Evidence VMware doesn’t care: They haven't posted a single blog entry since View 4 announced!?

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VMware employee Warren Ponder contacted me to point out that he's written a few blog posts since View 4 was announced.

[UPDATE: Since I first published this, VMware employee Warren Ponder contacted me to point out that he's written a few blog posts since View 4 was announced. His posts are on the VMware community site (communties.vmware.com), not the corporate blog site (blogs.vmware.com). Hopefully his blog can get moved over to the corporate site, because it's good stuff!]

I’ve openly questioned whether VMware “gets” the desktop space and accused them of caring more about clouds and datacenters than desktops. While their vision is fine (if not obvious--I mean they want to separate the user from the device—Duh!), we haven’t seen specifics of how they plan to do this. We haven’t heard them talk about how to integrate local and remote desktops. They hardly even acknowledge that non-VDI desktops exist, yet alone talk about how everything can be integrated. View 4 came out with heavy on fanfare and light on new features.

So that’s the challenge. Now how can VMware rise to it and prove they get it and demonstrate thought leadership in the space? Since their desktop products are several generations behind their vision, how can VMware convince us to buy into their vision and have faith that they’ll lead us down the path we want to be led?

More and more this is about employees, specifically, the employees who design and build the software we pay for. Most software vendors have embraced employee blogging as a way to share the thoughts and perspectives of employees and to engage in conversation with the community.

In most technology areas VMware is no different, with dozens of blogs and posting almost daily. But when it comes to the desktop and View, VMware’s blogging efforts have absolutely failed.

VMware has two blogs about View, one simply called “View,” and a second one from Scott Davis, their desktop CTO called “View-Point.” Unfortunately, VMware has not make a single post (NOT ONE) to either their “View” or “View-Point” blogs since View 4 was announced!

Are you freaking kidding me? Not a single post!?!

This is crazy. I mean if you look at the Press Releases, VMware talks about how important this release is and now’s the time for action blah blah. But View 4 was announced a month ago, and there’s not a single blog post about it?!?

Congratulations VMware: Your desktop status just moved from “clueless” to “embarrassing.”

This is extra crazy because VMware made all these big claims (first purpose built solution, reduce TCO by 50%, etc.) around View 4, and I just assumed they’d be blogging and posting about it. And I’m not even saying that VMware should have done some cursory posts with links to the stuff from the press releases. I would think that VMware would want to fill the community with references, videos, explanations, thoughts, feedback, instructions, and comments about how awesome View 4 is. (Like when they say that there have been “over 80 improvements to ESX that help desktop performance,” don’t you think that people would like to know what those 80 things are?)

But instead? Nothing.

It’s embarrassing that the most in-depth conversation and technical information about View 4 is on BrianMadden.com. (We wrote about the announcement with our thoughts and analysis, followed a few days later by Answers to common questions about View 4. I just can’t believe that we have to write this instead of VMware.

If View 4 is one-tenth as big of a deal as they say it is, then why aren’t they shouting it from the mountain tops? Why aren’t they sharing all of the technical details with the community?

Instead of meaningful blogs, we get gems like this from the corporate site:

 

view4usercentric

(I’ll give a free hour of consulting to anyone who can tell me what the heck this means!?!)

Compare VMware’s desktop blogging efforts to Citrix

People accuse me of being a Citrix bigot, but remember, I’m just reacting to what’s out there. So in the past month, while the VMware View blogs have had zero posts, Citrix has posted 20 entries just about XenDesktop! And since announcing XenDesktop 4 on October 6, Citrix has posted 40 blog entries from over 20 different Citrix employees! And this isn’t just marketing crap from PR folks. Check out some of Citrix’s great content:

Citrix also does a great job of explaining why they’re thinking the way they are, yet again demonstrating that they’re part of the conversation:

While VMware’s been sleeping, a conversation has been happening

Even if VMware’s desktop group doesn’t want to take the time to post blogs to their own site, they should at least show up to the conversation that’s happening on sites like BrianMadden.com and Virtualization.info.

For example, consider two articles we did last week: Is today’s VDI really only about non-shared personal images? and A technical explanation of why the whole “layering” / shared image thing is so difficult. There were 54 comments for those two articles talking about the future. CTOs from about ten different vendors shared their thoughts, yet VMware was nowhere to be found? Maybe you might think that they have better things to do than read BrianMadden.com. Fair enough. But they have to be out there somewhere. So if they’re not blogging about View on their own sites and they’re not participating in conversations about desktops on other sites, then what are they doing? Only talking at their own conference which they confirmed is their own marketing event and not an independent industry event?

