Software is eating the world - Marc Andreessen

As predicted by Marc Andressen, software continues to disrupt a wide variety of industries, covering everything from retail to health care. This shift has resulted in businesses looking towards Platform as a Service (PaaS) to help rapidly develop and scale new applications.

I recently spent the afternoon with Pivotal in San Francisco, who are an independent entity funded by VMware and EMC. The office was hive of energy as the team worked towards the launch of Pivotal One.

Pivotal One is an integrated platform that includes a set of application and data services that run on the Pivotal CF PaaS, powered by Cloud Foundry. The goal of this platform is to enable development teams to rapidly build, update and scale applications in the cloud, allowing enterprises to embrace the software revolution.

At the heart of Pivotal One is Cloud Foundry, which is an open source cloud computing PaaS developed by VMware, released under the terms of the Apache License 2.0.

Like Heroku, Cloud Foundry is a polyglot platform, enabling developers to consistently use a number of different programming languages on a single platform, while removing the inherit challenges and switching costs that generally accompany a change of development language.

Cloud Foundry currently supports the following runtimes/frameworks:

  • Java
  • Ruby
  • Node.js
  • Scala

As well as the following services:

  • MySQL - Open-source relational database management system.
  • vFabric Postgres - Open source object-relational database management system.
  • MongoDB - Cross-platform document-oriented database system.
  • Redis - Open-source, networked, in-memory, key-value data store.
  • RabbitMQ - Open source message broker software.

Cloud Foundry can also be deployed to different clouds (e.g. AWS, OpenStack), including behind the corporate firewall on VMware vSphere. This portability is a key differentiator (especially when compared to Heroku), delivering the advantages of PaaS, but on infrastructure of your choice.

It’s this power, flexibility and scalability that makes Pivotal CF the perfect core to enable the broader Pivotal One application and data services. I believe this value proposition is unique in the industry and therefore puts Pivotal in a very strong position.

The Pivotal One services focus on apps, data and analytics. These include:

  • Pivotal HD - The widely adopted enterprise distribution of Apache Hadoop.
  • Pivotal AX - Providing automatic analytic instrumentation.
  • RabbitMQ - The leading open source enterprise messaging system.
  • MySQL Service – Provisioning of multi-tenant, single instance MySQL databases.

Many of the services are already mature and available for use today, providing a strong starting point for Pivotal One. However, I believe this is just the beginning and I expect to see other interesting services being introduced over time, as Pivotal One gains momentum.

Overall I’ve been very impressed with Pivotal. The company culture is agile at its core and the team are clearly passionate and energised. In my experience this is a rare combination, where you have the right people, given the right environment to do something amazing!

As a result I’m confident that Pivotal One is more than clever marketing, with a real opportunity to disrupt the industry! I’ll be watching the progress of Pivotal closely and look forward to seeing how the industry reacts.