Former VMware CEO Maritz to lead new EMC and VMware spinoff

Cloud services company Pivotal will compete against Amazon, other service providers with collection of big data and analytics technologies

If you've been wondering what former VMware CEO Paul Maritz has been doing for the last eight months or so, last week the proverbial cat was let out of the bag. Maritz has been acting as chief executive of a new entity called Pivotal, a San Francisco-based cloud services company being spun off from a combined collection of EMC and VMware technologies and developers.

After being replaced by Pat Gelsinger as CEO of EMC-owned VMware last July, Maritz was given the title "chief strategist" at EMC, a role many believed to be a temporary placeholder on his way to becoming heir apparent at EMC, if and when Joe Tucci steps down as CEO. When Gelsinger took over the reins at VMware, Tucci explained it was time to move on to the next phase of cloud computing and solving the problems of the post-PC era where there was a tremendous opportunity around data and new products.

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Maritz said that moving on from VMware would give him the freedom to think about some of these new application-oriented opportunities and address two of those very big opportunities: cloud infrastructure and what you can do on top of that cloud infrastructure.

Evidently, eight months was just the right amount of time needed for Maritz to get things kicked off. Last week, ahead of the formal announcement planned for April 29, the two companies unveiled their new Pivotal spinoff as a well-financed and technology-rich competitor to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other cloud service providers such as Rackspace, GoGrid, Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM.

Pivotal believes there is a significant opportunity to provide thought and technology leadership, not only at the infrastructure level, but also across the rapidly growing and fast-moving application development and big data markets. To answer that challenge, it has united strategic technologies, people, and programs from EMC and VMware.

The new company will provide an enterprise-class cloud computing platform and infrastructure that combines technology from Greenplum, EMC's big data analytics and data warehouse division; Pivotal Labs, EMC's application development environment which provides SQL queries on top of Hadoop data handling; analytics startup Cetas, which provides fast analysis of Hadoop data; VMware's vFabric middleware suite and tools such as GemFire and Spring, used for building and running data-intensive Java applications; and VMware's Cloud Foundry cloud computing platform.

Pivotal said its customers and partners are looking for solutions that enable a new generation of increasingly mobile and data-centric applications that can exploit the data center of the future. Pivotal aims to accelerate existing efforts in this area to create a unified and focused endeavor around a common mission, road map, and strategy.

Maritz described that mission in a letter to employees, saying the goal is "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 those applications on privately operated clouds rich in EMC and VMware products. But Pivotal plans to package its software, so it can be used with other clouds as well, including Amazon EC2. Pivotal data management will be made available for use in a variety of other cloud settings, and according to the company, it will not be dependent on a proprietary VMware system.

To maintain its industry-neutral approach, Pivotal will become its own independent company, with its own board of directors, management team, and employees. As an independent company, Pivotal will not be confined to an EMC- or VMware-centric focus, which should give the newly formed company the room it needs to grow and compete in a highly disruptive market.

As a leader who has done it before, Paul Maritz is clearly the right person to lead this company into such an ambitious undertaking.

This article, "Former VMware CEO Maritz to lead new EMC and VMware spinoff," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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