Victor Bahna joined Nutanix in 2018, bringing with him 20+ years of experience leading teams across the cloud and IT space. Based in Washington state, he leads our Xi Leap team and is the Site Leader for our Seattle office. His coworkers describe him as a personable leader who gives employees a voice and contributes to building a positive culture.
With our Seattle office temporarily closed due to the pandemic, we talked virtually with Victor to learn about his leadership style, what challenges are being solved by his team, and what makes Nutanix Seattle special. Here’s our conversation.
Your job title is Senior Director, Xi Live Site Ops. What does that mean?
I lead the team that delivers our Xi Leap service. From the time a customer signs an agreement with Nutanix, we manage the day-to-day customer experience, including provisioning, onboarding, monitoring the environment, responding to alerts and incidents, managing releases to Xi clusters, deploying upgrades, and governing all change management activities. Our actions accelerate adoption and improve the day-to-day customer experience.
Tell us about Xi Leap.
Xi Leap is a true hybrid cloud service for disaster recovery (DR), allowing customers to back up and protect VMs and workloads in our environment. If customers need to failover to our location for an unplanned failover or for planned maintenance, they use our infrastructure to continue to operate their business with the VMs that they’ve protected.
How does your team impact the success of our customers and our company?
What we do every day has a direct effect on our customers and the momentum of our business. If we do a great job, our customers have a tremendous experience and that’s good for our customers and for us. If we don't, then we’re going to have the opposite effect and our customers will look elsewhere.
Where is your team located?
We have employees in Seattle, San Jose, North Carolina, as well as in Bangalore, India; Sydney, Australia, and Europe. We also have a few folks that are remote and not based out of a city with a Nutanix office. We're a true 24/7 operation. When you're delivering a service, customers don't take days off.
How do you ensure your team has time off given the 24/7 nature of the business?
It starts with making sure we have clear priorities and that people understand the demarcation. When the sun starts to set in one area and rise in another, we ensure handoffs are well-managed so things don't get dropped. This allows us to have continuous activity throughout the timezones.
As a leader I want to make people feel confident, to enable their trust, and to give them the autonomy to do what we hired them to do.Victor Bahna
What are some goals or projects that your team is working on?
Driving a positive experience for customers is a perpetual priority for us. We want to improve the customer onboarding experience and we frequently communicate customer needs to our product development teams.
We do some of our own development work as it pertains to the customer experience too. Some examples:
- An automated test failover that we’re piloting to allow customers to schedule test failovers
- Development work with regard to how we monitor, alert and correlate events that might be related
- Designing solutions to improve our efficiencies in how we leverage our infrastructure
We also manage the security of our environment which includes updating patches, limiting access to the environment, and ensuring security hygiene for the customer environment.
What technology and tools does your team work with?
A few that come to mind are Kubernetes, Python, Ansible, Terraform and some in-house scripting. For containers, Docker is another technology that is a part of our space and we're using Karbon as a technology platform.
Talk to us about your leadership style.
I do my best to create an environment where people can do their best work. That starts with ensuring there's clarity around our mission, objectives, and expectations.
Second, we want to communicate things quickly, even if it's not pleasant news. Everything is about improving our experience for customers. If someone makes a mistake, we don't beat people up. We try to understand what went wrong and if there’s something we can do to improve or safeguard against it in the future. As a leader I want to make people feel confident, to enable their trust, and to give them the autonomy to do what we hired them to do.
What qualities do you look for in people when you’re hiring?
We look for enthusiastic people with domain knowledge. People don't necessarily need full domain knowledge if they have an acumen for learning. I also look for self-starters who can demonstrate what they’ve done. Because we have a collaborative environment, people need to work well with others. Uniqueness is also an attractive quality.
In addition to your role as Senior Director, you are the Site Leader for our Seattle office. What makes our Seattle team and office special?
A lot of companies segregate people by location or in terms of what they do. Nutanix Seattle is like a mini-Nutanix with representation from across 20+ areas of the business. There’s a unique dynamic with us being in the same geography, but coming from different places within the company.
The last year of the pandemic has been a challenge. Have there been any unexpected bright spots?
I remember sending the announcement that we're temporarily closing the Seattle office. I thought we'd be closed for a month or two. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we’d be working from home a year later.
It's been a hard year. All of us are dealing with challenges, whether it's kids at home, a less than perfect working environment, or not being able to socialize with peers. We’ve found a lot of resilience within ourselves. Everyone at Nutanix has leaned in and tried not to let challenges get in the way of what we're trying to accomplish. We have come together as a company, and in many ways, grown closer.
Thanks to Victor for his leadership and perspective. To learn more about our team and culture, follow @LifeAtNutanix on social media, or visit Nutanix Careers for current job opportunities.
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