Heck, some of the conversations we’ve had recently have been around some of the exact things that VMware has been pushing, like Is VDI finally cheaper than traditional PCs for CapEx? and Is VDI more “green” than traditional desktops? Again, 35 comments with VMware being missing in action.

Is this just the way VMware works? No. It’s just the View team.

My next thought was that this was just a culture thing about VMware—that maybe they weren’t as open or didn’t see the value in blogging like Citrix and Microsoft do. But that’s not true at all, because other product groups within VMware are great. For example, VMware’s ThinApp blog is fantastic with an average of more than one post per week. And it’s the good technical stuff that the community needs, like Modifying the MSI that ThinApp generates, Differences between the isolation modes, and AppSync explained.

Brian’s community relations plan for VMware’s desktop group

It’s been five-and-a-half years since I wrote my “Community Relations plan for Citrix.” And even though it took some time, I’m happy to say that Citrix has embraced every aspect of it. They’ve hired John Fanelli, Gus Pinto, Rich Crusco, Laura Whalen, and others whose most focus is the community. They’ve created the CTP program. They’ve created Citrix TV. Their Synergy conference is open for outside independent presenters and competitors. They’ve created the Geek Speak events. They’ve re-focused their certification programs. They’ve made it easy for people to get their hands on the products for testing. Seriously, they’ve done an amazing job embracing the community which helps people trust them, even if their products are a few steps behind their vision.

So let’s look at what VMware needs to do. I’m not even going to talk about VMworld or VMware’s lack of an MVP- or CTP-like program. For now let’s just focus on the desktop blogs and how the desktop team shares information with the community.

If you look at the list of “Technical Papers” on vmware.com filtered by product for “View,” the most recent paper is from September, a few months before View came out. How do we know when new papers are listed there? This is where the employee blogs come in:

  • Every time you add or update a technical paper, post a blog about it. Pull out the meaningful stuff in a bullet list or something and link to the full paper PDF.
  • Every time you post a press release about View, make a blog post about it that explains the essence of the release while removing the crap.
  • Every time an employee has a meaningful conversation with a customer, blog about it. (Even if you don’t share names, just share the essence of the conversation.)
  • Every time you add a new link or asset to the View section of the Technical Resource Center, blog about it.
  • Every time an engineer or a product person gives a presentation that’s public, blog about it. Share the slides. Post the thoughts. Let the world comment and interact.

Look, the reality is that customers, partners, and analysts don’t have time to check vmware.com to see what’s new. (And frankly it’s not like we can tell what’s new or updated at a glance anyway.) But you know what we do do? We have RSS readers and subscribe to the feeds that are important to us. We start each day with a cup of coffee, browsing through the list of new feed items from the previous day. And some of us (like me) have our feed readers open all day. We read them while we’re on the phone, on the bus, in line at Starbucks, and on the toilet. And if you don’t give us what we need in the format we want, your competitors will.

So RSS, RSS, and RSS. A company with a million (or whatever) desktop seats and “hundreds” of people on the desktop team has no excuse not to be writing DAILY posts about desktop virtualization or their products. Don’t get schooled by a pissant industry site run by two college dropouts.

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Recently my girl asked if I still loved her… I asked her why she asks, and her response was that I never say so.


Agreed that feeding the community that is interested in your products with valuable info is essential, but stating that not blogging in not caring.. I don’t know Brian..


We could also state that Citrix is putting too much attention into their “new products” leaving the good old Xen App out in the cold in regards to Windows Server 2008 R2 support..


Or that Oracle is not taking the whole virtualisation movement serious by not adjusting their licence agreement..


Priorities, always difficult..


Nice blog, though


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More evidence Brian Madden cares about ego-circlejerking to become the righteous savior of the IT world.


Try harder.


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Sven Huisman posted a VMware View 4 linkage since the product came out.  There is enough to read/watch for a month :)


virtualfuture.info/.../vmware-view-4-linkage


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when you look at the facts :


- VMWorld content was more focus on Datacenter and Cloud


- Most of the benefits of View4 come the Hypervisor (taht others could leverage)


- Not a lot of communication outside (blogs, partners...)


