Software Defined Networking: Boom Goes the Dynamite

Nicira Acquired by VMWare for $1.26 Billion

And just like that, an entire market receives validation.

Nicira Networks, purveyors of Software Defined Networking (more on that in a second), were acquired by VMWare for a whopping $1.26 Billion. Nicira has defined a category where many organizations have struggled to gain any foothold.

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is like a hypervisor for Networking equipment. A software layer is created above the firmware of a router/switch that interprets and aggregates the control plane. Put simply, SDN allows you to control your entire network and make topographical changes to your network in a much faster and more controlled way than was possible previously. Nicira is hardly the first to jump into this space, but it’s important to understand why they succeeded where others may have floundered.

Nicira was the opposite of OpenFlow, the standard developed by Stanford with Google taking a paternal role in the work. Nicira was strictly commercial, ultra private and not open-source; in stark contrast to OpenFlow. Ultimately, Nicira has validated the entire SDN space, and the flow of lower cost, more open competitors will commence.

As of right now, virtualizing network connectivity in datacenters is expensive, unreliable and not very secure. Nicira brings Enterprise controls along with great extensibility in the form of their completely virtualized networks, and the associated management tools. This virtualization enables speedier instance provisioning and better isolation, the crux of the bottleneck in Datacenters.

In short, Nicira’s acquisition moves the cloud a little deeper down the virtualization Rabbit hole, a dive that is both warranted and due for the times. Cheers to Nicira, and I hope they remain nimble inside of the giant that is VMWare.