Cisco, EMC, VMware get joint cloud-computing venture rolling in Asia

Cisco Systems, EMC and VMware hope to soon sign the first Asian customers for their cloud-computing partnership and Acadia joint venture.

On Tuesday, the three companies announced a broad partnership, the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) coalition, that will develop integrated cloud-computing products called Vblock Infrastructure Packages including servers, networking, storage and virtualization software for data centers. The partners also established a joint-venture company, Acadia, which will build, operate and then transfer data centers based on Vblock to customers.

"We have some number of customers that we've agreed on between the three companies and we're calling on them now. In fact, a few of them have already reached a handshake level with us and we believe they will become early adopters of Vblock and of this new entity that we're bringing out, called Acadia," said Steve Leonard, president of EMC Asia-Pacific and Japan, during a phone interview.

The three partners are counting on the combination of highly integrated products and Acadia, as a single entity that ties all three companies together, to win over Asian customers looking to replace their legacy data centers with a virtualized computing environments.

As with much of the overall partnership itself, specific details of how Acadia will operate or what its Asian operations will look like have yet to be determined. The companies are still searching for a CEO to head the venture, which is expected to employ 130 people worldwide when it's up and running.

Traditionally, the build, operate and transfer (BOT) model has been used as a way to finance the construction of large infrastructure projects, such as power stations and highways. Under the BOT model, suppliers finance and build a project and recoup their investment from cash flows generated by the completed project over an agreed period of time.

While Acadia's BOT services will offer financing for customers, the joint venture is also meant to meet customer demand for accountability when building complex systems that use products from different companies.

"We've found the feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive," said Andre Smit, managing director of data center sales at Cisco Asia-Pacific, saying the partnership between the three companies gives them "end-to-end vendor accountability."

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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