RTFM Education – Virtualization, VMware, Citrix

Aug 28 2009   1:41AM GMT

Once more unto the breach, My friends – once more…

Michelle Laverick Michelle Laverick Profile: Michelle Laverick

Well, I think enough information entered the public domain for me to comment on the cat-fight that is surround VMworld – so its time for me to step into the breach. I don’t know may you actually have a life (unlike me) and therefor all of this is news to you (and as boring as hell) and the story has gone over your heads.

In brief this the nature of the argument – in a nutshell.

This year VMware changed the T&Cs of being exhibitor/sponsor at VMworld. An event where historically both Citrix & Microsoft have been welcomed. Both Citrix/MS claim that VMware has imposed punitive conditions on them, to the effect that they think VMware is trying to deliberate excluded or inhibit their message. VMware strongly denies this and counter-claims that the T&C are pretty much standard in the event management industry – and they have not sort to limit Citrix/MS. This is has lead some commentators to claim that VMworld is increasing loosing its independence as event, and merely becoming a stage for VMware technologies.

Microsoft has made much of the argument on its virtualization “blog” (deliberate Stephen Fry quotes there by the way)




If you want more detail here’s a ton of links.








For me this raises a number of key questions:

Q. What motivated VMware to change the T&Cs?

A. I don’t know, I can only speculate like every other bloody blogger. But perhaps previous events T&C were not as tightly written as they should be. As VMware evolves from being a start-up to fully fledge corporate like all the rest then this need reviewing. Increasing MS and Citrix compete with VMware, and perhaps VMware thought it was time curtail the size & scope of their presannce. Would you run a huge international event, only to run the risk of having it hijacked by competitor (especially Microsoft) who regularly uses its bloggers to espouse blantant FUD? Specifically, many of us felt that MS behaviour last year – handing out casino chips with “VMware Cost Way To Much” was a bit unethical. After, when I get invited to someone house, I try not to take a shit on the living room carpet – I am guest after all aren’t I?

Q. What does the T&C actually state – and are MS/Citrix trying to create a chimeria of a issue as spoiler to VMware’s VMworld.

A. Yes, and no.


The T&C state are exhibitors can show products that are:

“complementary to VMware products and technologies.” It added that “competing vendors [will be] allowed to exhibit, including exhibiting competing product”. That would seem to go right against what the MS blogs have stated. They claim that VMware has stopped them from showing the next release of System Center. But there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to back this claim up. VMware has tried to clarify its position, but Microsoft especially seems resolute on igoring this. You’ve got to wonder why MS are behaving this way – other than trying to create an internet storm of criticism against VMware/VMworld in attempt set up a web-based spoiler of the show. As the image above shows, they do have a track record in playing fast and loose.

The trouble with this viral campaign is that is being successful. With little hundred of other website picking up the MS blog story – and repeating the MS position as fact. In other words, more lazy fucking journos who believe whatever MS says…

However, on the No side is Citrix. By mean that Citrix is not overacting. There’s a blogpost by Kim Woodward of Citrix, who is there VP of Corporate Marketing. In her blogpost she in very measure way outlines some of the practises they have been experiencing from VMware. Now something makes want to trust Kim’s posts and facts – because she doesn’t in anyway (unlike MS) seek to try make capital out of the situation. I would heartily recommend you read here post – because I couldnt’ possible paraphase her case. But I’m sure you will appreciate her measured and postive response (I’m assuming Kim is lady by the way!)


In fact I was so impressed by her post – that I decided to comment on it. In post Kim points out very politely the event managers at VMworld:

  • Rejected Citrix Gold Sponsorship request. In previous VMworld they had Gold Sponsor status
  • They were offered a much reduced 10×10 booth
  • Given guidelines on acceptable behaviour at the event
  • The existence of “do not rent” rules at locations surrounding the Moscone Center to stop competitors launching rival events

I’d have to say that think if this turns out to be true (and Kim doesn’t give me any reason to doubt it), it would suggest that VMware’s T&C have been over-zealous. Probably in response to Microsoft antics last year.

Q. Is all just a storm in a teacup? VMworld has always been a vendor dominated event – just like Synergy and TechNet hasn’t?

Yes and Yes. The only thing is – that what started as small storm in teacup a couple weeks/months ago is now spilling over the sides. And right or wrongly the traffic on the web is hurting VMware. Especially, when folks like Kim Woodward take such a moral stance. If it was Microsoft – I could laugh it off merely them crying wolf, but that’s quite hard to do with Kim Woodward’s post.

Clearly, VMware wanted to more tightly control the event this year – but by doing so they have played into the hands of Microsoft (and to much lesser degree Citrix) who have used the T&C to club VMware. In hindsight, it might have much easier if VMware hadn’t bothered changing the T&Cs at all – as the debacle has well and truely backfired on them. Unfortunately, in this case is seems to be that the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions…

Q, Isn’t VMware World meant to be industry neutral virtualization event?

Er, not quite. You see the fact there’s a vendors name in the title kind of gives the game away. Just like MICROSOFT technet and CITRIX synergy does… Of course techies like me would love a more independent/neutral event. But they don’t seem to do as well as the vendor sponsored events because of the money involved in running them.

Q. Why don’t we all go down to the Solutions Exchange when it opens. Surround the MS booth, and demand we be shown System Center?

OK. I will be there.

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