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Pivotal launched from VMware, EMC technologies

General Electric has invested $105 million in the new company

Making good on a promise made in December, VMware and parent company EMC have launched a new company, called Pivotal, to offer an enterprise-ready data analysis platform as a service (PaaS) based on software from both companies.

Pivotal's new services and newly retailored software packages will allow enterprises the ability to replicate the IT operations used by today's "Internet Giants" such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon Web Services, said Paul Maritz, who is the Pivotal CEO and was the CEO of VMware from 2008 until 2012. Maritz spoke in a webcast Wednesday launching the new company.

The new company, Pivotal, also got $105 million investment from General Electric, which plans to use Pivotal's technologies as part of its own set of analysis services to industry.

Today, the large Internet services handle and analyze data far more efficiently than most enterprises do, Maritz said. "If you look at the way they do IT, it is significantly different than the way enterprises do IT," he said. Specifically, they are good at storing large amounts of data and drawing information from it in a cost-effective manner. They can develop applications very quickly. And they are good at automating routines, Maritz said. "They used these three capabilities together to introduce new experiences and business processes that have yielded -- depended on how you want to count it -- a trillion dollars in market value," Maritz said.

To replicate the way these Internet services use IT, today's enterprises will require "a set of new applications that can be easily run on existing substrates," Maritz said. Pivotal will offer a unified platform of a PaaS service and on-premises technologies to make this possible, he said.

The PaaS will run on top of the customer's choice of an infrastructure as a service (IaaS), such as Amazon Web Services, or Microsoft's Azure IaaS service. "We like to think of the current generation of infrastructure-as-a-service as the new hardware," Maritz said.

Taxonomically speaking, Pivotal One will be broken into three sets of technologies. The cloud fabric will be based on the Cloud Foundry PaaS software, which can pull in IaaS services from providers such as Amazon and OpenStack. The data fabric set of offerings will include tools for analyzing data, such as Pivotal's distribution of Hadoop, the Hadoop File System (HDFS), and real-time database services. The application fabric will provide tools for enterprises to quickly build and deploy their own cloud applications.

Pivotal is using a number of technologies developed or acquired by EMC and VMware. From EMC, Pivotal is using the Greenplum data analysis software. From VMware, it will use the Spring Java framework, the GemFire messaging platform, the Cloud Foundry PaaS software, and the Cetas business intelligence software. It will also be using various supporting technologies from the VMware vFabric packages of software to run cloud operations.

In addition to the PaaS, Pivotal also will continue to offer these technologies as stand-alone software packages, for use on premises. Many are rebranded under the Pivotal name. GemFire will be known as Pivotal GemFire, RabbitMQ will become Pivotal RabbitMQ, and so on. The company launched a Hadoop distribution, called Pivotal HD, in February.

Pivotal will use the GE investment to fund additional research. GE also will use Pivotal's data analysis service for its own customers. GE has been ramping up a set of services around what it calls the industrial Internet, where transportation, energy, health care and other industries would benefit from advanced analysis of machine intelligence-generated data.

Incorporated on April 1, Pivotal will have over 1,250 employees, including more than 700 engineers. It will be owned by VMware and EMC, and, with its investment, GE has taken an ownership stake in the company as well. The service is expected to be generally available by the end of 2013.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is [email protected]


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