EMC-VMware Spinoff Combines Spring, Gemfire, Cloud Foundry under Maritz

EMC Corporation this week confirmed rumors that former VMware chief exec Paul Maritz, now EMC chief strategy officer, will lead a new corporate spinoff that will manage products from several divisions, including its Spring line of Java products, its vFabric Gemfire data management software and its Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Dubbed the Pivotal Initiative, the new venture will also include EMC's Greenplum big-data analytics group and the Pivotal Labs agile software development tools and services.

In a Q&A-style blog posting on the VMware blog site, Vice President of Global Communications Terry Anderson explained the companies' plan:

VMware and EMC are committing key existing technology, people and programs from both companies focused on Big Data and Cloud Application Platforms under one virtual organization -- the Pivotal Initiative -- led by Paul Maritz, Chief Strategy Officer of EMC.  The companies expect to formally unite these resources by Q2 2013, with a specific operational structure to be determined.

The Pivotal Initiative will address "the wide scale move to cloud computing" and "the rapidly growing and fast-moving application development and big data markets," Anderson wrote. 

Paul Maritz passed the reins of VMware to incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger in August at the annual VMworld conference in San Francisco. Maritz led the VMware division of EMC for four years.

"Software-defined datacenter" was the buzzphrase of that conference. "Corporate data centers will look like those big public clouds," Maritz explained. "We're trying to pool all the technology, including server virtualization, management, a user portal and, increasingly, storage and networking, which you need to build your own cloud."

The software-defined data center aims to make IT infrastructure more efficient and agile by extending virtualization and abstraction to the storage and networking portions of the datacenter. EMC/VMware sees its new venture as a means of delivering it.

"By realigning resources within the Pivotal Initiative," Anderson wrote, "VMware can more fully focus resources on delivering the software defined datacenter, the de facto infrastructure at the heart of cloud computing, and on end-user computing -- two areas where we see tremendous opportunity for growth."

VMware acquired SpringSource, the chief commercial sponsor of the open-source Spring Framework, in 2009. That acquisition is responsible, at least in part, for the Spring Framework's expansion into management, runtimes , and non-Java development tools. VMware acquired data management vendor GemStone that same year with plans to use that company's GemFire enterprise data fabric to give developers using the Spring Framework the infrastructure necessary for emerging cloud-centric applications. The company launched the latest version of its vFabric GemFire in-memory data platform in November 2012. That release brought new features to the platform aimed at making it easier for Java developers to build apps that process massive volumes of data and scale within the cloud.

Rod Johnson, who wrote the first version of the open-source Spring Framework, and later co-founded, SpringSource to support it commercially, left his position as senior vice president and general manager of VMware's SpringSource product division in July.

Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based EMC is the world's largest maker of storage computers. The company acquired a controlling interest in VMware in 2004.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].