EMC CEO Joe Tucci has reconfirmed plans to eventually take Pivotal -- the platform as a service (PaaS) start-up -- public. Pivotal, which leverages open source technology, is a VMware (VMW) spin-out that could influence so-called software defined data centers. Here's why.

During an Oracle (ORCL) OpenWorld 2013 keynote this week, Tucci outlined how the EMC, VMware, VCE and Pivotal pieces fit together to create a greater whole. Tucci said Pivotal will eventually pursue an IPO (initial public offering) -- but it's far too soon to predict when such a move may occur.

For its part, Pivotal claims to be committed to open source and open standards. The company's focus is application and data infrastructure software, agile development services, and data science consulting. The company's enterprise PaaS platform, based on Cloud Foundry, appears set for launch in Q4 2013. Former VMware CEO Paul Maritz has shifted to the Pivotal CEO slot.

For VMware channel partners, Pivotal is a key platform worth watching. It's safe to expect VMware and Pivotal to help partners connect the dots between Vmware vCloud Hybrid Service and Pivotal's enterprise PaaS platform. No doubt, EMC's Tucci will also ensure that Pivotal and VMware share the same Software-defined Data Center vision.

So far, Pivotal's partner efforts mostly involve the Catalyst Partner Community -- which includes developers and IT pros who collaborate on open source projects. The VAR Guy is watching closely to see when Pivotal's PaaS platform -- and a potential channel partner program -- officially launch.