Feature Story

Cisco Innovators: A Conversation With Lew Tucker, Cisco Cloud, Chief Technology Officer

The Cisco Innovators series showcases the vast amount of engineering talent at Cisco by featuring top engineers, in their own environment, sharing their experiences and innovations.

Learn about the history of innovation at Cisco and how the open source environment is changing the landscape of computing.

I'm Lew Tucker, Vice President and CTO of Cloud Computing here at Cisco Systems.  

As a CTO, I think we're often asked to look around corners, to peer into the future and to extrapolate from what we see in the marketplace today and technology trends so that we can anticipate what's coming next.


One way to actually think about innovation or trying to look into the future, it's not that difficult if you relax some of the constraints. For example, why do we have to rack and stack computers and networking gear and build data centers if we could have somebody else provide that to us? So that has led to the emergence of now getting our applications over the internet and getting our fundamental infrastructure over the internet as well in the form of a cloud-based service.


In many ways I think I've been fortunate, because in essence I ride these new waves of technology, whether it was early Java days at Sun Microsystems, I was also at SalesForce.com where new SAS applications started to come about. Each one of those has been an interesting experience because we're fundamentally changing the paradigm of how computers are built and how we use them for everyday work.

I think Cisco's had a long history of innovation and it's one of the reasons why I decided to come to Cisco. In fact, believing that rich history is something that's very important to us to design the products and services of the future.


One of the things I think we find is that the market always responds to a need that's present in the marketplace by the customers. So one of those needs was to develop the software that Amazon runs in an open-source environment so that anybody could build their Amazon-style cloud. And so Cisco saw an opportunity here to influence that and in fact make sure that the idea of a network based service would become an essential part of this new open-source, OpenStack cloud.

Open source is increasingly a part of Cisco's future I believe. Not only are we able to take advantage of the developments of others in the industry by working with them in this open source community, but it's a way for Cisco to also give back to the community.

So we're not only participating here, but we're giving back and making the world better.

Innovation is happening at Cisco