Longtime VMware CTO Steve Herrod steps down

Herrod helped develop VMware's core technologies and has been a tireless advocate of the technology

Longtime VMware Chief Technology Officer Steve Herrod has stepped down from his post, leaving the company during a challenging time.

Herrod has taken a job at the venture capital firm General Catalyst, where he will work as a managing director. He will continue to assist VMware, in the role of technical consultant.

"I am amazed by the changes our industry has undergone over the last decade. Virtualization has become the default technology upon which the majority of the world's server applications run," he wrote in a blog post announcing the move.

VMware doesn't have a successor yet. A spokeswoman said the company is looking at both internal and external candidates for a replacement. Herrod was also senior vice president of research and development at VMware.

Herrod officially joined VMware in December 2001, shortly after the company released its first product, VMware Workstation. Although IBM had pioneered virtualization in the 1970s for mainframe computers, the founders of VMware wanted to apply the technology to commodity servers.

"Our original code name for the company was Disco, because it was a cool idea from the 1970s that we wanted to bring back," Herrod said, in an interview with IDG News Service in 2012. "We saw what it could do for the mainframe space, and yet no one had thought about it for the industry standard x86 space."

For 2011, VMware generated US$3.77 billion in revenue.

With the departure of Herrod, VMware has lost a powerful evangelist for the company's technology, said Chris Wolf, a Gartner research vice president and lead VMware analyst. The loss will prove to be a challenging one for VMware this year as competitor Microsoft increasingly moves into the virtualization space, he said.

"Those will not be easy shoes to fill," Wolf said.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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