For Cisco engineers, last week was about as inspirational as it can get. We held our annual Pioneer Awards, Cisco’s most prestigious accolade for innovation. These awards are presented annually to the teams or individuals who have delivered breakthrough innovation in product and service design and development. Throughout the night, I had the pleasure of honoring incredible work that was developed through the ideas and ingenuity of many extraordinary Cisco engineers.
As the event was ending, one of this year’s award winners stopped to thank me on my way out. While I appreciated the gesture of course, it was what he thanked me for that stood out. He summed up everything that makes Cisco such an exciting place for engineers. He thanked me for the opportunity to develop innovation at a global scale. While we all know innovation is alive and well in the technology industry, Cisco innovates at a scale that enables our engineers to change the world with their ideas. As I headed to my car, I couldn’t help but think how it’s my job to continue making this opportunity possible for all of our engineers.
I recently took over the reigns for Cisco’s $32B Networking and Security Business. One thing I know from this experience is that alignment across engineering is critical to our success – it’s one of my top priorities – especially when you take into account that we do build at a global scale. Over the past few months, I’ve worked closely with our senior leaders to integrate our development strategies and structure our teams around the technology areas most important to our customers. One of these areas is the data center.
Building a unified approach for our next generation data center strategy means we need tighter alignment. Combining all of our data center assets together under one leader will help us strengthen our position to drive growth and innovation at a pace our customers expect. It also will better enable them to design and build their private and public cloud infrastructure with Cisco’s equipment and software.
On this note, today I’m announcing an integrated next-generation data center team and a new senior leader. Starting tomorrow, Roland Acra will rejoin Cisco as SVP/GM, Data Center Business Group. Roland will be responsible for defining the next phase of our data center strategy and driving development for our data center portfolio. His group will include all data center switching products – NX2/4/5/6K, NX3K, NX7K, and NX9K, UCS, SAN, and associated products and programs. We will consolidate all of the NXOS development team under this group as well.
As a long-standing industry expert in Internet routing, software engineering and communication protocol development, Roland fits right in – once again. He is a Cisco veteran having held several general management and executive leadership positions from 1991 – 2003. In 2010, he came back to Cisco as Vice President in our Smart Grid Business Unit, following the acquisition of Arch Rock , a developer of IPv6-based wireless sensor networks where he served as President and CEO. Prior to Arch Rock, he was the President and CEO of Procket Networks. He holds a Master of Science degree in Statistics from Texas A&M University, a Master’s degree in Engineering from the Ecole Nationale Superierue des Telecommunications in Paris and a degree in mathematics and physics from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.
The fact that Roland is joining Cisco for a third stint, speaks for itself. He understands the market dynamics, the massive opportunity we have from cloud disruption, what our customers’ need from our development strategies and how to build a software business. Equally as important, he understands from hands-on experience how to operate a large engineering team at the scale of Cisco.
As distributed computing continues to evolve, today’s businesses are managing data center, private and public cloud environments and our customers must redesign their networks to support hybrid cloud strategies. With an aligned team and strong leadership, Cisco engineering is building innovation for the next wave of IP networking – digital-ready infrastructure that is simple, automated and secure.