In a shock announcement on Wednesday, Martin Casado announced that he was leaving VMware’s Networking and Security business unit, the group that owns the NSX product, to join the venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz as a general partner. Casado was co-founder and CTO of Nicira, the network company that VMware brought for $1.2 billion in 2012.
This closes the circle for Martin, whose first institutional investor at Nicira was Andreessen Horowitz. Ben Horowitz of the company served on Nicira’s board and acted as Casado’s business mentor.
It’s the end of the year, and a good time for thinking back. I’m thinking back to a dark past long ago, when physical servers ran server operating systems, and ran applications—when those servers plugged into a switch, and each endpoint was a single server. The network team could see every device, endpoint, or switch, and could trace packets from end to end. Network admins would tell you that those were Golden Days, when troubleshooting was easy and networks were simple. Then, ten or so years ago, along came server virtualization. All of a sudden there were multiple servers on any given endpoint, and worse, the servers would move between endpoints not only at will, but mid-flow. Troubleshooting became Hard, with a capital H.
Yesterday I was reading about Cisco’s fourth quarter earnings results, as you do when you are bored and waiting for the next episode of EastEnders to start—well, we all have to take a rest from SDN goodness every now and then. Now, this was interesting for two reasons. It was the last quarter under the leadership of big bad John Chambers and the first announced by new head honcho Chuck Robbins (sounds like a cross between a cage fighter and a liberal comedian). Firstly, congratulations are in order on the results—Cisco exceeded analysts’ predictions of $12.6 billion in revenue, with $12.8 billion and a per-share profit of 59 cents, up almost 4% over the previous year, and an overall year-over-year increase of 4%. Continue reading Another Missile Fired in the Cisco vs. VMware SDN War→
We have all drunk the Kool-Aid. Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), or both will save the world. They decouple us from the shackles of legacy networks to allow a utopia of business-driven requirements to freely flow, delivering value and freeing the network, application, storage, and infrastructure teams to have weekends off and time with their families.