Owning VMware (NYSE: VMW) shares is a bit like riding the Sheikra coaster at Busch Gardens: one minute you're heading down at an 89-degree angle, and the next you're flying around an inverted corkscrew, feeling fine.

Three months ago, the virtual computing pioneer delivered a fine fourth quarter that exceeded analyst expectations by every measure -- and the stock fell more than 5% the next day. Last night, first-quarter non-GAAP earnings of $0.48 per share on $844 million in revenue trounced Street targets by a wide margin, and shares jumped more than 12% in after-hours trading.

CEO Paul Maritz even invokes the spirit of tech trendsetter Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) when describing his future opportunities. "We agree with Steve Jobs when he says that we're entering the post-PC era," he said on the analyst call. In "an increasingly heterogeneous world, full of new tablets and smartphones," cloud computing and virtual machines become the key to "managing people rather than managing physical devices."

And so the thrill ride continues, this time at fresh multiyear highs.

VMware has gone back to strong price momentum after spending a quarter or so in timeout. The last report made me wonder whether Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS) might be poised to steal market share from VMware in coming months, but the pudding is full of proof of the opposite reaction.

After accounting for the first quarter's improved results, VMware now trades at "only" 58 times adjusted trailing earnings and around 100 times good old-fashioned GAAP earnings. That's still pricey, but far below the 125 times earnings seen in January. So maybe VMware is growing into its boots after all, but from the bottom up rather than by cutting expectations.

One of the basic tenets of Rule Breakers investing is that a paradigm-busting business will look expensive at times. One of David Gardner's six signs of a budding Breaker is this: "You must find documented proof that it is overvalued, according to the financial media."

Well, longtime Breaker recommendation VMware managed to make me say it was overvalued last quarter, and here comes the payback. Grab a free, 30-day trial pass to our Rule Breakers service to see the best high-growth buys in today's market. Some of them will surprise you.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. VMware is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on Apple. The Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.