CTO Sessions: Guy Sayar, HashiCorp

Name: Guy Sayar

Company: HashiCorp

Job title: Field CTO EMEA

Date started current role: November 2020

Location: London, UK

Guy Sayar joined HashiCorp in November 2020 as Field Chief Technology Officer for EMEA. Operating at the CxO level, Sayar builds trust and understanding among HashiCorp customers, so that the multi-cloud transformation, and application and infrastructure modernisation programmes can have optimal impact on their business. Sayar has a strong background in financial services. Before joining HashiCorp, he spent 10 years with Goldman Sachs followed by positions at Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan. Prior to this Sayar held developer-related roles at a number of technology firms including Gigaspaces, ECI Telecom and Mercury interactive. 

What was your first job? Software developer and testing engineer at an ISV in the telecom vertical.

Did you always want to work in IT? Yes. I did not grow up with computers around me, but ever since I was exposed to IT and software engineering, I knew I wanted to do something in that domain.

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? B.C.s Mechanical Engineering from TAU, and an MBA from Technion.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. My initial focus was software quality and testing, I built QA teams in two companies. I then started coding, mostly self taught myself with great help from my manager at the time, still one of my role models (over 20 years later). 

After a few years of software development and product / team leadership – I made a career change to work with the field in technical capacity. As part of that role (with GigaSpaces), I relocated to London to build our presence in the UK inc. bootstrapping and hiring a team. 

My next career chapter is with large financial services firms – while with GigaSpaces I was poached by Goldman Sachs. At Goldman I did a variety of roles, ranging from application infrastructure and middleware through FX options trading on the CME and middle office Margin call calculations and reconciliation. I was on the buy side and sell side, and eventually I was part of the formation of the Cloud Platforms Organization. My last project at Goldman was to develop a container manager layer (very similar to kubernetes in concept). 

After nearly 10 years with Goldman I joined Deutsche Bank to lead the PaaS engineering effort for a platform publicly known as Fabric. I was there for just over a year, before joining JPMC to help drive Athena’s modernisation and cloud transformation. I did two main projects at JPMC, first was to modernise Athena’s batch scheduling platform, the second was to drive infrastructure optimisation of Markets’ compute grid, a x100,000 cores grid that spans multiple regions and serves Markets’ platforms e.g. Athena and multiple desks. 

What type of CTO are you? I’d classify myself as a generalist CTO. I am fairly technical and can be hands on too. At the same time I have good exposure and understanding of the business and field disciplines. 

Which emerging technology are you most excited about the prospect of? Transitions to Cloud, from application perspective. As software is eating the world, platforms are eating applications. The value is moving from applications to the platform, and so understanding the challenges and how to realise them in a way that allows application teams to do less is very interesting to me. Developer experience and tooling in the cloud, software development and delivery.

Are there any technologies which you think are overhyped? Why? Kubernetes is certainly in that bucket. I think it’s a great tech – modern, open, and community driven. It’s really good for developers or small teams to use for modern applications, certainly for cloud first projects. It has a great ecosystem and a lot of community support. The main issues are that it is a) “closed system” in a sense and it does not present a migration path from current to modern. It’s an all or nothing type of situation, and b) the new stack is not mature enough to provide the protection and isolation required to run critical applications yet. I’ve seen kubernetes being very successful as a ‘modern, single tenant application server’.

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