This is a good post on what it means in a SaaS model, but it applies to IaaS as well.
Development and Product management Experience Required
The VP Operations (or whatever title the job carries) is required to be a product manager of sorts, and a background in software development is almost a must. The Operations manager should be highly involved in the product roadmap and insist on having a say in defining future releases. There will be a contention between investing in Serviceability versus Functionality. Since the paying customers require more functionality, it is usually an uphill battle to gain service upgrades to the product.