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EMC, VMware To Form Pivotal Business Unit

VMware and its corporate parent EMC next year will form a new business entity, called Pivotal, that brings together the two companies' respective cloud platforms and products that enable the processing of big data. It's not clear whether the companies are spinning these assets off outright or how they will structure the new organization. VMware said it will formally announce the business structure next quarter. So far, we do know that the unit will be led by Paul Maritz, the former VMware CEO and current EMC chief strategy officer.

Pivotal will aim to provide a common entity for developers to build applications that run on VMware's various platform as a service (PaaS) offerings as well as software that analyzes huge volumes of data. Pivotal is scheduled to begin operations in the second quarter of next year.

Approximately 600 VMware employees and 800 from EMC will be assigned to Pivotal, which will include the Pivotal Labs, the provider of agile software development tools it acquired in March that lets developers build apps that can scale to cloud infrastructures using big data. Pivotal will also include EMC's Greenplum data warehouse appliance business.

VMware's contribution will include its vFabric (including Spring and Gemfire), Cloud Foundry and Cetas. It appears the vCloud Suite will remain part of VMware, as indicated in a blog post published Tuesday by senior VP of communications Terry Anderson.

"The resulting Pivotal Initiative solutions will be optimized for the VMware vCloud Suite, helping to ensure that customers benefit from the best cloud architecture available, top to bottom," Anderson said. "Simultaneously, 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."

The announcement and rational of the move were vague, though numerous reports have speculated that the company has considered some form of spinoff such as its open source cloud PaaS venture Cloud Foundry. VMware is not commenting beyond Anderson's blog post.

"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," she noted. "Aligning these resources is the best way for the combined companies to leverage this transformational period, and drive more quickly towards the rising opportunities."

Forrester Research analyst Dave Bartoletti said in a blog post IT pros should welcome the move, which will refocus VMware on the datacenter and on furthering its push into software defined network virtualization.

"This move helps to end the cloud-washing that's confused customers for years: there's a lot of work left to do to virtualize the entire datacenter stack, from compute to storage and network and apps, and the easy apps, by now, have mostly been virtualized," Bartoletti wrote. "The remaining workloads enterprises seek to virtualize are much harder: they don't naturally benefit from consolidation savings, they are highly performance sensitive and they are much more complex."

Analyst James Staten, Bartoletti's colleague at Forrester, noted in his blog by moving their cloud platform offerings to a separate business, EMC and VMware will be in a better position to appeal to developers. It's "way too soon to speculate on the end results but this could help EMC play a significant role in cloud development services," Staten said. "Hopefully this new group will focus on cloud-based delivery and not build its business model around on-premise software license sales."

The news came just one day after VMware released new tools to ease the procurement and reach of cloud apps using its vCloud Suite. The company's vFabric Application Director 5, announced earlier this year, gains support beyond traditional VMware environments, notably Amazon Web Services EC2 public cloud and Microsoft's Hyper-V virtual machine platform.

The latest version of vFabric Application Director is aimed at easing the deployment of hybrid cloud applications via certified VMware-approved templates and various tools including middleware, data management and security software.

"It allows us to take the exact same [infrastructure] blueprint, deploy it onto vSphere, vCloud or Amazon EC2 without having to change anything," explained Shahar Erez, VMware's director of applications management products. "This gives organizations the flexibility to leverage their blueprint across clouds without being locked in."

To provide these various blueprints, reference architectures and OS-loaded templates for vFabric Application Director, VMware launched its Cloud Applications Marketplace. Erez said the marketplace already hosts 100 downloadable solutions from 30 ISVs and systems integrators. Among them are solutions from Bluelock, Cognizant, Couchbase, Jaserpsoft, Puppet Labs, Radware, Riverbed and SugarCRM.

"You would find load balancers, firewalls, WAN accelerators SSL accelerators, applicaiton servers, databases, message queues and memcaches," he said, as well as "applications for blogging, content management, bug tracking and cloud provisioning blueprints available with a single click."

VMware this week also released its vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.6, which adds application performance and configuration management capabilities and is designed for rapid configuration of virtual machines, Erez said. VMware is offering the performance management capabilities of the Operations Management Suite as a separate download with all versions of VMware vSphere.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/05/2012 at 1:14 PM


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