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When asked if Amazon is Pivotal's No. 1 competitor in the big data market, Maritz replied: "They are one of the competitors. I think there is going to be a bunch of competitors." That includes, Maritz said, technology industry behemoths like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft, service providers like Amazon and venture-backed companies like Cloudera and Hortonworks.
Amazon, which has been stepping up its bid to play in the big data corporate and government market against EMC, VMware and others, did not return a call seeking comment as of press time.
What separates Amazon from the rest of the pack, said Maritz, is they "don't expose an analytics capability to their end customer; they expose a shopping experience that is constantly adapting to who you are and what you are doing."
That is the kind of big data business applications experience that Pivotal is aiming to power with its Cloud Foundry platform. "We are trying to build this cloud abstraction layer and then put the data-centric services on top of that," said Maritz.
"Because we think at the end of the day, big data is not just about analytics," he said. "It is really about driving some experience to a customer and causing them to do things in real time."
Pivotal also plans to pull a page from the playbook of consumer-grade big data platforms like Amazon by building on top of industry-standard Intel processor-based architectures. "The new infrastructure-level clouds, most of which are based on Intel processors, are critical," said Maritz. "Because when you are trying to do things, as I said at a level of scale, automation and cost effectiveness, you need a new generation of infrastructure to do that. And that infrastructure is going to be cloud and x86 based."
So what does Maritz think that means for rivals like IBM and Oracle, which are moving to build cloud platforms on their own IBM Pure-based and Oracle Exadata-based platforms? "You show me one consumer cloud that is built on Pure or Exadata or [IBM] Z Series or anything else," said Maritz, noting that "if you want to be informed, look at what the consumer guys have done. They point to the future."
One source, who is close to Pivotal and requested anonymity, said Maritz is aiming to build a Google-like platform for big data applications. "Paul's vision is to create a Google-like operating system for the enterprise," said the source. "Look at Google's search platform, which enables search and applications and collaboration and sharing. That is what Paul [Maritz] is trying to build for businesses with Pivotal."
The key differentiator between Pivotal's business platform and Google's is that Google attempts to lock customers into its search engine and collaborative products sets, while the Pivotal platform is open, said the source. "Pivotal is trying to create the next evolution of business services by providing a platform that integrates old legacy data with new big data applications and services," said the source.
The source envisions the Pivotal platform making automated intelligent decisions "based on the performance and requirements" of various big data applications "without having to worry about the platform, the hardware or the hypervisor that is being consumed anywhere at any time."