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VMware CEO Paul Maritz Named EMC’s Chief Strategist – Next Job CEO?

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As expected, EMC shuffled the deck today. It named COO Pat Gelsinger as the new VMware CEO, replacing Paul Maritz who has moved into a new role as EMC’s chief strategist.

Yesterday I reported that Maritz was out as VMware’s CEO and was being considered as a replacement for EMC CEO Joe Tucci, who is expected to retire by the end of next year. We also reported Maritz is a candidate to lead Cloud Foundry, the successful open-source platform as a service (PaaS) that has the potential to become a core part of EMC’s core cloud offering.  It has been reported that Cloud Foundry will be spun out as a subsidiary of EMC. VMware is a subsidiary of EMC.

Maritz will remain on VMware’s board of directors. Gelsinger’s new job takes effect September 1.

EMC and VMware need a stronger cloud strategy. At present, it’s missing pieces such as a dedicated infrastructure environment. Its most recent acquisition of DynamicOps helps to some degree. VMware is the leader in the virtualization space but it needs a deeper play that goes beyond licensing virtual machines. DynamicOps has established itself by helping its customers turn their existing IT infrastructure into more elastic environments that essentially mimic the public clouds of the world.

But Cloud Foundry is the jewel.

It would say a lot if Maritz led Cloud Foundry but it is unlikely. With him as EMC’s CEO, it’s a good thing, too. Maritz is a technologist who has so far been a supporter for Open Stack. With him gone, it could be trouble for the nascent PaaS service.

But maybe not. EMC has shown it sees where the market is going. The leading storage company recently acquired XtremIO to boost its flash play, which is increasingly popular for big data environments. Data centers are starting to replace mechanical spinning disks systems with SSDs due to their superior speed.

But EMC is more about convergence than distributed architectures. Cloud Foundry’s significance is in how it can fit into an open cloud environment such as OpenStack. EMC big play is in converging its networking, storage and compute into one machine. That’s great for data center consolidation but it is not an environment that developers flock to. And it’s hardly cloud.

Cloud Foundry has attracted developers. To continue doing so, it needs Maritz to stay at EMC. He serves as a leader who is also deeply respected in and outside the company. Without him, it would be trouble. For now though, it’s steady as it goes.