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

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Whatever benefits Amazon has reaped from its early Web services innovation, all the big data participants acknowledge that it is only the first inning of the big data game. What's more, they say, the ability to rally service providers and corporate customers to build big data business services and applications on a new platform should not be underestimated. Maritz has, in fact, already proved he can make it happen multiple times-with independent software developers building applications on Microsoft's Windows and Windows Server and then at VMware getting service providers to deploy VMware clouds.

"Maritz is a change agent brought in to literally attack the new decentralized business leader model and provide business units with an open choice on how to consume and manage their data," said Jamie Shepard, regional vice president, North America for Lumenate, a Dallas-based national solution provider making a significant investment in the big data arena. "Maritz is not a hardware person. He grew up as a Burroughs COBOL programmer. The first keyboard he touched was to write custom code to help an end user. He's all about creating something end users need to run their business. He's all about end-user experience, ease of use and producing business results. At Pivotal he is going back to his roots, which is helping end users make money.

"Customers want choice," said Shepard. "And business unit leaders demand choice. At Lumenate we call it 'business model flexibility.' That is what Pivotal and Maritz are going to bring to big data applications. Maritz knows the only way he will be successful is if the business leader is successful. Maritz grew up in a consumer-driven IT world. Now he's providing new consumer-like experiences for businesses as if they are consumers, which they are."

John Thompson, a 41-year industry veteran who was formerly the CEO of Symantec and now is at the helm of Virtual Instruments, a San Jose, Calif.-based infrastructure performance management company, said anyone betting against Maritz is going to come up a loser. He credited Maritz with an uncanny ability to craft a technology vision and get it executed with "real product, real service and people capable of articulating and making it happen. People love to follow a winner, and Paul is a winner. He is going to get a lot of people who want to be on his team.

"He is one brilliant, brilliant guy," continued Thompson. "If he has an idea I wouldn't bet against him. Look at the track record. He put Microsoft on the map with all the work he did around Windows Server and all the enterprise stuff Microsoft has now. By the way, that is the strongest and fastest-growing part of Microsoft's business today. That is the legacy of Paul Maritz today. Look at VMware. [VMware co-founders] Diane Green and her husband Mendel [Rosenblum] were brilliant people. But the real afterburners that got VMware going was when Paul Maritz went in and said, 'This is how we are going to focus and drive growth in this company.' He did a brilliant job. Odds are he is going to be pretty doggone good at Pivotal given his track record. I would never bet against Paul Maritz."

Maritz, ever the humble technologist, doesn't hesitate when asked if Pivotal represents a so-called pivotal moment in the computer industry. "I would like to think that 10 years from now, we could look back and you and I could rub our bellies," he said. "But nothing is guaranteed in life. That is one of the hardest things I have learned: It takes a lot of hard work."

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