Three weeks, a new CEO and two acquisitions! VMWare seems to be fighting back with a level of energy we haven’t seen in quite some time. Yesterday during their quarterly earnings report, VMWare announced the acquisition of Nicira (beautifully pronounced “nice era” ) for an astonishing $1.26B. This follows on the heels of the acquisition of DynamicOps a few weeks ago. Between acquisitions and earnings report, VMWare announced that CEO Paul Maritz will be stepping down and being replaced with current’s COO Pat Gelsinger. Seems like a lot for a few weeks doesn’t it?
The acquisition of Nicira is nothing but a brilliant move on VMWare’s side. The startup that has been in stealth mode for about five years and has raised over $50M in venture capital, has tackled one of the most important problems in the virtualization and, consequently, cloud computing worlds: network virtualization. In the same way, VMWare pioneered the server virtualization models; Nicira has built a technology that virtualizes the physical networks. Without haven’t seen the technology in action, I can clearly imagine that this type of technology can add another dimension of elasticity to existing cloud infrastructures.
Despite the brilliance of the technology, its important to notice that VMWare is paying top dollars for a nascent technology and a remarkable team and not for a fully developed company with a clear go to market strategy. This bold move shows the risk taking mindset that has been missing from VMWare in recent years.
Without a doubt the most successful enterprise software company of the last few years, VMWare built an empire based on revolutionary’s technologies, innovation and constantly defying bigger companies like Microsoft. However, in the last two years, VMWare traded its “white knight” armor and developed a sort of tyrannic and hardly innovative reputation within their customers. Consequently, VMWare started taking repeatedly punches from the “now underdogs” of the virtualization space such as Microsoft, Citrix and even Oracle.
The acquisition of Nicira is a clear sign that VMWare is going back to its core DNA: out-innovate and out-execute everyone. With Nicira, VMWare has acquired a unique technology that, if executed correctly, can put them in a great position to dominate the $37B data networking market and provide a clear differentiator in their cloud computing offering.
From my personal standpoint, I am super excited to see a great technology win without having to get corrupted with the realities of building a business. More than anything, I am excited to see VMWare’s focus on innovation and creativity back!