Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz @ Cloud Foundry Summit—Building a Lasting, Valuable Contribution for the World

July 16, 2014 Adam Bloom

featured-CFSummit-Maritz“I’ve learned over the years, that if you can get a well-functioning [quality], open ecosystem to really be built on a secure foundation, and have the means for many to participate and benefit, then you can do something incredibly powerful.”

—Paul Maritz, Pivotal CEO

This quote is from CF Summit this past June where Paul Maritz gave a short, 10-minute welcome—a reflection on where Cloud Foundry has been and where it’s going. Given his background and experience, we think the sheer volume of powerful concepts outlined here is worth reading many times—Maritz really explains much of the core values and beliefs about Cloud Foundry and it’s success to date.

Joined by a myriad of fantastic PaaS-oriented speakers and presentations, Maritz covers several things—the story of how Cloud Foundry was born, big technology shifts underpinning the PaaS ecosystem, recipes for successful technology foundations, applications in the Post-Paper Era, and the major themes at the CF Summit.

Cloud Foundry’s Birth and Two Big Shifts

To start, Maritz explained that, three years ago (2011), the concept of Cloud Foundry was presented as a project. With a motivation and belief by many, including the leadership from VMware and EMC, Maritz explained how the Cloud Foundry team began their journey and highlighted two key shifts driving the Cloud Foundry solution.

First, open source had become an extraordinarily effective way to develop software and a solid approach for building a standard platform, such as Linux. In his prior life Maritz had driven the development of proprietary servers for decades, and he saw open source thriving and competing very effectively. So, the vision for Cloud Foundry was about an open, standard, pragmatic platform for many people to build on. As a platform, it would offer an alternative to services like Amazon Web Services and encompass these platforms as well.

Second, he highlighted the importance of the ecosystem, how it was coming together, and how each group could participate in the virtuous cycle of solving customer problems. He described it as a process that connects us—developers build apps and use software services, software companies provide services on the platform, and service providers host public, private, and hybrid clouds as operating platforms. If these three communities could come together and cooperate, they would make the pie bigger for everyone.

Cloud Foundry and Successful Technology Foundations

Maritz then switched gears to describe the characteristics of laying a solid foundation as a community.

He explained that foundations are critical to long-term success. As one cornerstone, he asked each developer to focus on producing a quality solution that can stand the test of time because low quality things get thrown out when something better comes along. Two, he explained the importance of a secure foundation—that security is important as a technology attribute and also to those who are investing in the technology. They are making a decision and taking a risk with money on the line—so, security cannot be short-sighted. In his words, “We never short change these two particular attributes.”

In addition, he covered how important collaboration is—that participating developers should by mindful of the importance of meaningful participation and contribution—working together in harmony. While many others like the idea of a benign or benevolent dictator, there is a balance, and the important factor is ensuring architectural integrity no matter the leadership model. The architecture must serve the community, not a single leader. The wisest approach is functionality from the contribution of many—that this is more powerful than any proprietary system. He went on to thank all of those who have participated, contributed, and helped to structure governance.

Maritz then underscored the importance of open collaboration, “I’ve learned over the years, that if you can get a well-functioning, open ecosystem to really be built on a secure foundation, and have the means for many to participate and benefit, then you can do something incredibly powerful.” The measurement of success is that we have a lasting foundation to build on—something that is a valuable contribution to our industry for years to come. While we talk a lot about the location of computing—on or off premise—that it is an important attribute, and we have to get it right, Maritz explained that getting these things right, is important. In other words, Cloud Foundry does provide abstraction and portability, but getting it right, really right, is what will allow us to create truly transformative applications.

Cloud Foundry and Apps in the Post-Paper Era

Moving from platforms to applications, Maritz explained that we are now beginning the journey in the “Post Paper Era” of application development. Since software was invented, most of the development has been about transforming something from paper to digital.

As we look ahead, we are capturing systems, sensors, devices, and people in the act of doing something and giving feedback in a real-time context. If you are doing this today, you are defining the future.

However, it is not really possible to do this on existing, legacy infrastructure—it doesn’t work. We need to solve the PaaS problem to unlock and unleash applications that change the world.

“There will be fruits from this journey if we all give back more than we take out of the system. This is why I am particularly passionate about this [Cloud Foundry] and want to do something important for the world,” Maritz said, speaking from the heart.

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