VCE Taps Cisco Veteran As New CEO


VCE, the joint venture of Cisco and EMC focused on the tightly integrated converged data center stack Vblock, named a top Cisco executive to be its new CEO.

Praveen Akkiraju, a 19-year veteran of Cisco and most recently Cisco's senior vice president and general manager, Services Routing Technology Group, will be taking over leadership of the VCE company and joining VCE's board.

In a statement, VCE said Akkiraju is joining VCE as an "extension" to the VCE management team that already includes President Frank Hauck, who also is joining the VCE board.

[Related: VCE Intros New Higher-End Vblock, Integrates EMC Data Protection]

VCE has been without a CEO since company Chairman Michael Capellas moved out of the CEO position he was named to in 2011 and into his current role.

"As the company continues to accelerate its business, product and market expansion, Praveen brings an ideal combination of business and technical experience that will enable VCE to meet growing customer demand for its products and solutions," Capellas said in a statement Thursday.

VCE was formed in 2009 as a joint venture of Cisco and EMC with buy-in from VMware and Intel. Its product is the Vblock, a prevalidated, vendor-approved stack consisting of various Cisco server and networking, EMC storage and VMware virtualization products and services. Solution providers working with VCE -- it had 153 partners as of May 2012 -- chase Vblock deals and pass along customer requirements to VCE, which builds the infrastructure according to those requirements and promises delivery of the full "data center in a box" in 30 days.

Akkiraju's hire is significant in that it marks the first instance of a major Cisco executive stepping in at a company management team heavily dominated by former EMC executives. In interviews with CRN last July and this past spring, Rob Lloyd, Cisco's executive vice president, worldwide operations, said Cisco would be taking a more active role in managing VCE and would continue to invest in the venture.

Akkiraju's oversight of Cisco's Services Routing Technology Group included management of its Wireless Networking Business Unit, Application Delivery Business Unit and Enterprise Routing businesses. In previous roles during nearly two decades at Cisco, Akkiraju was heavily involved in Cisco's carrier-grade routing platforms, having managed all of the major releases from Cisco's 800 series up through its current CRS-3 Carrier Routing System.

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