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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

The SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview Series highlights key strategic topics and provides insights from SAP Mentors and SAP leaders on turning ideas into innovative approaches that impact people, process, and technology.

What does it mean to be a distinguished engineer? It relates to someone whose reputation is based on exemplary skills, design practices, work experiences, and leadership. In order to reach such a height, it helps to combine both passion and courage to realize personal and professional accomplishments that are valued by customers and peers.

Just over a decade ago, tomas.krojzl, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and SAP Mentor, made a major career bet on the SAP HANA database and combined it with other areas of interest. This decision has become a cornerstone of his success today. From Data Relocation Management to Multi-Cloud Infrastructure and Digital Center Readiness, Tomas has been at the forefront of addressing complex IT and business issues and opportunities.

Recently I caught up with Tomas to learn more about his journey and how students (Next-gen) can position themselves for a career in High Tech.

Allie Trzaska (AT): Tell us about your career journey from Tomas Bata University to IBM. What got you interested in what you do now?

Tomas Krojzl (TK): I was always a computer geek – I started coding when I was 11 and haven’t stopped till this day. During my college years, I was a freelancer developer to earn extra money – it was the perfect reality check on how “real life” works. After college, I joined IBM, which was where I got my hands on SAP and decided to become an SAP specialist. Later in 2010 when SAP HANA was released, I went all-in betting my career on the success of SAP HANA database. And it worked out – both for me and for my SAP HANA related work.

AT: How did you become an SAP Mentor? What does it mean to you to be in this program?

TK: Based on my passion for SAP HANA, my involvement in the community became more visible. Since this technology was very new and unexplored, I did my best to share my experience by writing blogs, answering questions, and providing feedback to the SAP Community.

That was the most amazing time in my career – exploring new technology and documenting my experiments. In 2012, I was asked to become an SAP Mentor. I clearly recall how surprised I was and questioned whether I was good enough to become one. Participating as an SAP Mentor has been a great experience, for which I am very grateful. I have the opportunity to meet fantastic people, learn a lot, and give back by sharing my knowledge and opinions.

AT: Congratulations as a co-inventor on the patent ‘Data Relocation Management in a Network of Data Centers' to address adaptive data recovery schemes. What inspired you to collaborate on this new way to direct a relocation of data within the network?

TK: Wow – you really did the background check. I was inspired by SAP HANA database and by our SAP customers.

There is always the dilemma where to place a second copy of your database. If you place it too close, then you can replicate data real time; however, you are not protected from disasters. If you place it further away, then you are well protected; however, you need to use asynchronous replication that is associated with minor data loss. I was trying to find something in between, and the idea evolved from there.

As more organizations adopt multi-cloud infrastructure to simplify and scale their system landscapes, what are 2 or 3 examples of security considerations that you recommend to safeguard operations before serious damage occurs?

TK: My advice is to be very careful. Public cloud infrastructure is as secure as you configure it. It is quick and easy to provision a virtual machine with public access from the internet – however that is extremely insecure. You need public cloud architects and security experts that will help you properly design the security perimeter, both internal and external to the organization (or system) into which you can safely deploy your SAP environment. If you do not have those skills yourself, you should get external help to ensure your environment is safe.

Second recommendation would be to use native features like multiple accounts/subscriptions. This would clearly separate the individual 3rd party partners/providers from each other and limit them to the scope they are responsible for. This approach will help prevent them stepping on each other’s toes.

AT: As you connect with customers and colleagues on topics related to digital transformation, how much are the customers interested in High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR) versus waiting too long to mitigate risks? What are 1 or 2 examples of high-priority considerations for data center readiness?

TK: That is very good question. Most customers are only looking on SLA indicators to make their decisions on HA or DR, without considering the technology itself or worst-case scenarios. SLA captures the “usual” availability and excludes more extreme conditions (like availability zone failure) that might be classified as DR or simply excluded from SLA calculations. It is vital to have a discussion with customers about these failure scenarios, as well as ensure they understand what business impacts these could cause. Like life insurance – you do not need it until bad things happen, at which time you are grateful for having it.

AT: How does the discipline that is part of martial arts help you in your career to improve your skills and expertise?

TK: Martial arts helps me in several ways. Besides the physical and weight-control benefits that come with it, it helps clear my mind. The concentration needed to perform the techniques empty my mind from all work-related topics. After each training session, I am physically exhausted and mentally rejuvenated which can provide me with new perspective. Additionally, martial arts requires patience. Even if you understand how to perform the technique, it takes a lot of practice to perform in properly.

Early in your career you received support from your mentors which helped you become an SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer amongst your many career activities. This amazing accomplishment was highlighted in the blog post Tomas Krojzl – SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer … and now not so Secret Agent. If you were approached by a student or recent graduate who had the aspiration to get into the High-Tech field, what advice would you give them to achieve their goal?

TK: Pick any domain you like and do it with passion. Passion is very critical – you need to love what you are doing as this focus will push you to the limits, and you will be in the best position to give your best. Passionate people tend to get consumed by whatever they are doing, and as a result, achieve much better than others.

Also be brave – try to experiment, test new approaches, do not be afraid to fail, but always learn from your mistakes. Do not give up on being “different” – being like everyone else will only make you average.


Check out a few related SAP Community Topic pages:

SAP HANA Cloud | SAP Analytics Cloud


I welcome any comments on your career journey below!