9 January, 2020
9 January, 2020
(An interview with Ofir Abekasis, Published in ‘The Marker’ Hitech book, published Dec. 2019)
“We’re a different breed”
With complex projects for global companies in Israel and the world, including the implementation of solutions at the forefront of technological innovation, TeraSky is successfully playing in the major leagues, offering its customers advanced technological solutions. CEO Ofir Abekasis, who comes from the field of cloud and IT infrastructure, explains why work in TeraSky is so challenging, professionally-speaking.
The task given to TeraSky, a provider of technological solutions for advanced computing environments, was somewhat exceptional: To complete a huge project setting up a cloud data center for the global company Crossover, within two months. As a company that deals in the placement of technological manpower at the highest level, and does so without physical offices, Crossover is considered to be a pioneer, even in the age of the digital economy. The scope of the project, which was carried out in cooperation with VMware Israel, is estimated at several million dollars.
“The project was particularly challenging and demanding,” Ofir tell us. “Crossover needs to provide its customers around the world with reliable and efficient service at a high level of availability from each of its hundreds of sites around the world. For this purpose, the company’s infrastructure must have significant flexibility and be capable of immediate growth (scalability), in accordance with varying needs from moment to moment. In a very short period of time, our specialists completed the processes of evaluation, built the suitable architecture, and implemented the cloud data center in practice, while also implementing new technologies in the existing VMware infrastructure”.
“You could say this was just another project, so to speak, for implementing the cloud Data Center system — a field in which we’ve accumulated a great deal of expertise. But this was a large-scale and unique project, and required us to perform a migration process without harming the computing infrastructure’s day-to-day operations and the company’s activity. It was anything but standard,” Abekasis emphasizes.
A unique blend of human capital
Abekasis is an unusual character in the Israeli high-tech scene, which is hardly lacking in interesting characters. At age 24 – after having served at the Intelligence Corps computing unit – he met Michael Burstein, a mythological figure in the field of computing, and began working with him as a system administrator in MBI, which operated in the field of IT infrastructure. When the American company GlassHouse acquired MBI in 2007, and after working at the company for a while, the two moved on to the next project: founding TeraSky. With in-depth knowledge of the infrastructure world, they began working with Israeli companies, many which have since gone global. Some of MBI’s personnel joined the new company, along with other young and talented people who loved working with the most innovative technologies out there. The combination of senior employees alongside young ones created a unique blend of human capital, which helps the company implement technologically-complex solutions in the fields of infrastructure, cloud and data centers, the company’s primary fields of content.
“I think we represent a very interesting kind of synergy in the Israeli high-tech market”, Abekasis emphasizes. “On one hand we have employees with a strong technological orientation, who provide services and products in the technology front. On the other hand, we have customers who are happy to adopt new technologies as soon as possible. Nowadays, we’re mostly focused on data and application management, with the primary goal being the creation of new capabilities for customers in the digital age”.
“Furthermore, when it comes to cloud technology, we were one of the first to talk about the need for hybridization. At first people flocked to the public cloud, and it wasn’t until later that they understood that not every kind of technology suits it, and that high costs were involved. Nowadays, people realize that we were right. Not everything has to be stored on the cloud or a data center – some things will be suitable for the cloud and some will be suitable for a physical infrastructure, and some will be suitable for a combination of the two – a multi-cloud”.
You began your careers a decade ago in a market saturated with integrators, and you managed to make your way to the top as a provider of advanced technological solutions. Where do you go from here?
“Currently, TeraSky is a global company with offices in Israel, Europe and the United States. We aim to develop both in Israel and abroad. Recently, we launched a collaboration in Europe with a company that deals with similar fields of content to ours. The joint company is called SKY-TQ. We are one of VMware’s strongest partners in the world, as attested by the worldwide esteem we receive time after time. This esteem is expressed in multiple awards, the most recent of them being the EMEA 2018 VMware Partner Innovation Award – which was awarded to us for executing projects on a worldwide scale and the innovation we implement in companies. Beyond our partnership with VMware, we are senior partners of other technological leaders, such as Google, AWS, Dell Technologies, NetApp, Nvidia, and more. However, we’ve achieved a balanced critical mass and we aspire to preserve our uniqueness. Our vision is more qualitative than quantitative – to grow with technological depth and to set ourselves apart from everyone else. We see ourselves as a different breed and the market recognizes this, for which we are glad”.
The intermediary layer is fascinating
As someone who’s been working in IT services for 15 years now, Abekasis protests the “uncool” image companies in this field have as solution providers. “I see the high-tech industry as being divided into three layers: The layer of major producers — these are the world-famous brands such as Dell Technologies, NetApp Google, AWS, Facebook, Google, and the layer of start-ups in their varying sizes, who initiate and develop new technologies, and either grow bigger or get acquired. These two layers have a “cool” image, but between those two there’s another significant and important layer, which consists of companies that locate the appropriate and advanced solutions, implementing them and managing the projects. Unfortunately, although these companies have some of the best experts the industry has to offer, they don’t receive attention or praise the way the large companies or small start-ups do. Even though they’re the ones “getting the job done”, driving the processes which eventually create the added value to the customers’ business, providing it with innovation.
“As someone who grew from a system administrator, after my military service, to the position of CEO, I can attest to the expertise created in this is layer over at TeraSky”, Abekasis adds. “We’re talking about first-rate technology experts, who’re acquainted with a wide variety of products and who have accumulated a great deal of practical experience as a result of working with many vendors on one hand, and many customers on the other. They bring with them priceless knowledge, information and experience, and yet in the context of the high-tech industry, the integration and IT services market is perceived as drab and unexciting (while this couldn’t be further from the truth) and the capital of companies that specialize in certain technological fields just keeps rising”.
Abekasis adds – “People need to understand that there’s no such thing as ready-made solutions. We try to understand what the customer’s business needs are, and tailor the right technological solution”.
So how does one recruit talent to companies whose image is less appealing?
“We present the challenge, the variety and professional satisfaction. We’re not a company that sells ready-made products. We sell added value, and we know how to create technological depth in a world which keeps getting more and more complex. Fortunately, we have a rising reputation in the market, including in the field of manpower, and it’s true that our investment in human capital is huge – instruction sessions, courses, training. We represent a platform that people want to work in, and there’s a reason our motto is ‘It’s All About The People’. People come to us from large companies and vendors as well, looking to get ahead and develop professionally. A lot of the activities at TeraSky have originated with the employees, such as in the public cloud and DevOps fields. In a company lacking a hierarchy such as ours, everyone has access to everybody else, and this creates a non-formal relationship, in which every employee can make a difference”.