Virtualization Pro

Jun 11 2009   3:38PM GMT

VMware: the new bully on the block?

Bridget Botelho Profile: Bridget Botelho

VMware architect and virtualization expert Gabe van Zanten wrote an interesting post on his blog, “Gabe’s Virtual World” pointing out that VMware appears to be following in Microsoft’s footsteps by bullying partners and customers.

“Several stories have emerged that made it look like VMware has learned from Microsoft and is now practicing the same strategy. Maybe Paul Maritz’s tricks for Microsoft are now reused against VMware competitors,” van Zanten wrote. “First, there was a change in their VMworld policy reported by Brian Madden which according to VMware in an official response was just to prevent competitors from trashing VMware like Microsoft did at VMworld 2008. Although that is a viable explanation, the text now is in the legal documents and can be used as VMware pleases.”

Here’s another dirty move; VMware asked Veeam to remove its Backup & Replication support for VMware ESXi free edition in its latest Essentials Bundle, Acceleration Kits for VMware vSphere 4. Alex Barrett also wrote a great story on that, and how this kind of move might push ESXi users – which are mostly small and medium sized businesses – right into Microsoft’s arms.

These tactics raise the question of whether VMware plans to block more ESXi tools, forcing people to upgrade to a paid version of their software. As van Zanten wrote in his blog, “It is obvious they want ESXi Free to be “unmanageable”, since it is difficult to manage an ESXi free host with a read only remote administration kit. But why? Does VMware think that a small company will now switch to VMware’s vSphere Essentials edition just to be able to manage ESXi? Is VMware afraid that customers start building large clusters of ESXi Free hosts and use third party products to manage them?”

These concerns and others have yet to be answered. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a couple text book characteristics of bullies:

Those who bully have personalities that are authoritarian, combined with a strong need to control or dominate… If aggressive behavior is not challenged in childhood, there is a danger that it may become habitual.

And the result of “habitual” bullying behavior, VMware, is alienation. In this case, of your customers.

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