VMware and EMC today confirmed rumors that have been circulating for weeks that it would spin out its big data and platform as a service (PaaS) cloud products into a new division within the company named Pivotal Initiative, which will be led by former VMware chief Paul Maritz (pictured).
"Customers and partners are looking for solutions that enable a new generation of increasingly mobile and data-centric applications that can exploit the datacenter of the future. The new organization will accelerate existing efforts in this area by the two companies, creating a primary, unified and focused endeavor around a common mission, roadmap and strategy," EMC VP of Communications Terry Anderson wrote in a blog post announcing the initiative.
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The initiative will absorb technology, employees and programs that are scattered throughout EMC and VMware and bring them under one umbrella. These include VMware's Cloud Foundry PaaS, which is an open-source cloud-based application development platform, as well as EMC's big data initiatives named Greenplum and VMware's vFabric middleware suite. vFabric includes both the Spring and GemFire product lines. Spring is an open source Java development framework while GemFire is an in-memory data management tool. Intellectual property that VMware bought from data analytics firm Cetas will also be rolled into the initiative. Anderson notes that products and services developed through the Pivotal Initiative will be optimized to run on the VMware vCloud Suite.
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"There is a significant opportunity for both VMware and EMC to provide thought and technology leadership, not only at the infrastructure level, but across the rapidly growing and fast-moving application development and big data markets. Aligning these resources is the best way for the combined companies to leverage this transformational period, and drive more quickly towards the rising opportunities," Anderson wrote in the blog post. "The Pivotal Initiative signals an entirely new level of focused investment and organization to maximize the impact that these assets can have for customers and EMC's path forward."
Maritz left VMware this summer to become chief strategy officer at EMC and was replaced with former EMC COO Pat Gelsinger, who now heads VMware. Since Maritz's move over to parent company EMC there has been speculation about his next move and today EMC and VMware confirmed that he will lead this new effort. Pivotal Initiative will be formally launched in the second quarter of 2013 with about 1,400 employees -- about 600 from VMware and 800 from EMC.
Spinning out the Cloud Foundry and vFabric product lines from VMware will allow the company to "fully focus" on its software-defined data center strategy, Anderson says. vSphere, vCloud Director and vCenter will be the cornerstones of VMware's products now it appears. "VMware will continue to drive application-aware innovations into its core platform, ensuring best-in-class performance of any application when deployed onto the VMware vCloud Suite," Anderson wrote.
EMC and VMware said the companies will provide additional details about Pivotal Initiative in the first quarter of next year.
Stuart Miniman, an analyst at the Wikibon Project who covers the cloud market, says the move is clearly an effort by EMC and VMware to invest in what could be two of the most important areas in technology moving forward: big data and cloud. "The combination of these two areas could be really powerful," he says. EMC, with its storage background and VMware with is virtualization tools, he says, are in a prime position to exploit that. IBM, HP and even Amazon Web Services, he expects, will be other players in this market.
"I think this really speaks to the maturing of EMC's portfolio," Miniman says, noting that the company will have VMware, RSA -- its security division -- and now this Pivotal Initiative all under the EMC masthead. "Will this be the next big piece of EMC?" Miniman wonders. "It's hard to say, but there are a lot of pieces here and a lot of potential."
Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.