VMware’s Re-Acquisition of Pivotal Helps Create Tanzu for Kubernetes
VMWORLD VMWARE — Pivotal Software will play a leading role in helping VMware extend its core vSphere virtual machine platform into the evolving new world of container-based, cloud-native applications built and managed in Kubernetes environments.
VMware’s agreement to acquire Pivotal’s outstanding shares for $2.7 billion came into focus at this week’s VMworld conference in San Francisco with the launch of Tanzu, a set of tools and services for developing, deploying and managing Kubernetes containers.
“VMware Tanzu is a portfolio of products and services to transform the way enterprises build software for Kubernetes,” said CEO Pat Gelsinger, speaking in the opening keynote at VMworld earlier this week.
Gelsinger said Pivotal’s Spring Boot is the most popular Java framework. It is downloaded an average of 75,000 times each month, while 750,000 Pivotal Application Service (PAS) instances are now deployed. VMware, which already held a controlling stake in Pivotal, is effectively reacquiring its remaining shares below its $4 billion valuation right after last year’s IPO.
Pivotal wasn’t profitable, however, and in May the company lowered guidance sharply, causing its shares to plummet by 40% in a single day. Pivotal estimated that revenue for its current fiscal year will reach approximately $760 million, up from last year’s $657.5 million.
“Although Pivotal’s revenue is less than one-tenth of VMware’s, Pivotal has the relationships with developers and DevOps teams in some of the most innovative enterprises — the companies putting cloud-native development practices, architectures and platforms in place,” in a Forrester Research principal analyst Dave Bartoletti wrote in a blog posted last week.
EMC and VMware acquired Pivotal Labs and spun out Pivotal Software in 2013 with a $100 million investment from GE. Having spawned the open source Cloud Foundry platform that’s supported by IBM, Google, SAP, SUSE, Microsoft and others, PAS is an application environment for developers to build and deploy Java, .NET and Node applications. More recently, Pivotal has put significant resources into Kubernetes, now the de facto standard for managing container workloads across platforms and clouds.
The Pivotal Container Service (PKS), released 18 months ago, is the company’s enterprise Kubernetes platform for container workloads that can run in most public and private cloud environments. PKS is the underlying platform for Tanzu, along with the Kubernetes packaging technology VMware gained from the recent acquisition of Bitnami, which provides an application packaging solution that works in Kubernetes environments, Gelsinger said. VMware also got key Kubernetes technology and leadership from last year’s acquisition of Heptio, whose CTO Joe Beda was an original developer of Kubernetes at Google. While VMware already had a controlling interest in Pivotal, Gelsinger signaled that VMware plans to bring the company in-house.
“Pivotal is really a big part of the VMware Tanzu story,” said Beda, who joined Gelsinger on stage during the VMworld keynote. “We’ve seen Pivotal really embrace Kubernetes. They’re already actively moving Pivotal Application Service in Cloud Foundry and working with the Cloud Foundry community to run on top of Kubernetes. This is alpha now; they’re ensuring that Spring works great on top of Kubernetes. And they’re getting involved in all sorts of open-source projects, both those starting from pivotal, but also the larger Kubernetes ecosystem.”
Among the first components in the Tanzu portfolio outlined at VMworld is Project Pacific, a platform that will transform VMware vSphere and ESXi VMs into native Kubernetes native.
“Project Pacific unites vSphere and Kubernetes and unites developers and operators,” Gelsinger said, noting the release of the first preview this week. VMware also revealed Tanzu Mission Control, a common management plane that will let …