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Monday, April 1, 2013

EMC’s Amazon Challenger Comes Out

A well-financed competitor to Amazon Web Services became official Monday.

Pivotal, a company spun out of assets of EMC and VMware, two tech companies each with billions in revenue, became an independent firm, ahead of a formal introduction on April 29.

Paul Maritz, Pivitol’s chief executive, who long held senior positions at Microsoft, left a position as chief executive VMware to organize and run Pivotal. EMC, a big maker of data storage technology, owns a majority stake in VMware, which makes software for the efficient construction of data centers.

Pivotal has drawn talent from both companies, in particular a division of EMC specialized in data analysis and prediction, and another group that works on writing software applications within cloud computing.

In a letter to employees, Mr. Marit talked about Pivotal’s goal “to enable customers to build a new class of applications, leveraging big and fast data, and do all of this with the power of cloud independence.” Those applications would be running on privately run clouds rich in EMC and VMware products.

That potentially profitable aim is joined by a very real fear of the growing power of Amazon Web Services. By running the world’s largest public cloud, Amazon has lowered the demand for products at both EMC and VMware. People can rent the computing they need at the time on Amazon Web Services, or A.W.S., rather than buying and maintaining large amounts of equipment.

A.W.S. has also built up an increasingly large and varied selection of software applications, lowering the need for companies to own lots of computing assets.

Mr. Maritz’s last great act at VMware was spending $1.26 billion on a networking software company that needs a lot of private clouds to succeed. Pivotal, if it can supply lots of cloud applications and services faster than Amazon can make them, could be a way of ensuring that future.

The real trick, still unseen, will be showing what Pivotal can offer that is faster, more inspiring, and cheaper than A.W.S.