Sources: Pivotal Laying Off 60 Employees, Mostly On Big Data Side Of Business

Pivotal, the EMC-VMware spinoff that sells a Platform-as-a-Service infused with big data, is laying off around 60 employees and began informing those affected earlier this week, sources familiar with the matter told CRN.

Roughly half a dozen salespeople were included in the cuts, but the majority of those laid off were employees that work on Pivotal's big data products, sources said. These include Pivotal HD, the vendor's Hadoop distribution, and its Greenplum and GemFire database offerings.

"They had too many data architects and database people compared to the platform people," said one source with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity.

[Related: OpenStack Pioneer Joshua McKenty Leaves Piston Cloud For Pivotal Cloud Foundry Role]

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Most of the employees being laid off work at Pivotal's offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif., sources said.

Pivotal teamed up in July with Hortonworks, one of its main rivals in the big data space, to work together on Apache Ambari, an open source project for managing and monitoring Hadoop clusters.

Pivotal didn't respond to multiple emails and calls requesting comment on the layoffs.

Pivotal executives described the company, launched in April 2013, as "a startup with 1,250 people." Sources said Pivotal now has around 1,800 employees, which means the layoffs aren't large enough to trigger public notification under the WARN Act.

Chris Gaun, global cloud strategist at Apprenda, a Pivotal rival in the Platform-as-a-Service market, offered to cushion the blow for laid off Pivotal employees in a series of tweets Wednesday morning.

Several journos contacted us about 75 Pivotal layoffs this week. Hope it's not true. I'm offering to buy turkey for each US person if true.

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I'd rather think our competitors tech is empty but not their hearts. Hope not true

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The other big part of Pivotal's business is Cloud Foundry, the PaaS that CEO Paul Maritz started championing before coming over from VMware.

Pivotal is driving commercial development of Cloud Foundry, and in September it brought in Josh McKenty, co-founder and CTO of Piston Cloud, to be field CTO for the product.

In February, Pivotal formed the Cloud Foundry Foundation, an independent organization tasked with developing the open source version of Cloud Foundry, which is available under the Apache 2.0 license.

One challenge Pivotal faces is that the PaaS market is still relatively immature, and at this stage of the game, the list of companies that have a need for a big data-infused PaaS is relatively small.

"They have a good opportunity for Cloud Foundry, but I don't think it will hit its ramp until mid-2015," one former Pivotal employee told CRN.