The first time I met Martin Casado was at the OpenStack Summit in Portland in 2013 (you can watch the full video of my first interview with him here). It was first of many times in the last three years that I've had the good fortune to meet and speak with Casado.
Casado is one of the leading intellectual giants in the Software Defined Networking (SDN) realm. It was his 2005 thesis work at Stanford that quite literally 'defined' SDN. His startup Nicira was the first to make the definition real, and, with Nicira's sale to VMware in 2012 for $1.26 billion, Casado arguably was the first human to actually "get rich" from SDN. If Casado's career had ended there, in 2012 or even in 2013, he would still have accomplished much. But his career didn't end there, and the SDN market (and VMware) is richer for having him.
The core Nicira product evolved under Casado's leadership at VMware to become the powerhouse that is NSX. Casado himself also advanced in VMware to become the General Manager of Networking and Security. The last time I spoke with Casado for a news story was in October of last year, where we talked about what's next for security and virtualization. For Casado, the network is the goldilocks zone for security, where all traffic can be inspected and controlled. VMware under Casado's leadership was (and will continue) working on a technology called Distributed Network Encryption (DNE), which could change the game for how virtual security works.
I, for one, will miss the deep technical conversations I've been fortunate to have with Casado about VMware technology and SDN in general. But I think he's making a great move to Andreessen Horowitz as a General Partner.
He's also following a path that another great VMware executive (whom I still get to talk to every so often) has taken. Steve Herrod, former CTO of VMware, has been a venture capitalist at General Catalyst for the last several years. Herrod's keen understanding of technology brings great value to his VC firm, and I expect nothing less from Casado at Andreessen Horowitz.
Casado is no stranger to investing, either. In a conversation I had with him at an event in 2015, he told me about his own personal investment in Keybase.io. Now, at Andreessen Horowitz, we'll all see a lot more of Casado's investments.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.