By now it is old news that Diane Greene is no longer CEO of VMware. A lot has been written about the reasons for the abrupt change and related prospects for VMware moving forward. Rather than focus on the business aspect however, I prefer to use this blog as a tribute to Greene's accomplishments.
Along with her husband, Mendel Rosenblum, and a few others, Greene founded VMware in 1998. In her short 10 years at the company, she helped propel a tech rocket ship. Aside from the obvious financial returns, VMware:
1. Brought a real competitive threat to the status quo. VMware is actually changing the way x86 servers are deployed, managed, and utilized. In spite of all of their accomplishments, Intel and Microsoft provided the market with a better mousetrap. VMware reinvented the mousetrap.
2. Created a reasonable road map toward centralization. Yes, data center consolidation is nothing new, but without VMware (or similar server virtualization technologies) data centers would run out of space and power while running tons of underutilized x86 servers.
3. Made a major contribution to the green movement. Few folks were thinking "green" back in 1998, but server virtualization technologies will ultimately provide a great way to reduce power consumption without any decrease in processing power. Greene can take pride in this green IT proof point.
While Greene and Rosenblum were building VMware, other women were at the center of the tech industry. Kim Polese was a dot-com star at flash-in-the-pan Marimba; Ellen Hancock was the toast of the Valley as CEO of Exodus; and Carly Fiorina was proceeding down a star-studded but rocky road with Hewlett-Packard. With all due respect, I think Greene's achievements with VMware surpass these others and make her one of the more influential women in the history of IT. Best of luck, Diane, and thanks for your great contributions.