NSX Daddy Martin Casado leaves VMware to become a VC

Andreessen Horowitz lures mightily influential network virtualisation figure

Martin Casado is leaving VMware to join venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

That's Martin Casado the founder of Nicira, the network virtualisation company he sold to VMware for US$1.26bn back in August 2012.

Casado's an enormously influential chap: he just about summoned the idea of networking virtualisation from the further recesses of his cranium when working on his Stanford PhD, then turned it into a very viable company that attracted Virtzilla's attention and cheque book.

El Reg's virtualisation desk has met VMware staff who spoke of feeling privileged to get some slivers of Casado's time and to being dazzled by the extent of his vision for networking virtualisation's future.

Casado did great things for VMware. NSX has become a US$600m business and is growing fast. Faster even than ESX grew in its first three years.

VMware's hinted for some time that it has further plans for NSX. Casado himself has often spoken of using networking virtualisation as the basis for a novel approach to the security market. The departing exec has said he's got the vision for that approach but VMware's yet to reveal anything more than enthusiasm for micro-segmentation's security benefits. And even then only because customers figured that out and put the software to use in that role to a greater extent than VMware anticipated.

Why's Casado decided not to remain a part of those plans? The Reg suspects that timing is one issue: this month marks three-and-a-half years since the Nicira acquisition. Might that be a cash-out threshold or some other contractual nicety? Or perhaps he doesn't fancy disappearing inside Dell. Or maybe he's just a restless guy with a big brain who wants to crack on to the next thing.

Whatever the reason, Casado might just be one of the few technologists currently worthy of consideration of the title “visionary”, so VMware will need to find more than just a new general manager of its networking and security business unit.

Andreessen Horowitz has appointed him a general partner. VMware appears to be silent on his departure, at the time of writing. ®

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