The Next Step in the Journey

on Monday, March 22, 2010

This week I took the next step in a journey. In taking a role with Cisco, I'm going to be part of a team that is attempting to do something that has never been done before in the IT industry, nor am I aware of it happening in any industry.

Let me step back and provide some context. Three years ago, Cisco began looking very seriously at the concept of Cloud Computing and the potential impacts on not only their business but the way computing would evolve over the next 5-10 years. At the time many strategies were being conceived, including both acquisition-centric and partner-centric models. One of the strategies that emerged was a combination of acquisition, investment and partnership. This strategy is called the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) coalition. Building upon the acquisition of Nuova Systems, the investment in VMware (majority-ownership by EMC, minority-ownership by Cisco), and the partnership with EMC, the VCE coalition was created to help companies rapidly evolve their Data Centers. The output of the coalition is a new set of technologies (Secure Virtualization, Unified Computing, Unified Management), a new set of products (Vblocks), and a unified Sales/Service/Support model.

While it's common for IT vendors to partner together, what the VCE Coalition is trying to accomplish is quite unique and what ultimately attracted me to the role. VCE is attempting to create a model whereby Sales, Marketing, Engineering and Operations from all three companies appear to customers and partners as a single entity. In essence, a virtualized M&A model on a global scale, for customers that want to operate their corporate computing resources (Data Center) as a "virtualized Private Cloud".

My role at Cisco will be to lead a virtual (global) team of Consulting Engineers focused on the Pre-Sales and Architecture of Vblocks. The virtual team will be made up of vExperts from Cisco, EMC, VMware and the joint-venture Acadia.

The challenges of this next step on the journey will be significant. It will require an ability to communicate a broad vision, to work across the virtual team and our partners, and to execute in ways that haven't happened in the IT industry before. It's the right time in my career to take on a challenge this large. It's going to be difficult, but it's going to be fun.