Cisco, EMC joint venture makes progress

A month since its introduction, the joint data center venture between CiscSystems Inc. and EMC Corp. is percolating with activity before it starts business in the first quarter.

Called Acadia, it’s being formed by the two companies to accelerate the adoption of technologies forged from the Virtual Computing Environment coalition, of which Cisco, EMC and VMware are developing pre-integrated compute, networking, storage and virtualization systems. These so-called VBlocks are intended to allow channel partners to easily sell and integrate simplified data center and private cloud computing packages to customers.

Acadia’s role is to wrap the VBlocks in the training and consulting services needed to initially build and operate the VBlock infrastructure, then transfer it to the partner.

The Acadia board is made up of Howard Elias, president and chief operating officer, EMC Information Infrastructure and Cloud Services; Gary Moore, Cisco’s senior vice-president of advanced services; Rob Lloyd, Cisco’s executive vice-president of worldwide operations; and Mitch Breen, EMC senior vice president, global channel strategy and sales.

Sources say Elias is chairing the board but he would not confirm that. He has help from Moor, though, in leading Acadia for the time being.

“The two of us have really sponsored the work to get Acadia formed and beginning to stand up,” Elias said. In addition to the formation of the board and management team, employees are being hired, Elias said. Acadia will employ 130 and begin operations in early Q1.

The venture is not only looking for “the best and brightest” from the parent companies but also recruiting from across the industry, Elias said. Elias said Acadia’s opportunity is “substantial and unique” – enabling existing channel partners to easily and broadly implement private cloud computing infrastructure to increase their own opportunities. “We’re offering this intellectual property that Acadia is creating to our partner ecosystem so that they can then deliver and help accelerate the adoption of those VBlock packages by our customers,” he said.

He says the company’s challenge is to meet high expectations. “There’s a lot of interest and demand out there, talk of ‘What does this mean? How do I get access, proof of concept?’ We’re going to have to hit the ground running in Q1 to be able to start to fulfill some of this interest and demand. It’s about setting expectations all around, ” Elias said.


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