We started the “People of Pure” series to do what a mission statement and earnings report can’t: to tell you who we are via the people who make us what we are. That’s why this edition is so special.
Barkz is one of the longest-tenured people of Pure, and he’s truly built a legacy during his time here. He’s a builder: of Pure’s culture, technology, and service to our customers and community. We sat down with him to hear what he loves most about his work, what he’d tell new employees, and why he thinks Pure is such a special place.
Barkz! If we promise not to reveal your given name, will you tell us about your job here at Pure?
I don’t have a job; I have a passion. When friends ask me, “How’s your job?” it might seem strange, but my reply is, “I don’t have one.” I get a blank stare.
I love what I do, and every day, I get to be creative. It’s not about clocking in and out. I show up, and when I do, it’s full tilt, ready to get it done. Having that attitude is a testament to the creativity here and what we’re delivering. I’ve been here for nine years and I feel the same today as I did when I started.
What about Pure has made you feel that way?
I appreciate Pure’s approach to empowering team members—their creativity, passion, and freedom. Each day, it’s like I have a blank canvas. That feeling is critically important to me and should be to anyone who has a career.
Before we get into what you do with that blank canvas, tell us about your background.
I started at Microsoft as a developer, working with Office, SharePoint, etc. My time at Microsoft was focused on app development, APIs, and automation, while my time at NetApp was focused on apps, storage, and automation. I’ve been in software and storage for a while, so I like to think I have a unique view—from app development and CI/CD pipelines to storage and automation.
I wrote software at Microsoft, and in doing so, I got curious: “Where is this software running? Why does it run how it runs?” Turns out, it was all based on storage, so that’s where I headed next. Pure has a superior strategy when it comes to storage—so naturally, I wanted to check out the best.
Here, I focus on our Microsoft solutions: SCVMM, Hyper-V, Windows, Exchange, Azure, VSS (SQL/EX/…), and a few other things. But one of my greatest passions is PowerShell.
You’ve made a name (or nom de plume) for yourself here at Pure with the PowerShell integration. How did that get started?
I guess I have—my blog is called the Pure PowerShell Guy. Pure’s current PowerShell SDK all started with me working on my own time to create the PowerShell Toolkit.
I was the first Microsoft person at Pure, like employee #291, and there were certain things that didn’t exist yet. I didn’t have to ask permission to write the first PowerShell integration, I just did it—late, on weekends. Kix would sometimes sit with me while I worked away.
It turned out to be one of the most widely used automation tools we have at Pure, and it all started with me thinking: “We should do this. We should make this investment.” It’s now fully engineered and supported by a bigger team than just me.
How has PowerShell evolved?
I was the first consumer of an API in the company. It was always something our customers and partners wanted. In talking to customers and our field, I felt that being API-first would help us stay true to our mission that Coz set out with: simplicity. We created PowerShell for people who lived in the Windows OS and wanted to make things simple. And that’s exactly what we delivered. We kept the mantra of Coz (“keep it simple”) and carried that through.
Coming up next are some new capabilities in SQL server integration, work on PowerShell support for Fusion, and APIs…stay tuned!
Outside of Pure, you’ve got another passion for building that has nothing to do with code.
Since December of 2013, I’ve worked with Turning Wheels for Kids. The non-profit provides children with brand-new, sparkly bikes to encourage lifelong habits of exercise and outdoor activity. I absolutely love it, and everyone who’s joined loves it too.
Before the pandemic, Pure was in its seventh year of participating in the Big Bike Build. A great group would show up and together we’d learn to build bikes (with no prior experience) and give back to the community. We always set lofty goals every year to build as many bikes as possible. Year one was 20 and the last year we did 70. The Pure team grew every year so we were able to build more and more. It was super rewarding.
Pure doesn’t just give you the freedom to be creative—Pure enables everyone in the company to give back. That’s a big thing for me.
A new employee sits next to you on their first day at Pure. What would you say?
If you believe in something, take the chance and stand behind it. Pure provides an environment for anyone to innovate. It’s a testament to enabling every individual to innovate and do what they think is right for the company and customers.
If a new person were starting and I sat across from them and had to give them a takeaway: “What is still the same about the old days as today?” We are no different than we were 13 years ago. We still have that scrappy, startup mentality—that’s what makes us Pure. Through growth and change, cultural and technology, it stays the same. The Pure you’ve joined today still gives you the freedom to explore, innovate, and ask hard questions.
What has you most excited about the direction we’re headed?
One of my biggest things at Pure is to always talk about being API-first. PowerShell was built on the fact that we had an API, and we were going to take it and run with it. Several years later, it’s managing 4,000 arrays by 1,000 customers.
It’s a substantial thing that started in a small closet and has gone on to fulfill our dream of being API-first.
How would you define the culture of Pure?
It’s all about people, meeting new people, and learning from each other. In my experience, even interns play a big part at Pure. Giving them a project and seeing what they produce is incredible. It’s proof that we make an impact, and the relationships we build keep us engaged and able to continue collaborating and working together.
We have such a platform to talk to and engage people and get them excited about tech. That’s what it’s all about.