Paul Maritz. Image: EMC
Paul Maritz wants to sell you “Google in a box.” That, he explains, is the aim of the Pivotal Initiative, the new operation he runs inside tech giant EMC. No, the former Microsoft bigwig is not joining the search engine game. He wants to provide the world’s businesses with the sort of new-age software know-how that Google has long used behind the scenesto run its massive web empire, including not only its search engine but countless other online services. “What we’re trying to do is bring Google to the enterprise,” says Maritz, referring to the large businesses typically served by EMC, a company that made its millions selling big, beefy hardware devices that store online data.
Over the years, Google has built several sweeping software platforms that operate across a worldwide network of dirt-cheap computer servers. With names like the Google File System, Spanner, and Dremel, these platforms allow Google to juggle, use, and analyze an unprecedented amount of online information — and readily accommodate still more data as the web continues to grow. In recent years, these tools have also inspired similar platforms at web giants such as Facebook,Yahoo and Twitter, including an open source platform known as Hadoop. “These web giants have the ability to store and process very large amount of data…. They know how to deploy and operate [software] atop of an underlying giant computer they call the cloud,” Maritz says. And now he wants to push this expertise to the rest of the world.
‘What we’re trying to do is bring Google to the enterprise.’— Paul Maritz
It’s a notion that’s driving so many companies across the software market and beyond. The technologies pioneered by the likes of Google and Facebook — including not only software but hardware — are now trickling down to countless others. Multiple startups are selling Hadoop to businesses, and Facebook has bootstrapped an ever-growing community of hardware operations that can help companies adopt the sort of low-cost hardware that now underpins the world’s largest social network.
Maritz is reluctant to provide too much detail about the aims of the Pivotal Initiative, which was only launched this past December, after he stepped down as the CEO of VMware, another EMC operation. But he and others will kick off Pivotal’s mission on Feb. 25 when they unveil a “new Hadoop strategy.” Pivotal is basically a collection of existing groups from across both VMware and EMC, and one of those groups is Greenplum, which has long offered Hadoop alongside a somewhat similar platform for storing and analyzing large amounts of data.