In 1998, VMware was founded by Diane Greene, Mendel Rosenblum, Scott Devine, Ellen Wang and Edouard Bugnion. Greene and Rosenblum, who are married, first met while at the University of California, Berkeley. Edouard Bugnion remained the chief architect and CTO of VMware until 2005, and went on to found Nuova Systems (now part of Cisco). For the first year, VMware operated in stealth mode, with roughly 20 employees by the end of 1998. The company was launched officially early in the second year, in February 1999, at the DEMO Conference organized by Chris Shipley. The first product, VMware Workstation, was delivered in May 1999, and the company entered the server market in 2001 with VMware GSX Server (hosted) and VMware ESX Server (hostless).
In 2003, VMware launched VMware Virtual Center, vMotion, and Virtual SMP technology. 64-bit support was introduced in 2004.
On January 9, 2004, under the terms of the definitive agreement announced on December 15, 2003, EMC (now Dell EMC) acquired the company with $625 million in cash. On August 14, 2007, EMC sold 15% of VMware to the public via an initial public offering. Shares were priced at US$29 per share and closed the day at US$51.
On July 8, 2008, after disappointing financial performance, the board of directors fired VMware co-founder, president and CEO Diane Greene, who was replaced by Paul Maritz, a retired 14-year Microsoft veteran who was heading EMC’s cloud computing business unit. Greene had been CEO since the company’s founding, ten years earlier. On September 10, 2008, Mendel Rosenblum, the company’s co-founder, chief scientist, and the husband of Diane Greene, resigned.
On September 16, 2008, VMware announced a collaboration with Cisco Systems. One result was the Cisco Nexus 1000V, a distributed virtual software switch, an integrated option in the VMware infrastructure.
In April 2011, EMC transferred control of the Mozy backup service to VMware.
On April 12, 2011, VMware released an open-source platform-as-a-service system called Cloud Foundry, as well as a hosted version of the service. This supported application deployment for Java, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, Node.js, and Scala, as well as database support for MySQL, MongoDB, Redis, Postgres, RabbitMQ.
In March 2013, VMware announced the corporate spin-off of Pivotal Software, with General Electric making an investment in the company. All of VMware’s application- and developer-oriented products, including Spring, tc Server, Cloud Foundry, RabbitMQ, GemFire, and SQLFire were transferred to this organization.
In May 2013, VMware launched its own IaaS service, vCloud Hybrid Service, at its new Palo Alto headquarters (vCloud Hybrid Service was rebranded vCloud Air and subsequently sold to cloud provider OVH), announcing an early access program in a Las Vegas data center. The service is designed to function as an extension of its customer’s existing vSphere installations, with full compatibility with existing virtual machines virtualized with VMware software and tightly integrated networking. The service is based on vCloud Director 5.1/vSphere 5.1.
In September 2013, at VMworld San Francisco, VMware announced general availability of vCloud Hybrid Service and expansion to Sterling, Virginia, Santa Clara, California, Dallas, Texas, and a service beta in the UK. It announced the acquisition Desktone in October 2013.
In January 2016, in anticipation of Dell’s acquisition of EMC, VMware announced a restructuring to reduce about 800 positions, and some executives resigned. The entire development team behind VMware Workstation and Fusion was disbanded and all US developers were immediately fired. On April 24, 2016, maintenance release 12.1.1 was released. On September 8, 2016, VMware announced the release of Workstation 12.5 and Fusion 8.5 as a free upgrade supporting Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016.
In April 2016, VMware president and COO Carl Eschenbach left VMware to join Sequoia Capital, and Martin Casado, VMware’s general manager for its Networking and Security business, left to join Andreessen Horowitz. Analysts commented that the cultures at Dell and EMC, and at EMC and VMware, are different, and said that they had heard that impending corporate cultural collisions and potentially radical product overlap pruning, would cause many EMC and VMware personnel to leave; VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, following rumours, categorically denied that he would leave.
In August 2016 VMware introduced the VMware Cloud Provider website. New branch role is funneling cloud related information as central source of cloud provider technology content. Thanks to a “services first” approach, cloud providers can find differentiated and monetizable services they can deliver leveraging VMware’s platform. Now the latest case studies, demos, blogs and architecture toolkits of VMware are available in one place.
Mozy was transferred to Dell in 2016 after the merger of Dell and EMC.
In April 2017, according to Glassdoor, VMware was ranked 3rd on the list of highest paying companies in the United States.
In Q2 2017, VMware sold vCloud Air to French cloud service provider OVH.
In August 2017, VMware and Amazon Web Services jointly announced the launch of VMware Cloud on AWS, a SaaS service delivering a vSphere compatible cloud in an AWS datacentre. VMware has since returned to the “hybrid cloud” naming convention to describe this use of consistent platform across on-prem and public clouds.
Conceptually similar services, but not managed directly by VMware, have since been announced by CloudSimple and Virtustream, hosted in Azure and by CloudSimple hosted in Google Cloud, built on the VMware Cloud Provider Program.