With their acquisition of Nicira today, VMware is making a brilliant strategic move that gives them not only the leading network virtualization technology but also a world-class of team of executives and engineers. Congratulations to Martin, Steve, Rob, Alan, JJ, Paul, Denis and the entire Nicira team – for me, and the rest of the Lightspeed team, it’s truly a privilege to have been a part of the effort where an entrepreneurial team realizes a vision and begins to transform an industry.
Nicira is fundamentally changing networking as we know it, much in the same ways that server virtualization changed the datacenter only a few years ago. The company virtualizes the network, separating the logical network from the physical topology, much like server virtualization decouples the virtual machines from the underlying server hardware. With Nicira, networks can have the same dynamic and flexible operational model of virtual machines and they can be programmed and configured without disruption or manual intervention.
So while today’s news will likely center on the financials of the deal (which admittedly are tremendous for all shareholders) and how the two companies will integrate, to me, the real story is the impact that Nicira has had on the industry in just a few years and the team behind it. These are truly some of the best talents in networking and infrastructure, more broadly, in the world. The spotlight should shine brightly and entirely on them as they’ve done all the hard work to make this happen.
On a more personal note, I’ve known Nicira’s co-founder Martin Casado since 2004 when we were both studying at Stanford. He was getting his PhD and I was in Business School; we were introduced by Andy Rachleff and Nick McKeown and have been friends ever since. Martin is a genius, really. That word tends to be overused, but in Martin’s case it’s the absolute truth. You don’t have to take my word for it, Scott Shenker, a co-founder of Nicira and UC Berkeley computer science professor recently told WIRED, “I’ve known a lot of smart people in my life, and on any dimension you care to mention, he’s off the scale.”
Congratulations guys, thanks again for all the effort and for letting me be a part of it, and of course to VMware for a great move.