For all those enterprise IT aficionados who were wondering what former VMware CEO Paul Maritz has been doing the last seven months as the ostensible CEO-in-waiting at EMC, well, now you know.
Maritz, who was given the rather generic title of "technology strategist" when he resigned at VMware in August 2012 after a highly successful four-year run, has been serving as chief executive of Pivotal, a San Francisco-based Web services company rebuilt from portions of EMC and VMware.
Pivotal has repositioned its business under the new owner to be a potentially powerful competitor to Amazon Web Services and a number of smaller service providers. The formal launch event is set for April 29. Maritz has been tinkering with the company, identifying new business values and setting new goals for the last six months.
EMC acquired the Web services startup in March 2012 for terms that weren't specified at the time. Businesswise, Pivotal is something akin to VCE (for Virtual Computing Environment), an independent virtualized systems startup founded in 2009 and backed by powerhouses Cisco Systems, EMC, Intel and VMware.
Highly Regarded Development Management Tool
Pivotal's project management tool, Pivotal Tracker, is currently used by about 250,000 developers around the world. EMC has continued to invest in Pivotal Tracker to build out its capabilities, and now it believes Pivotal is ready to challenge the big guys in the Web services space.
This not only means AWS, of course, but other established players such as Rackspace, GoGrid, Joyent, Microsoft Azure, IBM BlueCloud, Dell Cloud and HP Cloud.
Pivotal has brought in developers from both EMC and VMware—including a whole EMC group specializing in predictive data analysis and another that develops software applications for cloud computing.
In a letter to Pivotal employees, Maritz described the company goal: "to enable customers to build a new class of applications, leveraging big and fast data, and do all of this with the power of cloud independence." Naturally, the idea is for customers to run their Pivotal clouds using EMC storage and VMware cloudware.
Can Pivotal Pivot into a Strong Market Position?
Does Amazon and the Web services sector need another competitor? Of course they would say no, but it's a big Internet world out there. With the financial and development muscle of EMC—a $50 billion per year company—and VMware (nearly $5 billion), to go with the know-how and experience of Maritz, Pivotal stands as good a chance as any to make a real mark.
One supposes that in the marketplace of the Tier 1 Web service providers, with all things being relatively equal, it might simply come down trust and security. EMC, with its RSA Security arm and its generation-old data protection background, brings a lot to the table with Pivotal in that case.