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Pivotal a 'cult' led by charismatic visionaries

Asian head says talks already under way with VCE

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Pivotal, the EMC-and-VMware spinout, is no ordinary company but is instead akin to a “cult”, according to Melissa Ries, the company's general manager for Asia Pacific and Japan.

Ries' domain covers nations including Australia, India and Taiwan and about 15 per cent of the company's 1250 staff. Most are in pre-sales, sales or support. Many currently work for VMware. All will soon find their desks in EMC facilities across the region*.

Pressed on just how Pivotal can succeed in its stated mission to create a stack capable of delivering Google-and-Facebook-style scale, complete with predictive analytics and the ability to add new customer-facing functions in a very short time, Ries said Pivotal's “cult” atmosphere will be one reason it does well.

The company's 700 developers, she said, are “very regimented”, practice paired programming, always “start and stop at the same time” and are “the world's best developers”.

Asked how Pivotal can succeed given it is outnumbered by the likes of Google and the army of OpenStack contributors, and also given that large-scale product integration projects are notoriously hard ( as Oracle discovered when meshing applications), Ries said “We all believe we will be successful.” Much of that optimism stems from adoration of Pivotal's leader Paul Maritz, who Ries said “has done this twice before”, and Pivotal Labs founder Rob Mee, a key figure in the agile development movement.

Help may also be at hand from another EMC and VMware collaboration, the stack-in-a-box outfit VCE. Ries said “discussions are going on with VCE” but she is not privy to their content. If Pivotal were sold pre-loaded into VCE's V-Blocks it would ease implementation of the new stack and give it an advantage over rivals, while also nourishing EMC's balance sheet. All of which could add up to worship of EMC supremo Joe Tucci, who if he can pull off the trick of spawning another successful company could be a candidate for fiscal deification. ®

* Which may not go down well. VMware's Sydney office is in the central business district, adjacent to Sydney's best shopping street. EMC's Sydney office is in the satellite business district of St Leonards, a cultural desert to which IBM was exiled amidst much grumbling from staff.

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