VMware buys Nicira to get revolutionary network software

VMware, the 'software defined server' company, buys Nicira, the 'software defined network' startup, for $1.26 billion.

VMwareflickr/Oliver Gierke

Nicira, a startup that emerged from stealth mode only six months ago, already has marquee data center customers like AT&T, eBay, and Rackspace (Wired). The concept of a software defined network became Martin Casado's Ph.D. topic at Stanford University, and he co-founded Nicira with his Stanford advisor Nick McKeown and UC Berkeley professor Scott Schenker.

The tiny startup developed OpenFlow, a programming-language type instruction set for managing network switches and routers. A new type of virtual networking switch they built, working closely with virtual servers (such as from VMware, who controls about 80 percent of that market), can build complex networks defined by software, not physical ports and configured hardware.

Way cool

The future is Virtual...

Alex Arriola on wired.com

Nicely done, nicely done. Got to love it when someone takes a real problem and nails the solution.

ChuckMcM on news.ycombinator.com


My only concern about this sort of things would be security. If I read it right, it seems that the hackers may reprogram the networking equipment and network config so that they are essentially untraceable.

LoudRambler on wired.com

Very interested in hearing from those actually using Nicira as to its ability to deliver what it claims. There’s also got to be some massive deal that’s closed or about to close for them to justify a $1.2B purchase no?

Sean Patrick Tario on gigaom.com

Several people predicted that Nicira is a feature and the VMware of networking will be VMware; those turned out to be true, although in a different way than predicted.

wmf on news.ycombinator.com

One of the tunnelling protocols it uses is STT (Stateless Transport Tunnelling) Protocol which they effectively made themselves (and is up for draft in the IETF). It's their mechanism of choice for communicating between the network controllers and hypervisors over the physical network.

bennysaurus on news.ycombinator.com

Impact on other companies

Intel and AMD are still very happy to sell you the physical processors running this fancy virtual clouds, though.

tchernik on wired.com

With everybody else falling asleep at the network switch, VMware and Nicira have cornered the virtual server market and thus became indispensable to cloud-based services.

kafantaris on gigaom.com

This should have interesting fallout with EMC and Cisco's relationship. Cisco has invested heavily in creating a Nicira competitor internally

3am on news.ycombinator.com

If you work in a data center, will this product and acquisition will make your life easier?

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