Greg Clifton got his first taste of the IT world when he took up employment in the commercial real estate space doing asset management of a portfolio of commercial buildings; several of the tenants were up-and-coming technology companies. After joining UUNET, he spent three years working in a new web-hosting group and helped build its sales organization while running the Southeastern U.S. web hosting sales team.
Intel in the late 1990s decided to get into the hosting and application service provider business, and Clifton joined the Intel Online Services group in 2000. In his role, he helped build a sales team covering the East Coast. When Intel, in late 2002, expanded its Federal Business Development team, Clifton decided to join, and he has been in that role ever since. He currently serves as Intel’s director of DoD & intelligence.
ExecutiveBiz: What does a typical day look like, in terms of your responsibilities?
Greg Clifton: Each day is a little bit different, which is what makes the job fun and exciting. I spend the majority of my time with those end customers, DoD and intelligence agencies in my case, but I also spend a significant amount of time with our fellow travelers and ecosystem. Another term for that would be partners: the hardware companies, software companies, integrators, folks that actually build technology solutions and then sell it and deploy it to and for customers. We try to help them take advantage of some of the features and capabilities that Intel has already or will be building in the future platforms, so they understand it and know how to utilize it and take advantage of the good things that we are doing.
ExecutiveBiz: What do you think your company does better than anyone else?
Greg Clifton: There are a number of things that Intel does better than anyone else. Certainly, we are the world's leading microprocessor manufacturer. We have amazing technology manufacturing capability. To be able to develop millions, and in the near future, billions of chips, transistors and leading-edge technology and products takes amazing effort, investment, people and physical manufacturing plants. Intel has it down to a science and makes it look easy looking at it from the outside, but it really is very hard to do. Yet, Intel continue to deliver new and exciting capability year after year. There is a lot of work that goes into that, a tremendous amount of research and development and capital expenditures that Intel invests into our business. We've committed over $15 billion into developing our latest two generations of manufacturing technology, so our 32 nanometer and 22 nanometer technology ““ we have and are building high-tech manufacturing facilities here in the United States.
ExecutiveBiz: How do you keep up with industry trends and technology?
Greg Clifton: There are a variety of different ways. One of the interesting parts of working at Intel is we get to work with so many of the different fellow travelers and partners and ecosystem folks. Since we're at all levels — from mobile devices to servers and storage and networking capabilities — we get to work with these companies and understand what they're doing, how they are using technology, what trends are out there in the market. We work with the software companies since they build platforms; we build software and optimize it on Intel's platforms. An example would be VMWare. Very early on, we worked very closely with them and they worked with our teams and our product folks to make sure that their suite of products runs the best on Intel platforms.
ExecutiveBiz: What are some of the professional milestones you've set out to achieve this year?
Greg Clifton: I don't necessarily approach my job looking at personal milestones to hit. We've got a lot of milestones from a company perspective that we are trying to march toward, and I'm working hard on those areas. We have three key pillars within the federal space where we are trying to assist agencies. The biggest being security and helping the government understand what Intel is doing to build security inside of our technology so that at a basic hardware level, you've got security built into these platforms. Helping them secure the edge devices and servers is one of the ways they can help protect the data, protect the network and, in general, be more secure.
Intel is also very involved trying to help with telework and making sure government can effectively allow their workers to do telework. There are some things that we do to make sure that from a technology perspective and even from security and policy, at least our part of the technology can enable them to do that to be more effective. We are certainly working in the area of cloud, which everybody knows right now is big in government to make sure that we're at the base infrastructure layer ““ building virtualization technology, security technology, to help lay the foundation to allow for efficiencies, performance and security within the cloud.
ExecutiveBiz: How do you see cloud security evolving?
Greg Clifton: One of the things that we're doing is making sure that at that base hardware level, there is a level of trust. Intel Trusted Execution Technology, which is in clients and servers, ensures that when your platform boots you've got a known good state and a trusted platform and no malicious software has found its way onto your system. We're taking that to the next level in our virtualized environment. If you've got a farm of servers when you bring a new system online and want to do a live migration, you go through that same process to make sure that you've got a known good state and that boots up in a trusted environment allowing enterprises to create secure pools of virtualized servers.
The other thing we are doing is at the end point, so today the way most folks are going to access their applications and services in the cloud is through some type of client device typically today that is a PC ““ we are bring technology to market for tablets and smartphones as well ““ but PCs are still the primarily vehicle for accessing the network, data, and tools for doing our jobs. We're building security technology into those PCs, the same kind of capability where you've got Trusted Execution Technology for a known good state. We are also looking at client aware clouds, where we've written and are providing APIs that cloud providers can put into their environment so that when a user access the cloud the application will actually be smart enough to know if they are on a PC, a tablet, a netbook or a smartphone to make sure the end user gets the best possible experience and the apps and services are optimized and delivered to take advantage of the platform that they are on. We see it as an end-to-end solution, where you've got to have security at all levels to make sure you are secure in that environment. We are also working to make sure that Intel architecture based PCs and devices provide the best performance and energy efficiency, thereby providing the best end-user experience. We have a roadmap of new and existing technologies and solutions that will be coming to market over the next few years that will build on and increase the performance, energy efficiency, security, mobility and usability of our products.
ExecutiveBiz: Those were all of the questions that I had. Did you have anything that you would like to add?
Greg Clifton: Intel is very focused on security, mobility and providing secure and optimal cloud computing, not only to the government, but to industry as a whole, as well as education and healthcare. That is one of the areas that I don't specifically work with as much, but Intel's got a whole focus on the education and healthcare environments and trying to make sure we bring technology and capability to bear to solve some key problems in those areas. There are some other areas as well in the defense space where we bring our embedded technologies to play. It’s a subset of our regular roadmap to make sure that in those areas where you need size, weight and power capabilities, you can deploy using your standard off the shelf Intel architecture based platforms at the right type of form factor, right type of size, weight and power, as well as working with industry to make sure that those systems can withstand the requirements for rugged extended temp and things like that that are needed in that embedded space for a tactical environment, airborne vehicles and different solutions like that. We are really trying to help our DoD government customers across the spectrum of not only enterprise but their mission systems and tactical environments and platforms that support the warfighters.
Intel truly is and is becoming more of a solutions company providing capability across the compute and communications spectrum including both Hardware and Software. Thanks for your time and if anyone wants more information feel free to check out www.intel.com or send me an email at [email protected]