The wait is over

Pivotal launches, promising “new era” enterprise-class PaaS

Chris Mayer
paul-maritz

The silence is over – what is the grand plan for Cloud Foundry and Spring middleware? Paul Maritz has the answers.

After several months of speculation, Pivotal finally made its big splash
yesterday, revealing its ambitions to bring “next generation”
technologies to the mainstream enterprise.

At a press conference, CEO Paul
Maritz outlined
his the vision for the
company
,
newly formed
from cloud and Big
Data
projects spun out of VMware and EMC.
The new
melting pot
“platform” 
Pivotal One will include open source
PaaS Cloud Foundry, Spring technologies, analytics tool Cetas and
Pivotal HD, the company’s boosted Hadoop distribution formed from
Greenplum parts, which launched in February.

However, Maritz claims that
the Pivotal stack will be
infrastructure-agnostic, intimating that Pivotal One technology
will run on Amazon Web Services and OpenStack as well as other
private and public clouds.

“We’re building a new platform for a new era,
bringing consumer-grade capabilities to the enterprise,” Maritz
told those gathered in San Francisco

Concrete technical details on how the
technologies would unify under one huge platform were scant, as was
pricing information. Maritz mainly used the event as a sounding
call to the enterprise. Given that the company was only formed four
months ago, this was to be expected. Pivotal VP Scott Yara did
however say that the pieces of the Pivotal puzzle would be
available in “less than 6 months”.

Just prior to the announcement, Pivotal also
secured its first big investor, with General Electric pumping in
$105m for a 10% stake – news which will likely cause infrastructure
rivals Amazon and Microsoft to sit up and take notice. The
investment will see the duo “enter into a broad research and
development and commercial agreement” to create new analytics
services for GE’s customers.

Pivotal’s opening gambit is pretty bold,
aspiring to offer
Google-like
services in one box
. But there is plenty which
needs to be clarified. How exactly will they be allowed to act as
an operating layer on a competitor such as Amazon Web Services for
example? Pivotal is independent from VMware and EMC, but the two
still hold a 90% stake. Would vendor-lock in be avoided entirely,
when the agendas of both could come to the floor?

The lack of any integration technology is
another concern for Pivotal, as noted by
Gartner VP Yefim
Natis
.

“Integration of data, applications, cloud and
Web services, partners and event streams is an essential element of
any such environment. Pivotal will find that its customers demand
that capability,” the analyst said in a press release.

Natis added that without focus for mobile or
social technologies, Pivotal cannot support “some of the most
active areas of recent innovation”.

“An application infrastructure company in 2013
can hardly claim the mantle of an innovator without an investment
in all four components of the Nexus of Forces.”

There’s plenty of work ahead for Pivotal One,
joining together the plethora of technologies in one platform and
filling the gaps, let alone persuading others of its worth. GE’s
backing however shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially with Pivotal
holding a valuation of $1bn before it has even launched a
product.

Image courtesy of Dell’s Official Flickr
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