Pivotal: All Systems Go

April 2, 2013 Paul M. Davis


Pivotal, the new company uniting EMC Greenplum’s decade of big data R & D, agile development trailblazers Pivotal Labs, and VMWare’s cloud services and app framework acumen, is ready to launch. In a letter to employees sent Monday, April 1st, CEO Paul Maritz announced Pivotal as “a new and exciting company with great promise,” and outlined the Pivotal vision. In the letter, titled “Pivotal: One Team. One Platform. One Company,” Maritz wrote:

As you recall, on December 4, 2012 we shared with you our intentions to bring together products and people from EMC and VMware to form a “new entity” in an effort to pursue a unique opportunity in the marketplace. On March 13th, we publicly outlined our intentions to the analyst community. We knew that getting this far would take effort and we still have much work to do, however, at this time I would like to recognize everyone’s hard work, patience, and spirit that has brought us to this day. Thank you.

When I think of Pivotal, one word consistently comes to mind: privilege.

We are all privileged to have the opportunity to work on a big and important idea: 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. Building a new platform for a new era is an incredible challenge and opportunity. If we can succeed we will have something to be rightly proud of.

On April 29th, Pivotal will launch, promising a unified platform to enable “the consumer-grade enterprise,” boasting robust data analytics and applications fabrics, cloud independence, and the tools and skills to develop customer experiences in a rapid, iterative fashion. For the time being, you can learn more about Pivotal at gopivotal.com, and get more details in the Pivotal FAQ.

In an interview with CRN, Maritz emphasizes the cloud independence aspect of the Pivotal platform:

“‘We don’t want this world to be like the bad old days of the mainframe: when you wrote a COBOL CICS app, you were condemned to pay IBM (NYSE:IBM) a tax for all eternity,’ said Maritz, who is slated to publicly unveil the Pivotal Initiative in an April 29 press conference. ‘We don’t want to make it so when you write an app in Amazon you are condemned to pay Amazon a tax for all eternity.’”


“Thus, Pivotal is aiming to deliver a platform as a service on top of a wide array of infrastructure-as-a-service offerings, from Amazon’s EC2 Web Service to Microsoft’s Azure and other platforms too. ‘If infrastructure as a service is the new hardware, we are the new OS on top of it,’ said Maritz.”

“‘At the end of the day, we intend to be a platform provider,” said Maritz. “I hesitate to use the word [OS] because it isn’t a really good analogy, [but] we want to provide the operating system for the cloud era.’”

Some additional responses in the press:

EMC’s Amazon Challenger Comes Out | NYTimes.com

“Pivotal has drawn talent from both companies, in particular a division of EMC specialized in data analysis and prediction, and another group that works on writing software applications within cloud computing.

“In a letter to employees, Mr. Maritz talked about Pivotal’s 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.’ Those applications would be running on privately run clouds rich in EMC and VMware products.


“Mr. Maritz’s last great act at VMware was spending $1.26 billion on a networking software company that needs a lot of private clouds to succeed. Pivotal, if it can supply lots of cloud applications and services faster than Amazon can make them, could be a way of ensuring that future.”

EMC, VMware Love Child Pivotal Poses Challenge to AWS | eWeek

“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.”

The Pivotal Initiative – Aiming for the PaaS Crown | SYS-CON MEDIA

The Pivotal Initiative will aim to deliver the market a data analysis platform capable of capturing large volumes of data, quickly addressing and querying it and then producing near real time answers that can be stored in a large scale-out storage system. It would be naïve to think this is an initiative aimed just at existing VMware customers. This is an attempt to not only enter but also become relevant in the software led infrastructure arena that competes with the likes of Amazon.

“In essence the Pivotal Initiative is a brave yet necessary move from both EMC and VMware to embrace the challenge of change as the legacy of traditional infrastructure faces the daunting prospect of new software paradigms. Whether the Pivotal Initiative can be successful and achieve it’s $1bn rate in its projected five years depends on a number of factors. One thing is certain is that the first challenge to remaining relevant in the IT industry is to acknowledge and adapt to change. The masters behind the Pivotal Initiative have already achieved that.”

EMC: Big Strides Ahead | Seeking Alpha

“The Pivotal venture is expected to be spun-off in the future and possibly made a public company, majority-owned by EMC (69%). It is expected to accrue $1 billion in revenue by 2017, according to this presentation. I believe this new development will help accelerate growth prospects for all these three entities.”

And some of the reactions on Twitter:

Pivotal: A New Platform for a New Era. Ready. Set. #gopivotal gopivotal.com Not much to say, but I like the promo

— Doug Henschen (@DHenschen) April 1, 2013

Day 1 of Pivotal: A New Cloud Platform for a New Era. Ready. Set. #gopivotal gopivotal.com

— Brent Byrnes (@Brent_Byrnes) April 1, 2013

Learn more at gopivotal.com.

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