The family of Ed Iacobucci announced this morning that Iacobucci, the virtualization pioneer and founder of Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS), died this morning after a fight with pancreatic cancer.
I read the news from the family’s post Facebook, and noticed it was not reported anywhere else, so I decided to pursue the story — he deserved more stories! I met Ed when I was a young reporter at an old networking trade book known as LAN Times. I have a very distinct memory of him because he was very “un-Silicon Valley.” He was low-key and down to earth — an engineer at heart.
Iacobucci’s career at Citrix took a few twists and turns and eventually ended in hist ouster from Citrix in 2000. Of course, now Citirix is a virtualization powerhouse, its desktop virtualization product has expanded into many layers and now allows companies to run many combinations of Windows operating systems and applications as cloud-based computing systems.
The bottom line is this model of virtualization — in which the software runs somewhere else on the network and allows you to access it with a light client or “browser” — was pioneered in the PC-world by Iacobucci and Citrix. He tapped virtualization on PC networks before it had become a hot buzzword.
Iacobucci, a former IBM engineer, founded Citrix in 1989 with a few million dollars. He was orginally part of the IBM OS/2 team that introduced the concept of running multiple clients off the same server software. Yes, virtualization was here — only IBM, the inventor of the mainframe, reportedly did not like the idea and that’s why Iacobucci left IBM to start Citrix. The rest is history.
RIP, Mr. Iacobucci, your legacy in computing and networking should be safe for a long time.