Wearing as many hats as I do, I enjoy a variety of relationships with a number of IT hardware, software and services companies on various levels. I try to remain objective when I write on this blog but sometimes those other companies make it difficult.
For example: Microsoft talks to me as a partner, as a customer and as press (they take a very broad view of the press and include bloggers in that group – real journalists will almost certainly disagree) and I get a lot of information, some of which I can write about, and some of which is under NDA (sometimes the problem is remembering in which context I heard the information and therefore what I can or can’t say!); Fujitsu talks to me as an employee (and for that reason I can’t/don’t/won’t say very much about them at all); VMware sort of talk to me as a customer and it would be nice if they talked to me as a partner (they do speak to a number of my colleagues) but mostly they don’t talk to me at all…
This summer, I attended two events about desktop virtualisation within a few days of one another – one from Microsoft and the other from VMware. I was going to write a blog post about desktop virtualisation and Microsoft but I decided to hold back, in the interest of balance, to compare the Microsoft desktop virtualisation story with the VMware one. Except that the “VMware VDI Roadshow” event that I was attending turned out to be hosted by a partner (BT Basilica) and VMware were just the warm-up act for the pre-sales pitch. There was no mention of that when I registered – in fact no mention of Basilica until the last pre-event e-mail (when the sending address switched from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org) but within a few hours of attending (and before I was back in the office) I’d received an e-mail from someone at BT Basilica asking if they could help me at all with my virtualisation deployments.
Meanwhile, VMware had promised that the slide decks from the event would be made available if I asked for them on my feedback form (I did), so I didn’t make full notes at the presentation. Almost three months on, with calls to BT Basilica, an e-mail to the VMware presenter from that day, and having registered my displeasure in a follow-up telesales call on behalf of BT Basilica, I still don’t have the presentation slides.
So that’s one reason why I don’t have much that’s good to say about VMware right now. That and the fact that I have enjoyed almost no benefits for being a VMware Certified Professional. I would hope that VCPs would be the ideal audience to target for information about product developments, new releases, roadmaps, etc. but apparently not. If I want to stay current on VMware products then I have to do my own research (or pay for a training course).
Then there’s my purchase of VMware Fusion. After weeks of asking why their licensing system showed the license key for my copy of the product (which was purchased in an Apple store) as an evaluation copy, I was unable to get a satisfactory answer. Then version 2.0 was released as a free upgrade for existing registered customers and I heard… silence.
Next week, VMware is running its Virtualisation Forum in London and I registered for attendance a few weeks back but, with a week to go, I’m still waiting to hear if my registration has been accepted (despite having received confirmation that they have my details and will be in touch) – and my follow-up e-mails are, as yet, unanswered. Maybe I’m on a waitlist because the event is full but it would be good to know if that’s the case.
I could go on but, by now, you are probably getting the picture…
VMware are leaders in their market but my experience of the company is not a good one – neither as a business customer nor as a consumer. This is a tiny blog and I’m sure VMware don’t care what I have to say (far less so than they would for Alessandro Perilli or virtualisation specialists like Scott Lowe) but, as I said at the top of this post, I wear many hats, and one of them involves building up my organisations capabilities around a certain vendor’s virtualisation products. So, next time I write about Microsoft’s virtualisation products here, please bear in mind that I did try to balance things up… and VMware didn’t want to know.