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Amazon Vs. Pivotal: 5 Reasons Maritz Beats Bezos In Big Data Battle

In the battle for big data, CRN looks at five reasons why the new EMC VMware backed Pivotal is going to beat Amazon in the big data applications and services market.

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The big data battle between Amazon and Pivotal officially gets underway this week when Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz formally launches the new EMC-VMware-backed Pivotal. The new venture represents a huge bet by EMC and VMware to usher in a new era of big data business applications and services.

Up until now, Amazon has dominated the Web services market. Here are five reasons why Pivotal and Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz are going to beat Amazon and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in the big data applications and services market.

No. 1: Pivotal Is Open - Amazon Is Closed

Maritz is building a company that is founded on the principle that the new era of big data applications and services should be cloud independent. Bezos has built a company built on the premise to lock in consumers and businesses at every turn. Try getting out of an Amazon cloud once you've built an application on top of Amazon's Web Service. It may not be impossible, but the cost and pain of breaking out of the Amazon cloud makes it prohibitive.

That's what you call cloud lock-in. Amazon uses proprietary Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). "We don't want to make it so when you write an app in Amazon you are condemned to pay Amazon a tax for all eternity," says Maritz. "So we think the industry has to evolve a layer that is open and cloud independent. That is what we are doing with Cloud Foundry which is open and open sourced."

NEXT: A Business-Focus Vs. Consumer-Focus


No. 2: Maritz Is Business-Focused - Bezos Is Consumer-Focused

Maritz is focused on redefining the business big data application and services experience. Bezos is focused on the consumer experience. Amazon refers to itself as being the "Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online" and offering "customers the lowest possible prices." Does that sound like a business that a business would want to do business with?

Make no mistake about it: CEO focus and commitment counts. On that score, Maritz wins hands down. Pivotal's existence as a company -- with all of its 800 employees from EMC, 600 employees from VMware and a combined $300 million in expected sales -- is focused on big data business applications and services. Bezos is running a $61 billion e-commerce behemoth. Amazon does not even break out the Web services part of its business. Some estimate the business accounted for $1.5 billion in sales in 2012. The Web services business is a mere dilettante distraction for Bezos.

No. 3: Pivotal Is The Operating System For The Cloud - Amazon Is Back-End Technology For A Retail Business

Pivotal is being built from the ground up to build big data business applications and services ecosystem that could best be described as the operating system for the cloud. "If infrastructure as a service is the new hardware, we are the new OS [operating system] on top of it," says Maritz. Amazon Web Services, meanwhile, has been built from the ground up to be a back end for Amazon's e-commerce business. That's a big difference. Amazon Web Services was constructed for Amazon to run its own business. Pivotal is being constructed from the ground "to enable customers to build a new class of applications, leveraging big and fast data."

"This isn't about just doing some small experiment on the side," says Maritz. "We are trying to do something that will have a huge impact on hundreds of thousands of businesses 10 years from now." That reference to a "small experiment on the side" is just what Amazon Web Services is for Bezos and company. Amazon, in fact, characterizes the Web services business as providing "Amazon's developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon's own back-end technology platform." The trap door for Amazon customers comes when the Amazon "back-end technology" interests collide with the interests of customers looking to build robust and agile big data business applications and services.

NEXT: Technology Assests And Channel Strength


No. 4: Pivotal Has Better Technology Assets Than Amazon

No doubt Amazon had a lead here with cloud compute, storage, database and even the Redshift data warehouse. But, line up the technology assets on both sides of the balance sheet and compare flexibility, agility and the ability for businesses of all kinds to incorporate both legacy data and next-generation unstructured data, and it is no contest: Pivotal wins hands down.

Amazon makes it easy for startups. Pivotal makes it easy to do business -- period. The Pivotal product set includes EMC's Greenplum next-generation database/analytics platform; VMware's vFabric cloud platform (including Spring and GemFire), Cetas analytics software, the Cloud Foundry platform as a service and of course a big data software development tool called Pivotal Tracker used by 240,000 developers worldwide and a blue-ribbon big data customer list that includes Twitter. Take that Amazon.

No. 5: Pivotal Is Services And Channel Strong - Amazon Is Services And Channel Weak

Pivotal is being built from the ground up to build a partner network that will build big data applications and services that are customized for specific businesses. That includes a robust partner network and a commitment to solving big data business problems across specific vertical market segments.

"The more vertical expertise you have the better off you will be," says Maritz, advising business partners on how to succeed in big data. "The thing to do is to connect good knowledge of a vertical area to what these underlying [big data] capabilities can do. And so how do we help our customers prosper in their business domain and connect it to what is becoming an emerging [big data]] platform underneath them."

In contrast, Amazon is interested in plugging in businesses with as little service, support and customer touch as possible. Try getting Amazon Web Services on the phone. Do you really want to trust your business to someone that won't pick up the phone?

PUBLISHED APRIL 23, 2013

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