Intel CTO Greg Lavender on open source software and chips


Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: Intel CTO Greg Lavender on recovering software mojo and promotion, a landmark quarter for cloud infrastructure companies, and a look at the week ahead in enterprise technology.

Twirl up

Only 22% of Microsoft’s Active Directory customers use two-factor authentication to secure their networks, depending on the company. Given the spread of ransomware and the growing awareness that two-factor login tools can prevent many of these issues, that’s no good.

Intel’s mojo… on the rise?

About a year after Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger was installed to lead the company’s turnaround, there’s still a lot to prove.

Gelsinger has pledged to take over manufacturing leadership from Intel, and part of the strategy involves massive capital investments in new factories in Ohio, Arizona and Europe that are hurting profits. . Another equally important task Gelsinger undertook as part of his efforts to reinvigorate the Silicon Valley giant was to redo the company’s executive leadership, bringing in former VMware executive Greg Lavender as than CTO.

In a recent chat with Protocol, Lavender discussed how he and Gelsinger are redefining the role of CTO, the strategy behind Intel’s software efforts, and how he approaches managing the thousands of technologists he is responsible for leading.

Can you tell us a bit more about your role as CTO of a semiconductor company?

Pat gave me two jobs. I have Intel Labs and a bunch of advanced technology development going on. I created a security group of 1,000 security architects, firmware engineers – systems specialists – to get deep into confidential computing. And then I rounded up 5,000 other software engineers from across the company into the software [and] Advanced Technology Group, which includes everything from BIOS and firmware to compilers and operating systems.

Why did Pat ask you to join Intel? And why did you take the job?

Pat just said, “You’re the right person, at the right time, for this job. I had to let that sink in a bit. I have a lot of respect for Pat; I’ve known him for 15 years, since I was at Sun and he was CTO of Intel. Think about it: Intel’s first CTO asked me to be his CTO. It’s a real privilege, I felt very flattered by this opportunity. He and I haven’t failed yet, and we’re not going to fail at Intel. We are going to make it awesome.

What is your plan to help turn around Intel? What can the CTO do?

Let me give you some context. The Intel Developer Forum was the premier tech event for geeks. It was where all of Intel’s coolest tech and all of their customers would hang out. And it’s like Intel somehow lost that mojo. So for me, when I walked in the door, I was like, how do I get that mojo back?

I am trying to create a pull function for software. Right now we’re pushing a bunch of software: “Here it is, here it is, I hope you use it.” But you have to be in ecosystems, because for low-code/no-code developers, it’s all about productivity. They assume the performance will be there by the cloud provider, or whoever writes the infrastructure.

As a relatively new person at Intel, where staff members can stay for 10, 15, 20 years, how do you envision running the CTO’s office? Do you have a chief of staff, for example?

I never liked the term chief of staff, because I don’t want a policeman guarding my door. I like to be approachable, and in fact, my staff thinks I’m a bit too approachable. As a new leader, it’s important to me that people understand who I am, how I communicate.

I want to spend at least 65% of my day, if not more, with the technologists. And the other 25-30% of my day, I deal with finance and lawyers. I mean, that’s part of modern business, right? My philosophy is that if the “tax” on my time is more than 25%, then I will put more structures in place to deal with it so that it consumes less.

As a computer scientist and not a trained chip engineer, how do you approach some of the decision-making around the technical complexities of semiconductors?

I am not an engineer by training. I find it fascinating, the level of materials science. I studied physics in undergrad, so I had to dust off my old textbooks, get the latest editions, to learn more about semiconductor physics. I ask all the right questions because I have a lot of experience. As a professor for 14 years at the University of Texas at Austin, I supervised many undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students. students, so I’m big on educating people.

— Max A. Cherney (E-mail | Twitter)


Dataiku is the only AI platform that connects data and actors, empowering anyone to turn data into real business results, from the mundane to the moonshot. Because AI can do so many things, but there is no soul in the machine, only in front of it. Without you, it’s just data.

Learn more

Looks like this cloud is gonna be big

Now that the big three cloud companies have all reported earnings, Canalys published data on its market share on Friday which shows that cloud computing reached an important milestone during the fourth quarter.

Enterprises around the world spent $53.5 billion on cloud infrastructure services in the fourth quarter of 2021, the first time that figure exceeded $50 billion. That’s a 34% increase from the same period in 2020, a time when it became abundantly clear that the pandemic was going to persist for some time.

AWS, Microsoft and Google accounted for 64% of global spending on cloud infrastructure and platform services, and had roughly the same market shares they had held for several years. Interesting tidbit: Canalys estimated that Google Cloud’s infrastructure division, which includes its Workspace productivity software suite in its overall financial reports, grew 63%, which was significantly faster than AWS and Microsoft Azure.

—Tom Krazit (E-mail | Twitter)

Coming next week

Don’t miss Protocol’s CIO event next Tuesday at 10am PT. Protocol’s Tom Krazit will discuss the evolving role of the CIO with four incredible IT leaders: Rob Carter, CIO, FedEx; Chris Bedi, IT Director, ServiceNow; Sheila Jordan, Director of Digital Technology, Honeywell; and Vittorio Cretella, CIO Procter & Gamble. RSVP here.

More revenue calls are ahead next week, with Cloudflare, GlobalFoundries, Twilio and others sharing results from the latest quarter:

GlobalFoundries will share fourth quarter results Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. PT.

nuance will present financial results Tuesdays at 2 p.m. PT.

Twilio will announce fourth quarter results Wednesdays at 2 p.m. PT.

Datadog will present earnings Thursdays at 5:00 a.m. PT.

Cloudy will announce earnings Thursdays at 2 p.m. PT.

Around the company

AWS will take some of the proceeds from its big jump in revenue in the fourth quarter in addition to computing capacity, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said during his earnings callalso noting that approximately 40% of the company’s overall capital expenditure is dedicated to “powering AWS”.

It is unclear if Google Cloud will get return to in-person conferences in October after two years of hosting virtual cloud conferences thanks to the pandemic.


Dataiku is the only AI platform that connects data and actors, empowering anyone to turn data into real business results, from the mundane to the moonshot. Because AI can do so many things, but there is no soul in the machine, only in front of it. Without you, it’s just data.

Learn more

Thanks for reading – see you Monday!


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