CRN – A former Dell Technologies executive took the helm of rapidly growing cloud monitoring vendor Virtana Monday, and he’s ready to scale the business by leaning more heavily on the channel.
Kash Shaikh, who became CEO of the San Jose, Calif.-based company after four years leading Dell’s global enterprise solutions business, sees a major opportunity for partners to leverage Virtana’s AIOps technology to deliver successful, secure and cost-effective multi-cloud transformations.
“Simplicity is hard,” Shaikh, also formerly CMO at Ruckus Wireless, told CRN. “And Virtana has done the hard work of simplifying the complexity of the hybrid cloud environment.”
Shaikh was previously familiar with Virtana as a Dell partner focused on advanced monitoring, cost optimization and threat detection. But now that he’s joined the company, the new CEO plans to spend the next few months learning more by meeting with employees, customers and channel partners.
While Virtana, formerly known as Virtual Instruments, has a strong channel presence, “there’s an opportunity to make the company channel-first,” he told CRN, adding, “If you look at the successful companies, most of them were channel-first.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Virtana has seen an acceleration in enterprises adopting multi-cloud and hybrid infrastructure. While those environments deliver the agility and scalability many enterprises need to weather the crisis, they also create complexity that can bog down operations, Shaikh said.
The key to simplifying management of those heterogenous environments is collecting lots of data—and then applying machine learning and advanced analytics to give the customer deep visibility.
“Data is becoming currency because you need visibility in the hybrid, multi-cloud environment, need to figure out how you move across various environments and manage these,” Shaikh said.
The company’s tools enable migrations by right-sizing workloads before they move to public cloud, or sometimes before they are repatriated to private infrastructure, he said.
Virtana expects the multi-cloud trend to continue, Shaikh said, but in favor of technologies that “require less human touch.”
Before Dell, Shaikh ran marketing at Ruckus Wireless, a company Brocade acquired in 2016 for $1.2 billion. He’s also held senior positions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Riverbed and Cisco Systems.
“If you look at my background, I tell people I have a degree in scaling the business. And scaling the business requires having a go-to-market model where channel is the key for the business,” he told CRN.
The pandemic makes it a strange time to take over leadership of a company, but Shaikh said he’s confident that by now everybody’s learned to do their jobs while remaining socially distanced.
At Dell, “we figured out a way to be effective, so that has helped me prepare for this new world,” he said. “All of us have figured out a way to do things differently.”
And instead of the many hours previously spent at airports and on flights, “I have that time for teams and customers and partners,” he added.
Shaikh replaces Ron Sege, who will remain in his position as executive chairman of the company’s board.
Sege took the role of acting CEO in April after the exit of Philippe Vincent, who guided the company through some acquisitions and an extension of its product line into hybrid cloud management.