Cloud is one of the fastest developing technologies in recent years. But even then, we don’t realize how much we use it in our everyday lives. We talked to Marcin Klimaszewski who manages the Cloud Native Software team within the Network Platforms Group (NPG) at Intel Poland. His team creates cloud solutions for our society’s current and future needs. Find out what he likes about his job and why he thinks Intel is a cool, high-tech company.
Marcin, you have over 24 years of experience in IT. What does your career path look like?
I’ve been with Intel for 18 years, and before that I worked at another large corporation, Lucent Technologies. I was a software engineer of the 5ESS switchboard for the telecommunications market. At Intel, I progressed through various levels, from an engineer, to a technical leader, a line manager, to a leadership position in which I managed teams of several hundred employees.
Which of these roles did you like the most?
I’m an engineer at heart, but because I love working with people – supporting them in their professional development – it’s best for me to be a leader, a team manager. That work gives me a real sense of fulfillment.
You mentioned that you’ve worked on many different technologies. What development opportunities have you had at Intel?
Within Intel, I changed areas many times. I started by developing software for network processors for the telecommunications market. Then I moved to the division that worked on mass storage solutions; we wrote drivers for NAND drives, SSDs produced by Intel. Then I moved to the Software-Defined Infrastructure division; we provided software for cluster management or data centers, such as Open Stack or Kubernetes. Now I’m in the Data Center department.
Wow, that’s a lot!
Yes, that’s a lot. But the most important thing is that over the years, I’ve felt the company’s support in my development – starting from my teammates, through direct superiors and senior managers.
Now I’m trying to support others; to be a mentor to employees both from my team and from other divisions and help them to grow. I think many people would agree that one of Intel’s goals is employee development. Intel supports us in professional situations, but also in difficult private situations. If I had to choose a company again, I would choose Intel without a doubt.
What team are you working in at present?
Currently I work in NPG, which deals with data center solutions for the telecommunications market. However, I’m interested in many technological solutions, so I think this is not the end of my career path.
Could you tell me more about your team in NPG?
Today, the organization in Poland consists of almost 100 employees. NPG produces software and hardware solutions for the telecommunications and network markets. The locations of individual teams are scattered around the world – most employees are in Poland, Ireland, the USA, China and India.
What does the NPG team in Poland do?
In Poland, we deal with Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT), (support for data encryption and compression using a specialized device on the server board), Visual Cloud Computing (video transcoding in the cloud) and also Storage Solutions for the telecommunications market (i.e. how to create a data cluster – servers storing large amounts of data – and how to provide quick access to this cluster).
In addition, my team works on Cloud Native Software. We’re creating software that supports the current and next generations of server platforms and processors produced by Intel in the cloud and telecommunications markets. Today, processing units, such as processors and servers, are only one of the elements in the data processing process. Other elements are purely software. The software enables the appropriate use of users’ equipment (such as discs, network cards, switches and FPGAs) to process users’ requests in the cloud.
What technologies do you use in your daily work in the cloud area?
The work of an engineer in the cloud field is highly complex. We are talking about a very complex software stack that runs on hundreds of thousands of servers. Therefore, the technologies around us, the technologies around the cloud management systems such as Kubernetes or OpenStack, require us to have extensive knowledge of what parallel processing is, what multithreading is, the use of faster or slower media and prioritizing so-called workloads – units of work – on compute nodes.
What programming languages do you use?
What is the impact of your work on society?
We are often unaware of what’s happening when we use the telephone or the internet. When we make a bank transfer or play on the phone, it’s only partially done on our device. The computing power of the device’s processor is not sufficient. Therefore, most of the processing is done in the cloud. This cloud must be connected to the phone via network protocols.
Our organization carries out this transfer of processing through the network and devices such as network cards, servers, and switches to the cloud. Simply put, we connect users or institutions such as banking, administration and services in the cloud. The software we create enables us to connect to the server, and then to communicate with other users. Of course, this requires additional technologies that are responsible for encryption, security and compression technology, which we are also working on in Poland.
Intel is mainly seen as a hardware company. Is the cloud also a strategic element of the company at this time? Is Intel investing in cloud technologies?
Yes, there is no other option. We have to invest in cloud due to the fact that processing of applications and workloads happens in the cloud. We are switching from the simple model in which the computer on our desk was responsible for the entire operation. Cloud processing is cheaper; instead of buying specialized computers, we can purchase cloud processing if necessary. All types of activities on algorithms, machine learning and AI take place in the cloud, because you can get the greatest computing power there.
Companies that produce cloud technologies, such as Google, Amazon or Microsoft Azure, value Intel products very much. At the same time, they require that we, as a hardware manufacturer, adapt the features of the equipment to their requirements and their customers’ requirements. So Intel has to invest in cloud.
Who are you looking for to join your team?
It’s not easy to find specialists because this is a new technology. We focus mainly on people who are open to cloud and want to learn about it. Of course, programmers in cloud languages such as Golang, or in languages for the automation of operations or testing, such as Python or Ansible script, are welcome – but this is not a requirement. General education in software development engineering is needed, especially in senior positions.
I strongly encourage everyone who is particularly interested in cloud, who is programming, and who wants to switch from low-level to cloud writing to apply to Intel. Some practices or techniques are very similar, and all industry experience counts.
What does being a leader mean to you?
First of all, it’s a big commitment. I joined Intel when 120 people worked here. Now there are over 2000. I’m responsible for employees, for whole teams, and I like it! Aside from the commitment, it brings me a lot of fulfillment and a lot of satisfaction. As a leader I put forward the good of the team – not only my team, but the wider team at Intel Poland. We cooperate a lot between teams, and I contribute to various initiatives. We want to build a team of people who are highly competent. I always try to help be a leader, a coach. I try to be approachable to everyone and to think strategically for my team. And I really enjoy all of that!