CRN Exclusive: Paul Maritz's Plan To Take Over Big Data

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Maritz has only been directing Pivotal for barely more than four months, but he is already making believers of the big data cognoscenti.

Ron Bodkin, founder and CEO of Think Big Analytics, a three-year-old Mountain View, Calif., solution provider that has an established big data solutions track record including work with Nasdaq on an Amazon public cloud project, said a number of large customers already are adopting the Pivotal technology for big data solutions. "It's resonating with companies that are looking to have a large trusted supplier stand behind big data with an end-to-end solution," said Bodkin. "We have seen a number of large enterprises that have made major decisions to move with it, but there is certainly a lot of adoption with alternatives that have been on the market longer [too]."

EMC and VMware's decision to create a separate company with a huge investment has allowed Pivotal to move faster to capture the big data opportunity than other old-guard IT infrastructure giants, said Bodkin. "It's a good business strategy," he said. "It's a response to the innovator's dilemma in large companies where the field sales teams know traditional technologies and they make more money selling them so they tend to emphasize that even if there is a new product like an Hadoop distribution or an [Hadoop] appliance. Pivotal is a whole business focused on this new opportunity. It's important to have focus in this new market to be successful. It's definitely a situation where you need to have that kind of bold sponsorship to create value. The challenge is that the laser-focused, innovative startups are moving really fast. You've got an interesting fight between companies with more resources and bigger organizations versus nimble, laser-focused startups. The winner here is ultimately the customers, which are going to get the best results from the innovation that comes from the competition."

EMC and VMware partners that up until now have looked at the big data opportunity as a holy grail of sorts are putting in place strategies to win in what is being hailed as the next major paradigm shift in information technology. To make sure that the Pivotal partner initiative gets traction, the company has brought over Scott Aronson, a 10-year VMware veteran and the driving force behind building out the VMware channel during an unprecedented era of partner sales growth, into the top Pivotal channel sales role.

Ron Dupler, CEO of GreenPages Technology Solutions, a Kittery, Maine-based national cloud computing solution provider and onetime VMware Partner of the Year, said he views Pivotal as a "logical extension" of the GreenPages business strategy. "This is an extension of the revolution under way from product-centric or infrastructure-centric business models, moving up the value layer of information technology, which is about applications, data and businesses processes. In my opinion, this is the transformation that everyone in our channel is ultimately going to have to make. From our standpoint, Pivotal is a really good bet. They have proven technology coming from VMware and EMC, and Paul is a great steward for this initiative. He is a brilliant business strategist, a thought leader in a new, very exciting space with lots of opportunity. Hopefully, he can do for big data what he did for virtualization and cloud computing at VMware."

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