How Former Sun Exec Aims to Elevate Cisco's Cloud-Building Image

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-12-28 Print this article Print

CTO Lew Tucker envisions a massive new cloudlike network on the horizon for Cisco to build that may one day number a trillion connected devices.

Lew Tucker, Cisco Systems' new vice-president and chief technical officer for cloud computing systems, has a pretty significant mission for his company, which rapidly has been reinventing itself in the last two or three years.

That would to be the "straw that stirs the drink" (a nod here to former baseball superstar Reggie Jackson, who made that line famous) for the world's No. 1 networking company when it comes to the deployment of cloud systems for its customers.

As such, Tucker will be sitting in on a lot of meetings, interacting with all business units at the $113 billion company, and working with many of its customers. He will be responsible for aggregating Cisco's corporate resources for cloud computing and bringing together the right ones to get a particular job out of theory and into production.

"This will be interesting, because it is a position that cuts across all the different product groups," Tucker told eWEEK. "I get to have a lot of fun, because I sit in on all our future product roadmaps, seeing where the networking speeds and feeds are going in the next three to five years, and looking at a lot of our different business decisions, partnership, and acquisitions. Everything that sort of touches cloud."

Tucker has more than 20 years of experience in IT, ranging from distributed systems and artificial intelligence to software development and systems architecture. Before joining San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco last spring, he served as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Cloud Computing at Sun Microsystems, where he led the development of its infrastructure-as-a-service offering and the development of Sun Cloud.

Tucker is one of a number of former Sun corporate leaders who chose not to stay with Oracle following its purchase of Sun in January 2010. Tucker also has run's AppExchange, the developer community, and the massively parallel Connection Machine. He is respected far and wide in the Java and cloud computing development communities.

Tucker holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Cornell University, a master's degree in computer science with a specialization in artificial intelligence from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and a doctorate in computer science from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

'Crisper' message may be needed

"One of the first things I'd like to face directly is that is seems to be that Cisco needs to be crisper in its message out to the world about what we're doing in cloud computing," Tucker said, getting an early jump on this with eWEEK.

And that message would be this: Cisco wants to be your cloud infrastructure provider, and it will use its longtime expertise in the network, its many partnerships, and a newfound sense of purpose as a baseline to do it.

Like Oracle [databases, enterprise software], EMC [storage and security], and Dell [personal computers], Cisco is becoming a full-blown IT systems company and is coming at cloud computing from its own corner of the world. Networking certainly is an appropriate corner to own.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel