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Summary:

With its newly minted Pivotal Initiative, EMC and VMware are cordoning off key technologies to attack the big data and cloud application spaces. Paul Maritz, EMC’s chief strategy officer and former VMware CEO, will spearhead this effort.

Paul Maritz - CEO, VMware - Structure 2011

At long last here it is: The long-simmering  VMware-EMC spin-off that is. The Pivotal Initiative will focus on bringing resources from the two parent companies to bear on big data and cloud application platforms, according to a statement from the companies

The effort, to be led by Paul Maritz, who was the former VMware CEO and then transitioned in the fall to EMC’s chief strategy officer, will be formalized by the second quarter of next year.  Although not mentioned here, former Pivotal Labs CEO Rob Mee is expected to play a key role as well. The spin out will include technology and people from:

  • EMC’s Greenplum data analytics group
  • Pivotal Labs agile development
  • Cetas analytics services
  • VMware’s vFabric (including Springsource Java frameworks and GemFire data caching
  • VMware’s Cloud Foundry Platform-as-a-Service

As GigaOM has reported, this move will allow the semi-independent organization to focus on the cloud application stack — using Spring, Gemfire etc. and will leave VMware, now under CEO Pat Gelsinger, to concentrate on its core server virtuaization business — which is profitable but is also seeing increased competition from Microsoft Hyper-V, and Xen and KVM open sourcerivals.  And the spinoff will also bring EMC, a legacy storage hardware maker, more credibility in the booming big data and cloud space.

There are lots of questions still. It’s not clear where other “non-core” VMware businesses like Zimbra and Socialcast end up, for example. So, stay tuned.

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  1. Interesting and shows the need for Big Data to be a much broader solution than just Hadoop or MongoDB. The reality behind the hype of Big Data is that it takes several capabilities working together to answer Big Data’s call. For starters, analytics, connectivity and integration, event processing, and BPM/workflow.

    We weigh in on this ecosystem here: http://successfulworkplace.com/2012/10/28/big-data-must-not-be-an-elephant-riding-a-bicycle/

    It will be interesting to see if EMC/VMWare have the chops to become a platform play as it changes culture and sales strategy significantly. Some companies can make the turn while others can’t.

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