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VMware, a Falling Giant? 417

New submitter Lashat writes "According to Ars Technica, 'A new survey seems to show that VMware's iron grip on the enterprise virtualization market is loosening, with 38 percent of businesses planning to switch vendors within the next year due to licensing models and the robustness of competing hypervisors.' What do IT-savvy Slashdotters have to say about moving away from one of the more stable and feature rich VM architectures available?"
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VMware, a Falling Giant?

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  • by slapout ( 93640 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @01:30PM (#37949734)

    Why should be pay attention to stories where the headline ends with a question mark?

  • Re:Not soon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tysonedwards ( 969693 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @01:33PM (#37949764)
    ESXi / vSphere Hypervisor provides identical functionality (with the exception of vCenter for Centrally managing multiple vSphere servers) freely.

    What you get when you buy vSphere is VMware's support, including their involvement to write additional modules to run in conjunction with some obscure aspect of your deployment (read: the slight issues experienced within the ESX when using an LSI iSCSI HBA in conjunction with a NetApp Filer that do not exist within an QLogic iSCSI HBA).

    Support is worth something, especially in Production environments. The problem here is that VMware decided that they could wring more money from their customers within ESX 5, and it has proven to be more than the market will bear.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 04, 2011 @01:33PM (#37949768)

    I don't think you know what enterprise means.

  • by Joehonkie ( 665142 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @01:33PM (#37949774) Homepage
    The number of people talking about VirtualBox and VirtualPC in this thread is astounding. We're talking about "enterprise" virtualization here, not keeping some dev boxes on your desktop. I think you need to be talking about Hyper-V and Xen, as well as all the competing VDI solutions.
  • Re:I ca see why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Atriqus ( 826899 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @02:13PM (#37950272) Homepage
    The point he's trying to make is that no IT person has ever solved a problem that has occurred during a deployment. The only way anything ever gets put into production is specifically by paying someone to walk them through it over a landline phone.

    FUDspeak aside, I would imagine they would go here [] to ask for help.
  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @02:21PM (#37950402)

    VMware has a couple of really BIG problems in their platform.

    1. Their management tools are windows centric and so is Virtual Center for that matter
    2. Their licensing model is confusing as hell and requires a spreadsheet to figure out what you need without overpaying
    3. They have so many products that it gets downright confusing to determine which one works for your purpose.
    4. They use "old school" sales tactics that just don't work for more modern companies.

    Your first point is slowly becoming less of an issue. With vSphere 5 you can now run a Linux appliance for Virtual Center which will do for starters, and it doesn't even require (or support) an external database. Hopefully this will expand to be the only way to get VC, but they'll expand it to use a DB when you get big enough, and make plugins work with it. There's also supposed to be a '75%' web client, e.g. good enough for 75% of tasks and a full web client in the next major update, (5.5?) That's how VMView has been for at least the last major release too, the previous might have been web too, I can't remember.

    They have a lot of products because they do a lot of things... regular old server virtualization, enterprise grade server virtualization with HA, desktop (I want a test box), desktop (VDI), disaster recovery (with a replicating san), disaster recovery (without a replicating SAN)... If you don't know what you want to do, looking at their product sheet won't help you any.

    I'll give you that vRAM is evil and sales people are douches, but isn't that one a given?

    I defy you to go to VMware's website and tell me what the current version of ESXi is, what the free license includes, what the cost is for an academic institution that wants the cheapest licensed version, what features that includes - with specific descriptions, not just names and vague "Enable more robust blah blah" horseshit, and what exactly you would need to download.

    The site is intentionally a mess in order to trick people into buying more than they need. It also makes getting updates and changelogs near impossible because you never know what version of what shittily-named product you have. They recently went to ESXi 5, and there was a press release that touted hundreds of new features, and explained about 5 of them in the vaguest detail possible. There are links to various pages on their site to learn more about the hundreds of other new features, but that information simply doesn't exist. All you can get is the shitty presser.

    And look at this fucking 10 page topic on "Is there a free version of ESXi 5?". []

    The short answer is "Yes, just install it with no license.", but the real answer is there is no fucking specific license for a free version, so there is no guarantee it will remain an option, or that anupdate won't break it, or that your trial license won't be invalidated at some point, or that features won't be turned off for no reason as they did when going from ESX 3 to ESX 4 / ESXi 4.

    VMware is fast approaching IBM and Cisco levels of intentional ambiguity. All they need is a shitty "brand awareness" marketing campaign that doesn't feature a product or service, but shows school kids in china teleconferencing with school kids in the US, with no lag, in the middle of the day at both locations.

  • Re:I ca see why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swb ( 14022 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:15PM (#37951010)

    Calling MS is expensive?

    I'd eagerly agree its often frustrating, but AFAIK, a support ticket is only $350 for something like Exchange and they will work the ticket 24/7 until its fixed.

    I've even had refunds when they couldn't fix it or for fixes that couldn't be implemented for reasons outside their control.

    I had one client use Windows Server 2003 Standard x64 for Exchange 2007. Not the R2 version, but the R1 version (which isn't called R1, but...). A disk went full, the system blue screened and something in IIS was fucked and required a re-install per an MS support call. The client couldn't produce the media and neither could I -- Exchange 2007 was released after 2003 R2 and nobody I've ever seen used the R1 x64 version for anything -- it wasn't even media I could download from what I could see on VLSC.

    Needless to say, we did an emergency upgrade on a new VM to 2010 and migrated mailboxes because the downtime waiting for media would have been too great. MS ended up refunding the charge because they didn't fix the issue, despite the fact that the paying customer was the real problem.

    Now, I thought that the 5 hours I spent on the phone was excessive for the troubleshooting work that was done (a lot of steps repeated to failure needlessly, and a lot of time spent on hold "researching..."), so it wasn't overall a great experience, but it ended up being free and even if it wasn't, it would have been worth the $350.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.