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The billion dollar startup – from the former VMware boss Featured

Pivotal plans to do to cloud what virtualisation did to the data centre.

Not many new companies begin with over 1000 employees and investments from major corporations that value the company at over $1 billion before it has sold a product.

But there is such a company. Its name is Pivotal, and it is based in California (where else). Its plans are nothing if not ambitious. At its launch last week it announced Pivotal One, a “next-generation enterprise Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that integrates new data fabrics, modern programming frameworks, cloud portability and support for legacy systems.”

Pivotal has investment from EMC and VMware, as well as a strategic stake of around $100 million from industrial giant GE, which intends to use several of Pivotal’s technologies as a standard to develop new applications that support its vision of the sensor based ‘Industrial Internet’. GE says it believes it can save $150 billion by introducing sensors to industrial processes – ‘where Big Iron meets Big Data.’

The company will be headed by Paul Maritz, who the forer CEO of VMware, one of the most successful IT companies of the last decade. “It is clear that there is a widespread need emerging for new solutions that allow customers to drive new business value by cost-effectively reasoning over large datasets,” said Maritz at the launch.

“We are ingesting information that is rapidly arriving from multiple sources, writing applications that allow real-time reactions, and doing all of this in a cloud-independent or portable manner,” said Maritz.

“The need for these solutions can be found across a wide range of industries and it is our belief that these solutions will drive the need for new platforms. Pivotal aims to be a leading provider of such a platform. We are honoured to work with GE, as it seeks to drive new

Maritz said Pivotal One will be the first platform to integrate new data fabrics, modern programming frameworks, cloud portability and support for legacy systems. “Changing market forces of cloud, big data, mobile, and social have driven a need in the enterprise to create a new class of applications that deliver better user experiences. Pivotal will provide the platform to address this need and is uniquely positioned to capitalise on the estimated $8 billion addressable market that is expected to grow to $20 billion in five years.”

Pivotal’s products will come from VMware and EMC, mostly from technologies those companies have acquired in recent years. The following EMC and VMware products and services are now part of Pivotal: Greenplum, Cloud Foundry, Spring, Cetas, Pivotal Labs, GemFire and other products from the VMware vFabric Suite. Most of Pivotal’s staff are specialists in these product areas.

Components of the Pivotal One platform include:

  • Pivotal Data Fabric - provides integrated data services with Apache Hadoop, the most cost-effective and flexible open source data platform. With enterprise data services like HAWQ and Pivotal in-memory data grid technology, Pivotal HD provides proven technologies for analytical queries and transactional environments.
  • Pivotal Cloud and Application Platform – based on Cloud Foundry, the open source PaaS, and Spring, the most popular application development framework for enterprise Java.
  • Pivotal Expert Services – delivers the business value of agile development and sophisticated data analytics to enterprise companies on a project-by-project basis.
  • Open Source Support - Collaborative and customer-driven open source support and co-development.

Asia Pacific General Manager is Mellissa Ries, a business intelligence specialist who came to EMC through the Greenplum acquisition. She told iTWire that she was looking forward to introducing the company and its products to the region, mostly through leveraging existing relationships with VMware and EMC customers. The company will initially operate out of EMC’s offices in the Sydney suburb of St Leonards.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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