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 Salesforce.com's AppExchange, the java.com 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.