Exclusive: VCE coalition to grow as independent company

Storage giant rules out local data centre in favour of plans to ramp up partnerships in Australia

EMC president of Asia Pacific and Japan, Steve Leonard, launches the company's first SMB storage array.

EMC president of Asia Pacific and Japan, Steve Leonard, launches the company's first SMB storage array.

A joint venture between EMC, VMware and Cisco formed to garner data centre contracts will this year grow as an independent company, with plans to commit staffing and resources separate from the individual companies.

Since its formation in 2009, the Virtual Compute Environment (VCE) coalition - also known as Acadia - has garnered lucrative private Cloud and data centre contracts with Lockheed Martin in the US as well as Optus and NBN Co. The coalition was formed to gain more business in a private Cloud market the companies believe will be worth $85 billion by 2015.

However, so far contracts have been negotiated and signed as three distinct companies providing a single solution; the NBN Co contract, for example, was largely an agreement with Cisco.

EMC Asia Pacific president, Steve Leonard, told Computerworld Australia that future strategy included focusing on VCE's independent staff and resources.

A spokesperson confirmed the company was incorporated in Australia as a legal entity, but inquiries at ASIC do not yield any registered companies under either Virtual Compute Environment (VCE) or Acadia.

“It’s not a marketing campaign, it’s not a hope and a dream; it’s a real business, a real company,” Leonard said this week. “So what we’re looking at now is what do we put in there in terms of additional staffing, what additional resources do we put into that, in order to let it grow and grow and grow.”

“What we’re talking about is how much more should we shift into VCE as a company in Australia in order to make sure that’s alive and well.”

VCE already retains dedicated staff in the US, with 125 LinkedIn users attributing their employment to the company, rather than the independent companies that make up the venture. The coalition is led by Michael Capellas, who reports to EMC chief executive, Joe Tucci, and Cisco chief executive, John Chambers.

(See EMC’s Innovation and Development Centre in Singapore)

Leonard said the use of one company to approach market would help to win business over competition, and provide better servicing.

“What we’re trying to do is position Vblock as an architecture, and VCE as a company that can bring that with one support number, one architectural campaign, and we think that if we can do that faster, we think we can win,” he said.

“We want to be the guys who help put the engines in the data centres."

According to Leonard, contract negotiations have already begun with VCE as a single entity in Australia, with expectations further contracts will be signed over the next 12 months.

However, he ruled out plans to build a local data centre through the coalition, despite plans from HP, Fujitsu and other competitors to provide local Cloud services as a means of evading data sovereignty concerns in Australia.

The lack of an EMC-owned data centre effectively eliminates plans to offer services such as Mozy without partners.

“We want to be the guys who help put the engines in the data centres,” Leonard said. “What we don’t want to do is be one of the guys that’s standing up their own infrastructure and competing with [them].

“I would suggest some of the other firms are having their cake and eating it too. I want to try and keep a clean sheet.”

Leonard’s comments came after EMC announced the VNXe family of products, the first time the company has entered the small business storage market.

James Hutchinson travelled to Singapore as a guest of EMC.

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags VMwareemcAcadiaVCECisco and EMC (VCE)Steve Leonard

More about Australian Securities & Investment CommissionCiscoEMC CorporationFujitsuHewlett-Packard AustraliaHPLockheed MartinOptusVMware Australia

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