Nicira is a network virtualization and SDN (software-defined networking) company that Martin Casado, Nick McKeown and Scott Shenker founded in 2007. In 2009, Steve Mullaney joined Nicira as the founding CEO. In 2012, VMware signed an agreement to acquire Nicira.
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The founders of Nicira have contributed largely to the development and evolution of OpenFlow, a protocol that allows a network to be programmed independently of the switches and data center gear. The company's leading product is the Network Virtualization Platform (NVP), which, like OpenFlow, allows network administrators to create virtual networks independent of the underlying hardware.
Nicira leads the Quantum component of OpenStack, an open source infrastructure as a service (IaaS) initiative for creating and managing large groups of virtual private servers in a cloud computing environment. The company also belongs to the Linux Alliance.