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Swish PaaS Bosh: Sons of VMware spin up Pivotal One cloud platform

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VMware spin-off Pivotal has released a platform-as-a-service along with a suite of analysis applications, bringing greater competition to a quiet corner of the market.

The Pivotal One platform was announced on Tuesday, and sees the year-old upstart push out a product based on VMware's open-source Cloud Foundry, along with services for instrumentation, analytics, MySQL, and Hadoop.

Pivotal's basic goal is to sell enterprises a software suite that gives them the scale-out capabilities and interoperability of the stacks found in Google and Amazon clouds, but with the ability to deploy it on their own gear.

What sets Pivotal's product apart from the rest of the industry is the heritage of the company, which has cherry-picked engineering talent from its parents VMware and EMC, and the sophistication of its technology. Pivotal is led by former VMware chief Paul Maritz.

Cloud Foundry is an open-source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that can be installed on local or off-premises infrastructure, and onto gear running vSphere or OpenStack, or Amazon Web Services-rented infrastructure.

It bundles an application execution engine, an automation engine for app deployment and management, and a scriptable command-line interface (CLI). Other tools can be stitched into it via "buildbacks". IBM has already made components of the Websphere Application Server available on the platform.

The glue that holds Cloud Foundry together is the Bosh "toolchain", which Cloud Foundry uses extensively to help it efficiently shuttle data around.

"With Bosh we can manage very large services easily and automatically," James Watters, head of product at Cloud Foundry at Pivotal, told The Register.

The Pivotal One platform also comes with a suite of services including Pivotal HD (Hadoop), AX (analytics software), RabbitMQ (message broker), and a MySQL service (workhorse database).

Instead of just being bolted on, these apps will be directly integrated with the Cloud Foundry PaaS underlay via the system's Service Broker, which depends on Bosh. This means developers can write apps for Cloud Foundry, and the system will automatically store data in the underlying Hadoop File System (HDFS), while database requirements will be delegated to the HAWQ analytics engine, and so on.

The technology will compete against Red Hat's OpenShift, and Microsoft's suite of services, and others. This is a somewhat shaky comparison, however, because as far as we can see there's nothing on the market that integrates so many separate services with a bish-bash-bosh platform-as-a-service and communications fabric like Pivotal.

Pivotal One will be available on November 15. Prices should be listed then, but none of this will be cheap, and from what we've heard it takes $500,000, minimum, to get a piece of Pivotal One with support. Enterprises going with the platform also risk lock-in as, like any complex distributed system, Pivotal One will mandate its own way of building applications – making migrations pricey and difficult. ®

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