Hosted service provider 8x8 has partnered with VCE, the Virtual Computing Environment company formed by Cisco and EMC, in an effort to expand the range of cloud-based services it offers to enterprises.

At the crux of the strategy is 8x8’s acquisition of a Vblock, the pre-fab, pre-tested, ready-to-go infrastructure unit that combines compute, network, storage, virtualization and management technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware and is designed to help service providers and enterprises move quickly into virtualized deployments. That, combined with 8x8’s recent acquisition of provisioning platform developer Zerigo, form the basis of the company’s strategy to expand on its current hosted VoIP and infrastructure-as-a-service offerings, said Huw Rees, VP of business development for 8x8.

“The Vblock is the next step to us providing more virtualized services,” Rees said. “We also wanted to make provisioning simpler, so the acquisition of Zerigo was critical to that. Zerigo will provide all of the front-end provisioning on the Vblock to let us take advantage of instantaneous turn-up of services.”

8x8 will continue to focus on the small to mid-sized businesses it has traditionally targeted—25,000 business customers as of March—even as it expands to serve larger customers, Rees said.

“We’ve been receiving more inquiries from larger enterprises and government,” he said. “We started to notice that as a trend, so now we are moving up-market a bit.”

Looking ahead, 8x8 will continue to seek entry into new services sectors, both by organic creation and by acquisition, Rees said.

“We’re always looking to see what else we can offer as a cloud-based service,” he said.