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VMware and EMC align forces in cloud application development, big data

VMware and EMC's new Pivotal Initiative combines the two companies' cloud application development and big data efforts under a new organization.

VMware and parent company EMC will create a new "virtual organization" called the Pivotal Initiative to realign their collective big data and cloud application platforms.

Some 1,400 employees from EMC Corp.'s Greenplum and Pivotal Labs organizations, VMware Inc.'s vFabric (including Spring and Gemfire), Cloud Foundry and Cetas organizations will move under the new initiative. The organization will be led by former VMware CEO Paul Maritz.

Speculation surrounding this spin-off organization has swirled since Maritz stepped down as CEO in July. Amid renewed rumors of the move last week, partners and analysts debated whether it would be a good one for the two companies.

Paul Maritz certainly has the passion and skills to take this business forward, but the same business challenges remain no matter what organizational structure picks up responsibility for it.

Al Hilwa, program director for applications development software at IDC

"It's early in the market, and having a dedicated sales force that isn't subject to the political whims of the business owners who own the big revenue drivers for VMware, that's not a bad thing," said John Treadway, vice president of Cloud Technology Partners LLC, a cloud services provider and a VMware partner.

However, Treadway also wondered if a new organization would lose the cachet of the two parent companies and their strong relationships with enterprises.

"They're not the only ones out there doing this, and so the chances of them having a really huge win and being able to leverage their purchasing relationships that they have within the large enterprises, that's what they may be potentially missing by doing this," Treadway said.

"The CloudFoundry, SpringSource, and other app dev tools organizations have been second-class citizens within VMware, targeting very different customers -- application developers -- than the rest of VMware's business -- IT shops," said Shlomo Swidler, CEO at Orchestratus Inc., an IT consulting firm.. "Creating a new top-level division of EMC underscores the company's commitment to application developers."

But the new division could face the same challenges as any other startup in this space, despite the big names overseeing it, according to IDC analysts. It will compete with other companies in the application development space ranging from Windows Azure and Amazon Web Services to startups like CloudBees and DotCloud.

"VMware has been trying to figure out how to monetize the technology, give that much of it comes from open source roots," said Al Hilwa, program director for applications development software with IDC in Seattle, Wash. "Paul Maritz certainly has the passion and skills to take this business forward, but the same business challenges remain no matter what organizational structure picks up responsibility for it."

There is not expected to be any impact to existing agreements or committed support. Customers and partners can continue to buy products and services as they normally would from both companies without interruption during this alignment, according to a VMware FAQ

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for and Write to her at or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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It is great to see a focus on App Dev in the cloud and while what will come from the Pivotal Initiative has yet to be seen, we are already seeing large strides from enterprises who have leveraged the cloud and a cloud management platform to achieve DevOps. No longer just a concept, cloud management platforms with integrated release management are speeding the path to DevOps and delivering competitive advantage today. We’ve found that when dev, test and QA can perform their work in a self-service, on-demand, production-like environment, they are able to leverage cloud resources to make DevOps (and more importantly its benefits) a reality. When dev no longer has to worry about configuring application stacks and administering underlying infrastructure and platforms, teams can spend more time coding and delivering operation-ready applications that have direct impact on the business today. Here is a great example: