Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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Pivotal Raises $253M to Extend Cloud Foundry 

As the shift to cloud native applications and services gains steam, major corporations are placing big bets on emerging approaches to accelerating digital enterprises in the cloud.

Among the clearest indications is this week's announcement by Pivotal, the platform-as-a-service specialist spun out from VMware, that it has raised a whopping $253 million in its latest funding round. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) led the Series C round that was joined by new investor Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT).

Pivotal was spun off from VMware (NYSE: VMW) in 2013 to help implement the Cloud Foundry framework. Along with VMware, previous Pivotal investors include General Electric (NYSE: GE) and storage specialist EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC).

Along with its investment haul, San Francisco-based Pivotal also announced on Thursday (May 5) that its first quarter revenue totaling $83 million rose 56 percent year-on-year.   Meanwhile, Pivotal said its Cloud Foundry distribution recently crossed the $200 million run rate.

The startup said Microsoft's investment reflects growing demand for Pivotal Cloud Foundry on the Microsoft Azure cloud. "Our priority is ensuring that Microsoft Azure is the best place to run Java applications using Pivotal Cloud Foundry," Microsoft cloud chief Scott Guthrie noted in a statement.

Along with banking, telecommunications and healthcare, Pivotal can now claim greater traction for its cloud and analytics software in the global automotive industry. Pivotal said Ford's investment builds on existing collaboration, and the partners would expand the integration of Cloud Foundry software development along with analytical tools into Ford's product development and IT operations.

The automaker last week announced the first product launch stemming from its collaboration with Pivotal: A mobile app called FordPass designed to help find parking and track vehicle maintenance.

Pivotal launched a mobile app development effort in 2014 offering app developers tools running on the Cloud Foundry platform for delivering next-generation applications. "Our investment in Pivotal will help strengthen our ability to deliver these customer experiences at the speed of Silicon Valley, including continually expanding FordPass," Ford CEO Mark Fields noted in a statement.

Pivotal said it is currently working with seven of the top 10 U.S. banks, three of the top five global auto manufacturers and five leading telecommunication companies, including Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

As with most enterprises shifting to cloud platforms, Pivotal's partners are attempting to leverage cloud native tools to speed the roll out of new products and services. The early success of open source platforms like Cloud Foundry and OpenStack has prompted industry efforts to forge standards and a roadmap for future development under efforts such as the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

CNCF also is focusing on harmonizing emerging application delivery infrastructure like containers and micro-services that are making their way into production. VMware is a member of CNCF.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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