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June 2013

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Team Spotlight: Mohamad Afshar, VP Oracle Exalogic Product Management

Oracle Fusion Middleware drives a lot of excitement and innovation, and there are some pretty innovative people behind the technology, too. For this edition, we chat with Mohamad Afshar, Oracle’s vice president of product management for Oracle Exalogic.

Q. Tell us about the professional journey that brought you to your current role.
A. I was the CEO of a startup called APAMA, and after it was sold, I started the usual networking rounds, having dinner with friends and colleagues. At one lunch, a guy from Oracle suggested that I talk to Thomas Kurian, Oracle’s executive vice president of product development, who was just starting up the middleware division at Oracle. We sat down for about three hours, and at the end of it, I said, “Okay, I’m totally sold.” After seven years on the software side of things, I’m now in charge of product management for Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud. Oracle Exalogic is a complete hardware and software platform—an engineered system—for enterprise applications. It is delivered by Oracle as preassembled building blocks that are easy to buy, deploy, and operate.

Q. What does that involve?
A. In essence, with engineered systems Oracle is creating a new category. That means bringing together developers and architects across our hardware, networking, storage, middleware, and applications teams, in addition to third-party independent software vendors, to deliver a truly comprehensive engineered system, and then taking it to market with Oracle customers and partners. We have to make sure that we have a great product that delivers on our promises and lives up to being the world’s best foundation for applications. And because it is a relatively new category, it requires a different take on how to go to market, which in some ways capitalizes directly on my previous experience with software.

Q. How so?
A. In software, one of the things we worked hardest on with customers and partners was to streamline the infrastructure issues that seemed to crop up during initial application deployment, postdeployment troubleshooting, and ongoing management and administration. One of the primary reasons Oracle built engineered systems was to take away that customer pain. The ability to do that is immensely satisfying, but we aren’t just dealing with the software side of IT. We have to know how to engage the data center and hardware audiences as well and deliver systems that are quicker to set up and easier to manage.

Q. It must help that Oracle Exalogic delivers that pain-free experience.
A. Absolutely. Look at Oracle Exalogic’s top five benefits.

  • Lightning-fast performance
  • Fast and easy setup
  • Simple management
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Lowered business risk

They address a laundry list of common corporate complaints, and that’s a pretty compelling case to make.

Q. Oracle OpenWorld 2013 is coming up. What can we expect to hear from your team?
A. All I can say is that Oracle Exalogic has a history of announcing exciting things at Oracle OpenWorld. I hate to say you’ll have to wait and see, but we believe that this year we’ll have a few announcements that could be industry-changing.

Q. What is a little-known fact about you that nobody would guess when first meeting you?
A. I have a PhD in database systems, but I’ve never yet worked on the database side of things at Oracle.

Q. What free-time activities and interests do you enjoy?
A. Skiing, windsurfing, and scuba diving—I love them all. Basically, I hate sitting still. I have skied everywhere from Canada to Europe to New Zealand—I would probably say that the heli-skiing in New Zealand is the best I’ve ever experienced.

Learn more about Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and follow Mohamad on Twitter.

And be sure to look for coverage of this year’s Oracle Excellence Awards: Oracle Fusion Middleware Innovation winners to learn even more.

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