Lars Rabbe has been riding a tiger. As CIO for Yahoo the last three years, Rabbe had to deal with the rapid growth and scaling of the Web portal's IT and infrastructure services. Today, Yahoo has about 10,000 employees and over 500 million monthly visitors that touch systems under Raabe's command. Prior to the Churchill Club event, "The CIO Agenda 2006: Building the New IT," I interviewed (podcast here) Rabbe about managing Yahoo's massive scale and complexity, and how he uses some of Yahoo's services to run the company.
Yahoo CIO Lars Raabe
Raabe didn't provide a lot of specifics about Yahoo's infrastructure or IT operations, other than that the company has hundreds of thousands of servers in datacenters around the globe. On the subject of Yahoo's growing suite of customer facing software services, Raabe said, "I don't really see a sharp area between products offered to the outside world and what we do for inside users," Raabe said. "Granted a lot of the products created are aimed at individual consumers, but alot can be used internally."
He said that Yahoo is mostly running open source software, but has deployed Oracle, Siebel and other traditional ERP software to run business operations. The company runs a combination of its own email and Microsoft Exchange, but plans to move toward the new Yahoo Mail as its standard. I also asked Raabe to give his take Web 2.0, SOA, software-as-a-service, Java vs. .Net, blogs and the new class or lightweight enterprise applications. Prior to joining Yahoo in June 2003, Rabbe was the CIO of Redback Networks and has also worked at Lucent Technologies, Fidelity Investments and NeXT Computer.