VMware agreed to acquire Nicira, a start-up focused on software-defined networking (SDN) for approximately $1.05 billion in cash plus approximately $210 million of assumed unvested equity awards. The goal of SDN is to allow enterprises and service providers to create the most flexible network topologies that seamlessly span any cloud environment.
Nicira's NVP software is implemented at the network edge and managed by distributed clustered controller architecture. The system forms a thin software layer that treats the physical network as an IP backplane. This approach allows the creation of virtual networks that have the same properties and services as physical networks, such as security and QoS policies, L2 reachability, and higher-level service capabilities such as stateful firewalling. These virtual networks can be created dynamically to support VM mobility anywhere within or between data centers without service disruption or address changes.
Nicira claims its platform is compatible with any data center network hardware and that it can be deployed non-disruptively on any existing network.
Nicira has previously disclosed deployments with AT&T, eBay, Fidelity Investments, NTT and Rackspace.
The acquisition expands VMware’s networking portfolio, which includes the VMware vSphere virtual switching, VMware vCloud Director networking, vShield Network and Security software defined services, and the VXLAN protocol. The line-up provides a solution for virtualizing the network – from virtual switching to virtualized layer 3-7 services.
VMware confirmed that it plans to continue to support the open principles and technologies that have made Nicira solutions successful, including the Open vSwitch to connect physical networks and multiple hypervisors and the open extensibility framework to implement business-level policies from any cloud management system.
"VMware has led the server virtualization revolution, and we have the opportunity to do the same in datacenter and cloud networking,” said Paul Maritz, chief executive officer, VMware. "The acquisition of Nicira adds to our portfolio of networking assets and positions VMware to be the industry leader in software-defined networking."