Project Acadia and a Live, Multi-Cloud Innovation Ecosystem

The American business author Ken Blanchard once said, “None of us are as smart as all of us.” At VMware, that collaborative spirit is ever-present in something we call co-innovation, a foundational mindset, and method for transformation and change. Our track record of building in tandem with our partner ecosystem speaks to the efficacy of the approach. Not only are we smarter together, but we are able to take advantage of a larger resource pool, a greater diversity of perspectives, and of course, accelerated time to market.

In that vein, VMware Partner Solutions Engineering (PSE) is excited to share Project Acadia. This initiative will enable us to co-innovate with partners, creating a continuous expansion of multi-cloud, multi-partner solutions. Project Acadia aims to enable VMware to incubate joint SaaS offerings with its global technology partners. Assets developed under Project Acadia include proof of concepts (PoCs), reference architectures, live and recorded demos of cross-cloud services, and other assets that demonstrate the interoperability and mobility of VMware services. Project Acadia also aims to improve the customer experience (CX) for VMware SaaS offerings by designing, building, and elevating CX, while communicating feature gaps/ requirements back to our engineering and design teams.

A fragmented and disjointed experience

We embarked on a discovery journey to establish an ecosystem of SaaS offerings within a genuine multi-cloud environment that could showcase a comprehensive suite of VMware products and services end-to-end. After conducting months of research, we discovered the lack of a comprehensive environment as business units typically build piece parts of multi-cloud based on their product portfolio. This results in a fragmented and disjointed multi-cloud experience for customers.

We also discovered that we were not alone in feeling this pain. Our sales engineers have goals to provide demos of full stack from on-prem to any cloud (AWS, Google, AVS) within one demo environment. They had to settle for different disconnected environments that can consume months to procure, resulting in angst and delayed deals.

Likewise, our design team relied on YouTube walkthroughs and internal experts from specific services to get an overview of the end-to-end process, which is time-consuming, cumbersome and doesn’t provide a complete picture of necessary CX improvements.

It was clear that the lack of a cohesive multi-cloud environment not only created challenges for our customers but for internal VMware teams as well.

Benefits of a live, multi-cloud environment

We internally at PSE have made that cultural transformation from siloed development to a continuous delivery model by implementing a live multi-cloud environment that is always available with the latest VMware SaaS and subscription services, resulting in increased velocity and improved end-to-end CX. This has reduced the turnaround time from months to hours or even a few days when deploying a new PoC, solution, or use case.

Project Acadia is solving these problems by creating a live multi-cloud environment that is always available with the latest VMware services. This environment is available to R&D teams focusing on developing workflows and sales teams in charge of demonstrating cross-cloud services to customers and global partners.

The live multi-cloud environment has several benefits, including:

  • Increased velocity: R&D teams can now develop and test new workflows more quickly, which leads to faster time to market for new products and services. Per our Central IT organization, Project Acadia’s product/output (like reference architectures, etc.) would act as a basis for developing these capabilities in support of our on-prem service providers and tenant stakeholders. Central IT could also use these established integrations to POC/Demo this functionality to our external customers.
  • Improved CX: with improved visibility, design teams and product managers can develop better end-to-end workflows of the customer journey from trial to activation, deployment, and consumption, focusing on Day 0,1,2 experience and overall LCM (life cycle management).
  • Reduced costs: VMware can now reduce the costs associated with maintaining multiple multi-cloud environments.
  • Sales enablement: Sales teams are in charge of demonstrating cross-cloud services to our customers and global partners.
Overview of Project Acadia’s multi-cloud architecture

Some assets developed on the Project Acadia multi-cloud environment:

Another mindset valued by VMware’s Office of the CTO is that of continuous calibration. Project Acadia is still in development, and who better to provide constructive feedback than users of the technology? In an effort to ensure Acadia’s features were striking a chord with its intended audience and to gain insights to finetune further, we asked early adopters for their input. Here’s what we heard:

“With our current demo capabilities, we are only able to cover the on-prem Solutions like VCF [VMware Cloud Foundation] and VCF on VxRail, but once we are talking about VMC on AWS or other cloud-based solutions, we are not able to demonstrate that, and need to involve either AWS or GCVE/AVS Team. This normally includes multiple different demo environments to continue. Goal is to demo the full stack from on-prem to cloud no matter what solution (AWS, Google, AVS) within one demo environment.”

Sales Architect, EMEA (European, Middle Eastern, and African region)

“We’re relying on YouTube walkthroughs and internal experts from the specific services to get an overview of the end-to-end process. But the process of finding the videos or even tracking down folks who have the necessary knowledge to provide an expert overview has been cumbersome. So, we’re hoping the Acadia walkthroughs would help streamline this and make it easier to understand the customer point of view on the day 0/day n experience of these products.”

Designer working on next-generation unified console

What’s next for Project Acadia?

The PSE team is hard at work expanding the capabilities of the live multi-cloud environment and making it more accessible to VMware R&D and sales teams. The next big step is to make this live multi-cloud environment available to global partners, an opportunity to amplify its impact across our partner ecosystem. This will further enable customers and partners with a comprehensive and seamless multi-cloud experience. Project Acadia is a key part of VMware’s “Cloud Smart” strategy and yet another example of why we’re widely considered a leader in the multi-cloud sector.


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