Since Pivotal was spun off from VMware, taking CEO Paul Maritz with it on the way out the door, the question has been, “What exactly will Pivotal sell?” While the company has already introduced its Spring IO platform, today it introduced Pivotal One, an enterprise-packaged form of the Cloud Foundry PaaS, coupled with other tools, such as Pivotal’s distribution of Hadoop, the Pivotal AX analytics package, and the message queue RabbitMQ.
James Watters, head of Cloud Foundry at Pivotal, said that Pivotal CF can be installed behind the firewall in half an hour when used with VMware’s vSphere to reconnoiter a data center or cluster. He said this installation, coupled with some enterprise-focused features added by Pivotal, are what make this version of Cloud Foundry ready for business use.
“We do have a value-added console on top of it for developers to do role-based access control and team management,” said Watters. “Cloud Foundry is a Pivotal-sponsored project right now, but we really do want to take a highly open-source approach to the product we sell, too. We package that virtual product with Pivotal CF and the developer console and enterprise update.” The enterprise update feature allows enterprises to consume patches on a quarterly basis, rather than at the frenetic pace of many open-source projects.
Pivotal One also supports Pivotal’s distribution of Hadoop, which uses the SQL-like interface Hawk, which is based on the Greenplum query engine. Watters said Pivotal HD will be easy to install when coupled with Pivotal CF.
John Rymer, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, said that Pivotal has built its business up well so far, but it is now in the phase of growth where it simply has to execute on all of its visions and promises.
“[I]t comes down to execution. That’s where they’re at,” he said. “They’ve done some good business development things, like their agreements with GE and IBM, but it’s time to execute. That’s not sexy, but it’s crucial.”
Rymer also said that Cloud Foundry and Pivotal are getting a lot of attention right now, but this does not necessarily translate to capability and sales.
“They’re certainly out there selling it, but it seems like it’s in the early stages of adoption,” he said. “I would certainly exercise a lot of caution and put it through its paces to make sure it scales, and to make sure the integrations are there between the various services. It’s one brand, but there are different services.”
Pivotal’s enterprise PaaS offering is entering a muddled market, where smaller PaaS players have already been pushed by the wayside by Amazon and Microsoft. Rymer said Pivotal’s real competition in this space seems to be Red Hat’s OpenShift platform.
“Some of the smaller [PaaS companies] are just not getting a lot of adoption,” said Rymer. “We’ve done surveys on this, and you can see in the survey results that there was a little bit of a lull in interest, but there’s now an uptick in interest in Cloud Foundry and in Red Hat’s offering, OpenShift.”
Rymer said that the appeal of an enterprise PaaS is in the “on-premise market, and OpenShift is playing the same card. The market for these private offering has developed much, much more slowly than the public ones.”