Distinguished Alumni Awards

David W. Yen

David W. Yen

For his technical and business ingenuity in growing and expanding industry leaders in storage and micro processing.

Retired SVP and GM for Data Center Business Group, Cisco Systems

  • BS, 1973, Electrical Engineering, National Taiwan University
  • MS, 1977, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois
  • Ph.D., 1980, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois

David Yen has over three decades of knowledge, expertise, and passion for engineering excellence. He has served in key leadership roles for Sun Microsystems, Juniper Networks, and Cisco Systems before retiring in 2014. He remains involved in the industry as both an angel investor and a technology business advisor.

Early in his career, Yen worked for both IBM Research and TRW, where he served in various engineering roles. He later went on to co-found and serve as Director of Hardware Development for Cydrome, a mini-supercomputer startup company. He has also served as a technology partner at El Dorado Ventures.

Yen spent over 20 years at Sun Microsystems, where he served in a number of executive roles, including Executive Vice President of Microelectronics and Executive Vice President of the Storage Group.  He led the development of Sun’s first and second generation multi-CPU SMP servers, which transformed Sun from a workstation company to a leading enterprise server company.  As head of Sun’s Microelectronics group in 2001, he turned around their declining SPARC business by introducing the industry’s first 8-core, 32-thread general purpose processor in 2005, and developing it into a multi-billion dollar business.  As the manager of the company’s storage group, Yen strengthened its ability to deliver comprehensive, storage solutions and end-to-end information management solutions to its growing $65 billion market.

From 2008-2011, he was the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Fabric and Switching Business Group at Juniper Networks, where he was responsible for Juniper’s switching business, and led the development of QFabric, an innovative one-hop data center network. 

For the next three years, Yen was the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Data Center Business Group at Cisco. Cisco’s data center business is a $7+ billion annual business, which includes data center switching, servers, storage, virtualization, and hybrid cloud technologies.  He was responsible for continuing the success of the Cisco Unified Computing System from about $700 million in annual revenue, to more than $2.7 billion dollars annually.

Yen earned the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois in 2008. In addition to his degrees from Illinois and National Taiwan University, Yen completed a general management program at Stanford Business School and holds three U.S. patents.