Red Hat’s efforts to become a dominant force across “cloud computing” as it is across Wall Street financial users just may have suffered a major blow.

Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager of Red Hat’s “cloud” computing business and the former general manager of its Enterprise Linux group, is joining Acronis, a Massachusetts-based firm led by former Red Hat sales leader Alex Pinchev.

Acronis has its own plans to tackle the red-hot cloud space.

Pinchev left Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) last November to take over the startup, which initially launched as a data protection company.

At Acronis, Crenshaw, who is a computer science graduate from N.C. State, will serve as chief strategy officer and chief marketing officer.

“Scott has an invaluable combination of strong vision, leadership, product strategy and business development skill with an unsurpassed understanding of the cloud and virtualization market landscape,” Pinchev said in announcing the hire.

“His proven ability to deliver results in competitive markets makes Scott the perfect candidate to extend Acronis’ reach into the enterprise and leverage the technologies we’ve gained through our recent acquisition of GroupLogic,” he added. “Acronis has a huge opportunity ahead, Scott will be instrumental in helping Acronis to reach its potential.”

The Skinny has asked Red Hat for comment. Crenshaw’s bio and other information was not accessible on Red Hat’s website early Thursday.

Crenshaw “has been considered a thought leader in the cloud space,” said the cloud blog Talkin’ Cloud.

A Red Hat veteran since 2004, Crenshaw played several roles in Red Hat’s growth as a Linux software powerhouse and in the emergence of virtualization technology.

Crenshaw said in an interview with CRN that he would take experience in “building some of the world’s largest clouds to his new role at Acronis,” CRN reported.

“We did some great things at Red Hat,” Crenshaw told the publication. “We changed the industry in a significant way. At Acronis, we can do the same.”

Acronis is tasking Crenshaw with helping development of “secure access, availability and protection” to the cloud. 

In the announcement from Acronis, Crenshaw talked about the challenges to corporate networks by the “BYOD” trend – Bring Your Own Device.

 “IT organizations are struggling to maintain control and relevance as end users introduce iPads®, cloud services and other new collaboration tools that demand access to the network,” he explained.

“When combined with the volume and velocity of data creation, this new BYOD user-led IT frontier presents unnecessary data access, availability and protection headaches. Ironically, technologies for cloud and virtualization, which were intended to simplify, have effected an IT management nightmare. Acronis is well positioned to build on its strong heritage and help organizations maximize the capability of the cloud and the virtual infrastructure.”

Crenshaw at one time was CEO of security technology firm NTRU and vice president of product development at Datawatch. He earned an MBA at MIT. 

At a conference earlier this year, Crenshaw said Red Hat had “absolutely no plans” to provide its own cloud service.

“Red Hat wants to focus its resources in areas where can add the most value and we don’t think we add the most value in the operation of a data centre,” he told The Register. “We have hard skills in helping people do that but where we put our resources are on things that matter to developers and operations people.”

[RED HAT ARCHIVE: Check out a decade of Red Hat stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]