(A previous version of this story reported Sakac’s title as CEO; his correct title is president.)
VCE was originally a joint venture also involving Cisco and VMware. Cisco sold most of its stake to EMC in 2014; EMC now runs VCE and, as of today, is making it one of the EMC Federation companies: the EMC Converged Platforms Division.
Since 2012, former Cisco executive Praveen Akkiraju had been CEO of VCE, so Sakac’s appointment removes one of the vestiges of Cisco’s participation. Akkiraju will continue working for EMC as an advisor to David Goulden, CEO of the company’s information infrastructure.
Sakac was previously president of EMC Global Systems Engineering, and he’s been a frequent stage presence at major EMC and VMworld events. But he might be better known for appearing in EMC rap parodies and hosting the Chad’s World series of demo videos. He’s also one of the founders of v0dgeball, a charity dodgeball tournament that takes place every year just before VMworld.
VCE’s converged infrastructure was originally designed around EMC storage, VMware server virtualization, and Cisco’s servers and networking — its Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI).
The joint venture served Cisco well as a springboard for its Unified Computing System (UCS) server line, helping Cisco become the fifth largest server vendor overall. UCS is still on the rise; Cisco’s server revenues grew 13 percent in the third quarter of 2015, while the server market overall grew 7.5 percent, according to Gartner.
But tensions between Cisco and EMC/VMware increased steadily during the past few years, possibly prompting Cisco to distance itself from VCE. The official story behind Cisco’s divestiture is that VCE needed to stop being torn between instructions coming from the Cisco side and the EMC side — and there’s probably some truth to that.
Cisco has now struck out on its own in converged infrastructure. The UCS M-series lets users vary the proportion of storage and computing in a system, opening the door to what’s now being called composable infrastructure. And CRN reported this week that Cisco is working on hyperconverged infrastructure with the help of software startup Springpath.
Cisco still owns 10 percent of VCE. VMware, which is an EMC subsidiary, owns a miniscule amount.
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