We ‘Deep Dive’ with Candida Valois, Field CTO Americas, Scality, who tells us about life inside and outside the office.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the data centre industry?
My biggest achievements would be helping customers modernise their data centres with technologies that support not only current use cases but, also and more importantly, their future use cases. For example, customers in the healthcare or finance spaces tend to struggle with silos in their data centres. We help them find the optimal solutions for their current requirements and ensure that their infrastructures will grow with them as their use cases and requirements evolve. By modernising data centres and eliminating these silos, management is simplified and IT teams can refocus their energies on other priorities.
What first made you think of a career in technology/data centres?
When I was little, I was fascinated by electronics. I would try and fix anything that was broken – a TV, telephone, anything. Then in my computer class at school, we got to use the first Apple Macintosh computer and I fell in love. So when it came to going to university, computer engineering was an obvious choice for me. After university, I started at IBM in its Extreme Blue internship program and moved to Silicon Valley in the early 2000s where I was working on voice recognition technology and I fell even further in love with technology.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
I treat our customer install base like a diamond to make sure that they are happy and that their deployments are meeting their needs and are working as expected. I therefore regularly check in with them and with our team of customer support engineers. It is important to me that that my customers and our team at Scality feel fully supported and know my virtual door is always open. For me, communication is the most important aspect of management.
What do you think is the current hot talking point within the data centre space?
Security – 100% security. With the number of cyberattacks growing at a dramatic rate over recent years, data protection and the ability to detect, protect and recover from attacks earlier and more effectively is a critical priority for all types of organisations. As a result IT infrastructure vendors have been integrating more sophisticated security mechanisms into their product portfolios.
Another hot topic at the moment is accessibility. As a result of the pandemic, organisations are focusing on ensuring their data is accessible to those who need it anywhere and everywhere.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
I am a big foodie! I live in New York City, which is the one of the best places in the world for someone like me. I also work out to unwind; I box a lot and love running. In fact, I recently did La Course de la Coeur 800km relay race with my colleagues in France.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
Security. As mentioned earlier, security is currently a top priority, with organisations investing in new and upgraded solutions to ensure their IT infrastructures can detect, prevent and recover from cyberattacks or ransomware. It has been said many times, but when it comes to cyberattacks, it is no longer a question of if but when.
The cloud is another major area of investment. On-premise deployments are certainly not going anywhere, because of their advantages when it comes to control, performance and cost-efficiency. To gain the best of both worlds, cloud and on-premises, I expect hybrid and multi-cloud models will continue to grow.
I also see a lot of investment in cloud-native platforms such as Kubernetes. AI/ML and Big Data analytics and similar applications are increasingly born in the cloud and housed in containers. In the coming years, we will see greater investment in tools to support the growing volumes of data generated, stored and consumed in cloud-native environments.
What are the region-specific challenges you encounter in your role?
I have worldwide accounts and so must work around limited availability when speaking with contacts in different time zones.
In addition, data sovereignty is a growing concern for organisations across the world. These challenges differ in each region and organisations must make sure they comply with their local data sovereignty regulations such as GDPR. This is another reason why on-premise and hybrid cloud environments are here to stay.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the coming months?
My role has recently expanded: from covering a specific region (Northeast Americas), I am now responsible for all of the Americas. Over the coming months, I will be getting to grips with my new role and spending time with our current customers and helping them with new challenges.Click below to share this article