably the best I can put it, again, from the wisdom of my wise father.
24:26 MARK: Well, I thank you so much for this very profound insight that both of you have given us. I’m wondering if each of you could maybe just give us one final word. We talked about how to stay relevant in your career. What about as a leader? Both of you have had long careers. How has leadership changed with this vast change in technology, where we have people now collaborating thousands of miles apart, we have more and more people working remotely– maybe you could end our program today with just a few insights on how these changes have changed you as a leader? What should we be thinking about in those terms?
25:17 SCOTT: Yeah, I think from my perspective, you talked about kind of the global world that we live in. And in thinking about how to relate to people and how to lead, I think one big challenge is– or an opportunity is, really how do you find common ground with all of these diverse countries, economies, peoples, technologies. And so I think the idea as leaders is how do we establish those elements of commonality as opposed to points where we’re different?
25:47 How do we think about those things that bring us together where we have common ground, and build on those points where there are commonality, where there is alignment, to build relationships that will then allow you to take and drive that relationship into a real tangible business result. Because it’s quite difficult. We’re very different companies, different countries, different technologies, different levels of the spectrum. I think our ability to try and search to find common grounds, you know between our companies, between our people, between our employees, where we find things that we’re more alike than different, will then give us the capability to build relationships that then scale.
26:24 Because you know a lot of us that probably have had great leadership relationships are those where you establish that connection. And I think finding that common ground provides a great basis to find those points of alignment that will really allow us to lead effectively moving forward.
26:42 RAVI: Great points again there from Scott. So the things I would add are, I think in an age of social media where people are working remote, you know communicating using digital means, I can’t but emphasize the fact that it’s still important to have those interpersonal skills to work through challenges. There’s only so much you could do using email or messaging and stuff. So I think going back to the basics of making sure that we look at people and work with people at a level that allows you to have a dialogue. Look, making sure that you have a common ground and a common goal, I think makes a big difference.
27:26 Likewise, I think the second thing I would probably also emphasize is, you know we hear about the changing generations. We hear about how– you talk about the millennials being very different than the prior generations for that matter. So it’s important to recognize the fact that it’s not good enough for us to believe that we have learned everything there is to it. It’s important to understand that we have a whole new generation that expects different things, and it needs certain things that we probably have not been used to, let’s say, 20, 15 years ago. So the point being that you still have to go back and relate to people at their level of comfort.
28:09 And finally, of course it’s important to constantly network. Network not in the technology space, but continuously networking to understand, learn more. And as I say the best relationships are built not when you need one, but when you don’t need one. The bottom line is, you cannot forget that in this changing environment, there are things that still go back to the basic people, emotions, needs and stuff, and that is where I go back to continue to network in industry, continue to learn, and those are the things that will give you an edge over others who don’t do any of those.
28:46 Again, it basically comes back to those three points for me.
28:51 MARK: You can’t see me cause we’re on a podcast, but I’ve got a big smile on my face. I just love this conversation, I just love this advice from both of you. It’s been a big theme of my writing and a lot of my talks, and it’s very common for me to end one of my college classes that I teach, or one of my talks, encouraging the people in the audience to be more human.
29:16 I mean, I think in the end that’s going to be the killer app, and I love that that was really a theme that we’re hearing from both of you today, and I’ve learned so much today. I’d love to keep going, but unfortunately we’re paying Dougie Baby by the hour and–
29:32 –we’re over our budget right now.
29:36 RAVI: Mark and Doug, you guys have been awesome. Thank you on behalf of both Scott and me, thanks a ton.
29:43 MARK: Just thank you so much for spending your time with us today. And to our listeners, we are also so appreciative of you. Look, we’ve only been doing this for a short time, and already Luminaries has zoomed up the charts and is now among the top 1% of business podcasts on the web, and that is because of you. So thank you so much.
30:07 DOUG: Absolutely.
30:07 MARK: Thank you for your notes, thank you for your encouragement. This is Mark Schaefer, and on behalf of Doug and all the people behind the scenes here at Luminaries, so long until next time.
30:20 WOMAN: Luminaries. Talking to the brightest minds in tech. A podcast series from Dell technologies.