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IPO takes VMware investors on a rocket ride

As virtualization company launches highly anticipated public offering, shares enjoy an initial trade of $52 a share.

Investors in VMware's initial public offering got a rocket ride Tuesday morning, as the highly anticipated IPO launched out of the gate with an initial trade of $52 a share.

VMware investors who reaped a profit of 79 percent on that first trade.

Not bad, noted .

"VMware is poised to be the No. 1 first-day gainer for the year," Peterson said. "And although it was anticipated to be well-received, it came out on a day when the overall markets are down by 150 points, making its debut all the more impressive."

VMware joins 43 other tech IPOs that have debuted this year, which are part of the overall group of 142 deals that have gone out to date. Fortress Investment, a financial services company, gained 67 percent at the close of its first day of trading and VMware appears on track to beat the figure.

VMware, which develops virtualization software for servers, has grabbed investors attention for several reasons. One, the company's IPO comes at a time when virtualization is playing a greater role in the computing world. VMware's software, for example, is designed to allow a single server to run a number of operating systems simultaneously on different "virtual machines." And two, it was an established operation that was spun out of storage titan EMC, which had .

VMware's software aims to put this virtualization technology on lower-priced servers, rather than leaving it for the more expensive mainframe computers and older Unix servers.

VMware, which sold 33 million shares to the public and raised $975 million, currently has a market value of $19.5 billion based on its first trade of the day.

Looks like EMC got its money worth, before setting the company free.