I caught up with with with Ken Grohe, President & Chief Revenue Officer at WekaIO, to talk about Weka the company, their WekaFS "file system", the Weka journey to date, news trends, challenges & opportunities for Weka and their ecosystem of partners, integrators, resellers and customers, and how 2020 has impacted life around WekaIO.
We kick off with a quick introduction by Ken of his role, both pre and post #COVID19, as well as a high level overview of the company, with some interesting key insights into successes Weka have had in their journey to date as a startup ( as Ken describes it ).
In this show our conversation focuses on the following key topics:
1 - WekaIO the company, the WekaFS filesystem, and the Weka journey so far
I ask Ken to start us off with a high level introduction to WekaIO the company, your WekaFS filesystem, and some of the key highlights of the journey so far to get to where you are today.
We discuss the attention on emerging high growth markets around Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and the likes of Big Data, Data Science, Life Sciences, Analytics and the whole Data Driven Decision Making pivot so many organisations are undergoing, and where WekaIO fits into this story.
2 - The role high performance scale-out storage plays in data analytics & AI
I had the opportunity to an Analyst Briefing call with Ken and on this topic recently where Ken used the line “A modern Parallel file system is essential to get a ROI out of any AI initiative”. I asked Ken why data storage performance, in his view, is critical to AI performance and getting an Return On Investment from AI initiatives.
3 - Technical performance VS Operational and Cost performance
Weka use the #WeSolveBigProblems hashtag to be clear about what they do, and indeed WekaIO is known for solving big problems - I ask Ken to give us some examples of big challenges Weka have worked on with customers recently, and he shares insights into projects around the COVID19 vaccine, Genomics England and a 70PB storage solution, and an example around Supplychains.
Four key quotable quotes from this conversation I wanted to highlight include:
1 - If you haven’t started an AI project you are losing to one that has
2 - A modern Parallel file system is essential to get a ROI out of any AI initiative
3 - You can start small in AI with Weka and scale up to hundreds of Petabytes
4. Weka Makes Managing the storage demands of Big Data and AI initiatives much easier
Key takeaways for me from this show include:
1 - Weka enables successful AI and Big Data outcomes
2 - In order to achieve successful AI outcomes you need:
+ compute acceleration technology, like GPUs
+ a modern parallel file system, like WekaFS, and;
+ high speed networking
From this conversation it's clear to be that because Weka has enterprise-ready and hybrid-cloud features it transcends AI and Big Data use cases, and enables backup and DR strategies, IT agility, and lower CapEx, Weka is a pathway to high performance computing on the public cloud.
There can be little doubt that “data is the new oil” as we say, but it seems organisations are still struggling to adjust to treating data as a new mission critical business asset, place value on it, get it on their balance sheet, place KPIs on it, manage it and derive real value from it. We wrap up by me asking Ken what enterprise persona and supporting role or roles he sees bringing the most critical in the immediate future to address this?
This is a conversation not to be missed - CXOs should tune into this show and take notes, as Ken has so much to share, it's got something for everyone.
This podcast made in partnership with WekaIO.
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