Lew Tucker

New c-suite seat: CTO of the cloud

December 6, 2010: 1:21 PM ET

C-level positions don't get created overnight. So what is it about the cloud computing revolution that merits a seat in the executive suite?

Image representing Lew Tucker as depicted in C...

Lew Tucker, Cisco's Chief Technology Officer of Cloud ComputingImage by Joi on Flickr via CrunchBase

The cloud: A once, well, hazy term that describes the increasingly vast array of software, applications, and data storage tools that live not on users' home PCs but on the Internet, is taking form. Cloud computing, as tech companies would have us understand it, encompasses all kinds of formerly offline processes that can now happen on the web. For example, storing data (think Google docs, not jump drives) or providing services (think streaming Netflix (NFLX) movies vs. receiving a mailed DVD.) Microsoft's (MSFT) latest ad campaign for Windows 7 boasts of taking users "to the cloud" to allow them to accomplish everything from retouching photos to watching their  DVR'd shows in the airport. (See one of their spots below.)

Companies everywhere are rolling cloud-based computing into the day-to-day. Different companies are attacking that migration in different ways. Several have built innovation groups to ease the transition, says Aaron Levie, CEO of Box.net, a start-up that provides cloud-based file sharing.

"Any company needs to have a cloud strategy," says Kristof Kloeckner, CTO of Enterprise Initiatives and Vice President of Cloud Computing Platforms for IBM (IBM).  "And I believe that given the transformative nature of cloud computing, it needs C-level attention." More

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