Pivotal Tries To Steal Amazon's Thunder With Commercial Cloud Foundry Launch

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Pivotal, the EMC-VMware spin-off helmed by former VMware frontman Paul Maritz, held its coming out party the same day rival Amazon Web Services convened its second annual developer conference.

Pivotal on Tuesday launched its commercial distribution of Cloud Foundry, the open-source Platform-as-as-Service that has support from IBM, SAP and other enterprise vendors.

Dubbed Pivotal CF, the commercial distribution is part of Pivotal One, the San Francisco-based vendor's name for its integrated portfolio of cloud fabric, data fabric and application fabric technologies.


[Related: 7 Things The Judge Didn't Like About IBM's CIA Cloud Legal Battle With Amazon]

Amazon is far and away the dominant cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service player, and Pivotal wants to achieve a similar sort of position in the PaaS space.

So, as Amazon holds its AWS re:Invent conference this week in Las Vegas, Pivotal is pitching its technology as a way for developers to build apps and not have to worry about any of the management and maintenance that comes with using IaaS.

Just as Hadoop has become the operating system for big data, Cloud Foundry will become the de facto solution for enterprise PaaS, Dave Menninger, Pivotal's ‎head of business development and strategy, said in an interview.

Pivotal CF is designed for rapid software iterations and continuous updates. As more enterprises move into developing cloud apps, speed is of the essence, Menninger said. "With everyone becoming a software company, we're trying to enable this new approach to development," he said.

Unlike IaaS, which requires a fair amount of management and maintenance on the part of the user, PaaS lets developers focus just on building apps, Menninger said.

"First you build the app and use Pivotal CF to deploy it. We will then manage the process of mapping that app onto the appropriate number of instances. If one instance fails, we will automatically fix it," Menninger said. Pivotal CF also takes care of chargeback information, he said.

One big challenge cloud developers face is getting their apps to scale on private and public clouds, and Pivotal CF handles this through built-in automation technology, Menninger said.

"You can't provision every one of these servers individually, or monitor them, so you have to have an automated way of dealing with the distribution and deployment process," Menninger said.

It's unclear at this stage what role, if any, partners are going to play with Pivotal CF. Pivotal hired Scott Aronson, a 10-year VMware channel veteran, to build an ecosystem of VARs, ISVs and other partners. But CRN was unable to find any VMware partners who've crossed over.

One reason for this is that not many enterprise- and data-center-focused channel partners are doing much work in big data at the moment, sources told CRN.

Cloud Foundry's biggest impact could be leveling the playing field in the cloud space and taking some steam out of Amazon Web Services' sails. With Pivotal CF, developers can build apps using whatever tools they prefer and, as Maritz often notes, it's a way for them to avoid getting locked into proprietary vendor clouds.

"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," Maritz told CRN in April.

NEXT: New Services That Run On Pivotal CF

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