What is Pivotal? EMC and VMware want it to be your platform for building big data apps

Pivotal is just getting started, but it's in a crowded field

Pivotal is a company to watch. The spin-out being led by former VMware chief Paul Maritz has assembled technology from EMC and VMware as well as a variety of open source platforms.

Pivotal wants to be the place where enterprises build big data analytics apps for cloud-like infrastructures. To do that, Pivotal offers a variety of application development tools, data management products, and analytics intelligence platforms, all of which can run on a customer's premises, or in a variety of public clouds. And Pivotal is just getting started.

[MORE CLOUD: Microsoft Azure biting on the heels of Amazon's cloud ]

Pivotla's platform

It's young - just six months old - but Pivotal already has a number of products and services on the market, and its vision is ambitious. With backing from big-names tech companies, combined with a $100 million investment from GE, Pivotal hopes to make some noise in the cloud, big data and application development circles.

On the applications front, Pivotal uses the Spring Framework to help customers create Java applications. On the data side, EMC's Greenplum data storage system has been integrated with Hadoop. And to make these applications run in cloud environments, Pivotal has the open source Cloud Foundry application development project.

Pivotal tools can help customers manage big data, build applications using that data, and then analyze it. Pivotal helps customers build these applications by supplying app development experts if needed, and they're meant to be able to run on customers' own premises or on a variety of public clouds.

I recently met with the Pivotal executives, who say more announcements will be coming down the pipeline, specifically around advancements to integrating the company's various initiatives together into a single productized offering named Pivotal One.  

Even though it's young, the company says it already has $300 million in revenue and big-name clients like SouthWest Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange, not to mention GE. It's a lot of pieces coming together, but Dave Menninger, Pivotal's head of business development, says the company has the backing of an enterprise technology company with the agility of a startup.

It's a big vision, but it will be going up against big competitors too though. IBM, SAP and even Amazon Web Services are all offering tools for managing big data and building applications to serve them. That means this market is only getting more crowded, not less. 

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and NetworkWorld.com. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022