Pivotal Extends Mobile Capabilities With Acquisition Of Xtreme Labs

Pivotal announced the acquisition of Xtreme Labs, a Toronto-based mobile development and consulting firm on Wednesday. The acquisition complements Pivotal’s cloud and big data platforms by expanding Pivotal’s mobile capabilities and extending the reach of its emerging, behemoth technology platform even further. Pivotal, recall, is a platform as a service based on the Cloud Foundry project that additionally boasts big data capabilities related to the acquisition of Greenplum by its parent company EMC. The acquisition of Xtreme Labs “aligns with Pivotal’s strategy to capitalize on the nexus of converging forces in the industry” and illustrates the seriousness of its intent to build a technology platform called Pivotal One that brings the computing power had by Amazon Web Services, Facebook and Google to the enterprise. Specifically, the acquisition of Xtreme Labs positions Pivotal to build a technology platform marked by the convergence of cloud, big data, mobile and social media applications.

In an April webcast announcing the launch of Pivotal One, Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz remarked on the divide between the IT infrastructures had by select internet giants and traditional enterprise IT. Maritz noted that Amazon Web Services, Facebook and Google excel at storing massive amounts of data, extracting actionable business intelligence from that data, rapidly developing software applications and automating routine procedures. Pivotal One intends to deliver a platform as a service that democratizes the data storage, data analytics and agile application development capabilities currently held by a handful of internet giants to enterprise IT more generally. Recently, Pivotal has made news through strategic partnerships with Piston Cloud to refine the integration of OpenStack with Cloud Foundry, and IBM to develop the governance for Cloud Foundry. Terms of the acquisition of Xtreme Labs were not disclosed although AllThingsD reports Pivotal paid $65 million in cash.

Pivotal And Piston Cloud Partnership Intends To Refine Integration Between OpenStack And Cloud Foundry

Last Thursday, Piston Cloud (Piston) and Pivotal announced a partnership whereby Piston will deliver the community OpenStack infrastructure for Cloud Foundry. The partnership enables Pivotal to continue refining the integration of Cloud Foundry with OpenStack that Piston achieved last year. Thursday’s announcement means that Cloud Foundry’s developer ecosystem will be tightly integrated with Piston’s OpenStack distribution in order to ensure the resulting IaaS-PaaS, OpenStack-Cloud Foundry infrastructure successfully negotiates challenges related to continuous integration, rapid release cycles and scalability considerations. Piston’s co-founder and CTO, Joshua McKenty, will serve on the Cloud Foundry Advisory Board and Piston will continue to function as a partner for rapid deployments of Cloud Foundry.

James Watters, the head of product, marketing, and ecosystem for Cloud Foundry, remarked on the work specific to the integration in an interview with The Register by noting, “there’s a fair amount of work to make sure an IaaS and a PaaS like Cloud Foundry that automates itself through APIs all flows together very well” and that “every hour of every day Cloud Foundry gets tested on Piston.” Meanwhile, Joshua McKenty identified some of the integration issues that the partnership proposes to examine as follows:

We actually did most of the work to make sure Cloud Foundry could run on OpenStack last year. It’s not a tremendously complicated API, but it is important that it’s consistent and reliable. One of the things we’ve really focused on with Piston OpenStack is making sure the services are highly available, so as you scale up the scope of the Cloud Foundry environment on top, the IaaS environment can handle it.

Here, McKenty singles out the consistency and reliability of the Cloud Foundry API and the scalability of the OpenStack infrastructure in relation to the Cloud Foundry platform as topics for investigation. In a guest blog post for Cloud Foundry, McKenty further noted that Piston’s aim is to “to keep up with and continue to support the growing Cloud Foundry ecosystem” given that the fundamental goal of cloud computing is “really just about providing the computing resources to keep up with the fast-paced DevOps and Agile lifecycle.” In other words, Piston intends to “keep up with” Cloud Foundry not only from a scalability perspective, but also in the context of its rapidly evolving, agile-driven code base and enhancements.

Overall, the partnership represents a huge coup for Piston given that it was hand-picked from the cottage industry of OpenStack vendors and distributions. More importantly, however, the announcement underscores the weight of the market momentum in favor of open-source based cloud computing platforms. Moreover, Thursday’s partnership increases the commercial viability of Cloud Foundry insofar as it was motivated in part by customer requests and interest. The industry should expect McKenty to bring his expertise in OpenStack governance to Cloud Foundry’s emerging governance structure and help drive a rapid expansion in Pivotal’s partnering companies and organizations with respect to Cloud Foundry. As the integration between OpenStack and Cloud Foundry matures courtesy of the Pivotal-Piston partnership, we may even see the evolution of a formal collaboration beween OpenStack’s governance structure and Cloud Foundry’s emerging model of governance and open source software leadership.

IBM’s Support Of Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry Underscores Enterprise Interest In Open Source Cloud Standards

IBM recently announced plans to work with Pivotal in order to accelerate the development of Cloud Foundry, the open source Platform as a Service project that is part of Pivotal, the spin-off from VMware and its parent company EMC. The partnership with Pivotal indicates that Big Blue is going all in on open source cloud technologies as underscored by its well-known commitment to OpenStack, the open source IaaS project that celebrated its third birthday on July 19. IBM’s support of Cloud Foundry means that it is now backing open source Platform as a Service in addition to Infrastructure as a Service in a move that illustrates how Big Blue intends to differentiate itself from its competition by staking out early positions of influence regarding the trajectory of promising open source PaaS and IaaS technologies.

