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Apcera Taps Data Center Vet to Drive Strategy

Data Center Of T-SystemsData Center Of T-Systems

Apcera has named Mark Thiele, a respected data center guru, as its new chief strategy officer. Thiele spent the last five years as an executive vice president and evangelist for Switch, which runs massive data centers in Las Vegas and Tahoe, Nev.

Folks who follow data center technologies and/or cloud computing have probably read Thiele’s posts on tech sites over the years. I can say from personal experience that he is good at making complex technologies understandable to mere mortals.

That’s a talent that may come in handy for four-year-old Apcera which offers a product or platform that is inherently difficult to understand.

The Apcera platform helps companies apply management policies to software applications running on different clouds or on internal data centers. In theory, it will ensure that only authorized people can log onto a given system, for example. One ambitious goal is to ease compliance and regulatory concerns and ensure that companies can “trust” their IT infrastructure.

Or, as Thiele told Fortune, the technology provides flexibility and control. “It gives a company the ability to know what workloads you’re doing, who puts them there, who has access to them, what cloud they’re on and whether they’re test or production. It can ensure that they are secure and will only be used for the purposes they’re meant for,” he said.

Some background: Apcera was founded in 2012 by Derek Collison, who had spent years working on Cloud Foundry, software development and deployment technology that is now backed by tech giants like EMC (EMC) and VMware (VMW) through their Pivotal spin-off; IBM (IBM), and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Cloud Foundry is known in tech speak as a “platform as a service,” a tool developers use to build, test, and deploy corporate applications.

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Collison felt more was needed and Apcera is the result. Ericsson (ERIC), the gigantic Swedish supplier of mobile telecom gear, bought an undisclosed majority stake in Apcera two years ago. Collison claimed Qualcomm (QCOM), JetBlue (JBLU), and NextSource as Apcera customers.

But he acknowledged the problem of selling a complicated product. “Six months ago we were still in the mode of driving technology for technology’s stake,” Collison noted. To help with that Apcera brought on Jay Stephenson, a VMware sales exec, as senior vice president of global sales, a few months ago. And now it has Thiele to help tell its story as well.

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Thiele will work on strategy but also to tell Apcera’s story in a way to better illustrate its value to customers, Collison said.


This story was updated at 9:39 a.m. EDT to reflect that Apcera’s product is no longer called Continuum.