Cisco has a newish Cloud CTO, and one with a fitting pedigree. As Cloud CTO at Sun Microsystems prior to its acquisition by Oracle, Lew Tucker applied his expertise in application software and large scale web architectures to building the
, a public cloud service targeted at the developer community, and before that, spent time at Salesforce.com, developing the “eBay of business applications online,” the AppExchange platform
. In his earlier career, Tucker also worked extensively in high performance parallel computing with the Massachusetts-based Thinking Machine, which was purchased by Sun in the early 90s. Drawing on this long-term experience with the design of large, scalable architectures, Tucker is looking in his new home at Cisco to make the company “even more open” as he works to evolve strategy for “the next big wave” in the computing world – the cloud.
This appointment is not the only first – Tucker was hired this past June to a brand new position, the creation of which signals Cisco’s determination to carve out space in the emerging cloud market. So far, much of the industry conversation on the cloud has been focused on the solution provider segment – on vendors of the virtualization platforms that help organizations build private clouds or providers of the large public cloud services. But delivery is key in the cloud model and represents enormous opportunity for telecos and other service providers – and for the companies that provide the infrastructure to power the networks. Without adequate network communications, the cloud would quickly drop as rain – or as inaccessible bits and bytes – a fact that reinforces Cisco’s solid position in the cloud revolution.
But as cloud is a complex and multifaceted solution that defies rigid definition, so too is Cisco’s involvement likely to be broader than that of ‘pipe’ supplier. Over the past several years, the company has engaged in significant diversification, launching ambitious new product lines, such as the Unified Computing platform, virtual solutions for networking and collaboration, and the “borderless networks” architecture, which play well to the development of cloud solutions. Tucker’s mandate reflects not only the multifaceted nature of the cloud, but also Cisco’s more comprehensive participation in IT markets: in his new role, Tucker will not be administratively tied to a specific technology area, but will lead the entire company, driving Cisco strategy on the cloud by connecting across functional groups to work with collaboration, enterprise, networking, channel, and/or service provider business units.