Daniel Sabbah, general manager of Next Generation Platforms, IBM, commented on Cloud Foundry’s significance to IBM as follows:

Cloud Foundry’s potential to transform business is vast, and steps like the one taken today help open the ecosystem up for greater client innovation. IBM will incorporate Cloud Foundry into its open cloud architecture, and put its full support behind Cloud Foundry as an open and collaborative platform for cloud application development, as it has done historically for key technologies such as Linux and OpenStack.

Sabbah notes how Cloud Foundry will become part of IBM’s “open cloud architecture”and thereby illustrative of its belief that “cloud computing needs to be built on open source and standards.” Whereas the first iteration of IBM’s “open cloud architecture” philosophy was heavily based on OpenStack, its recent partnership with Pivotal is likely to compel a revision of the specifics of its commitment to open source cloud platforms and APIs with greater attention to Cloud Foundry. IBM’s backing of Cloud Foundry will enhance its credibility amongst enterprise customers as well as contribute to its governance processes. The larger point, here, however, is that the clamor for open source cloud technologies is trending towards increased support from the enterprise. As Pivotal establishes a Cloud Foundry advisory board, expect more and more companies to pledge support for Cloud Foundry in what amounts to an industry-wide demand for open standards and interoperability. We should also expect some kind of formal collaboration between OpenStack and Cloud Foundry to develop as the latter’s governance process matures.

EMC’s Pivotal One Attempts To Bring IT Infrastructures Of Facebook, Google and Amazon Web Services To Enterprise

This week, EMC and its subsidiary VMware revealed details of the vision behind Pivotal, its spin-off company financed in part by $105 million in capital from GE. In a webcast announcing the launch of Pivotal on Wednesday, Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz, formerly CEO of VMware from 2008 to 2012, remarked that Pivotal attempts to bring to enterprises the technology platforms that have allowed internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon Web Services to efficiently operate IT infrastructures on a massive scale while concurrently demonstrating cost and performance efficiencies in application development and data analytics.

Referring specifically to Facebook, Google and Amazon Web Services, Maritz elaborated on the strengths of their IT infrastructure as follows:

If you look at the way they do IT, it is significantly different than the way enterprises do IT. Specifically, they are good at storing large amounts of data and drawing information from it in a cost-effective manner. They can develop applications very quickly. And they are good at automating routines. They used these three capabilities together to introduce new experiences and business processes that have yielded — depended on how you want to count it — a trillion dollars in market value.

According to Maritz, the internet giants are a cut above everyone else with respect to data storage, data analytics, application development and automation. Enterprises, in contrast, leverage comparatively archaic IT infrastructures marked by on premise data centers and attempts to migrate to the cloud in conjunction with meager data analytics capability and poor or non-existent IT automation and orchestration processes. As a result, the enterprise market represents an opportunity to deploy technology platforms that allow for efficient storage, data integration across disparate data sources and interactive applications with real-time responses to incoming data as Maritz notes below:

It is clear that there is a widespread need emerging for new solutions that allow customers to drive new business value by cost-effectively reasoning over large datasets, ingesting information that is rapidly arriving from multiple sources, writing applications that allow real-time reactions, and doing all of this in a cloud-independent or portable manner. The need for these solutions can be found across a wide range of industries and it is our belief that these solutions will drive the need for new platforms. Pivotal aims to be a leading provider of such a platform. We are honored to work with GE, as they seek to drive new business value in the age of the Industrial Internet.

More specifically, Pivotal will provide a platform as a service infrastructure called Pivotal One that brings the capabilities currently enjoyed by the likes of Facebook and Google to enterprises in ways that allow them to continue their transition to cloud-based IT infrastructures while concurrently enjoying all of the benefits of advanced storage, analytics and agile application development. In other words, Pivotal One marks the confluence of Big Data, Cloud, Analytics and Application Development in a bold play to commoditize the IT capabilities held by a handful of internet giants and render them available to the enterprise through a PaaS platform.

Pivotal One’s key components include the following:

Pivotal Data Fabric
A platform for data storage and analytics based on Pivotal HD, which features an enterprise-grade distribution of Apache Hadoop in addition to Pivotal HD’s HAWQ analytics platform.

Pivotal Cloud and Application Platform
An application development framework for Java for the enterprise based on Cloud Foundry and Spring.

Pivotal Expert Services
Professional services for agile application development and data analytics.

Open Source Support
Active support of open source projects such as but not limited to Spring, Cloud Foundry, RabbitMQ™, Redis, OpenChorus™.

Pivotal currently claims Groupon, EMI, and Salesforce.com among its customer base. The company already has 1250 employees and, given GE’s financing and interests, is poised to take a leadership role in the industrial internet space whereby objects such as automobiles, washers, dryers and other appliances deliver real-time data to a circuit of analytic dashboards that iteratively provide feedback, automation and control. Pivotal One also represents a nascent trend within the Platform as a Service industry whereby PaaS is increasingly evolving into an “everything as a service” platform that sits atop various IaaS infrastructures. For example, CumuLogic recently announced news of a platform that allows customers to build Amazon Web Services-like infrastructures marked by suites of IaaS, Big Data, PaaS and application development infrastructures on top of private clouds behind their enterprise firewall. EMC’s Pivotal One is expected to be generally available by the end of 2013.