- No support (sorry, experimental support) for Win7 even if the product is available in final version since July (5+ months)


...


I understand what Brian is talking about... even if I think that VMWare could/should/need do better to get in this hot market.


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Brian,


it's about the effectiveness of your spend. VDI is not making anybody money right now. Except for niche deployments there is no rush to VDI. Virtual Desktops is still a future technology that has not even started becoming mainstream.


Citrix has no other product except app / desktop publishing so naturally they have to flog that horse to death or they are done.


VMware is making money elsewhere so they are focusing there. Until VDI becomes a viable business model and actually starts making a corporation money why would VMware focus on it? They have a killer technology that will allow them to own the market, they are just waiting to start the push when it actually makes sense. Right now, let Citrix spend their marketing budget to prepare the market - we will take over when the time is right.


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@systemfracture - "we will take over when the time is right"....laughable and this comment I assume makes you a VMW employee.


I think you'll find that VMW spent a lot of marketing spend in this space creating all the HYPE 2 1/2 years ago, saying TS/pres server/xenapp is dead then people evaluated VMW's VDI offering and thought - yeah niche and the product is v. poor.


Who the hell holds on to a killer technology that, if it was so, would destroy their competitors' main market space - shut up!


Perhaps it's not making money for VMw but that may have somehting to do with the product's capability.


So instead of spending their marketing funds on future technology that doesn't make any money right now they spend it on their Cloud vision - a future technology that doesn't make any money now - what a ridiculous comment you made.


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Bah, ignore the naysayers. This was really good! Keep up the good work!


Vmware have had it in the coming far too long as regards of their interest in View. If not even Vmware are interested, then who?


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@system.fracture


You better believe VMware is focusing on it, they have been for quite some time.


I recall an article posted just last year that emphasized VMware's new CEO making Desktops apart of the core focus of the organization.


www.brianmadden.com/.../new-vmware-ceo-makes-the-desktop-a-core-focus-for-the-company-with-six-desktop-announcements-at-vmworld.aspx


What is happening here is that VMware has created a war that in my opinion they were not preparred for. Actually, I don't think the industry was preparred for but I am glad it happened.


Due to VMware's move to take over Citrix's market share it has driven innovation to a large degree for a lot of vendors.


Many thanks to VMware for providing a push, but  they will need more than just VDI to surpase niche markets and win over customers.


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Hey Brian,


I get what you are saying. There should be more blogs and daily posts regarding View 4, their plans, tips and tricks, etc.  I agree.


The information is out there though. They do have an ongoing podcast series that is very informative.


www.vmware.com/.../view.html


Also, I get your point that we don't see the Desktop big wigs here on BM.com however, I have read many comments from Warren Ponder on here and might I add they were very professional and with the sincerest intention to simply answer the questions of the community. I know that might not be the level of Labana but let’s not cast this banner of ambiguity and say “nobody” from vmware contributes.


Although vmware doesn’t have a designation just for desktop virtualization, they do have vExpert. How much of that has to do with the SBC space? Got me hanging, maybe one of the vExperts on here can answer that.


Lastly, I think you have to accept that Citrix bigot moniker ;-) especially when they sponsor your game show. It’s cool though maybe vmware could sponsor the next one!


Cheers,


Shanetech (fellow drop out Alumnus)


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@fbillford


Do you also provide such intellect on Digg?


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@Eend


Windows Server 2008 R2 support is slated for XenApp 6.0 release. R2 is a very different beast. I think you will find that XenApp 6.0 on R2 is going to have some great features.


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@Shanetech, Wow! Great news on those podcasts. But I can't for the life of me find an RSS feed for them, so I don't know how do get them onto my iPod. (Well, apart from manually downloading and importing each one.) Has anyone seen a feed?


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Mea Maxima Culpa! I completely forgot about Warren! VMware's Warren Ponder, who's got a key role in their implementation of PCoIP, has posted fairly often to BrianMadden.com.


Shame on me for forgetting about you Warren. I'm updating the article now.


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Ok, one more from me now.


Warren just sent me an email, basically saying, "Um, dude. I have a blog, and I've posted since View was announced."


"Really?" I thought, "Why haven't I seen it."


It turns out Warren's blog is on the public VMware "Communities" site, not the corporate blog site. I asked him why, and he basically said that he's been blogging there forever and didn't really pay attention to "where" it was per se.


Ok, so first, check out Warren's virtual desktop blog:


communities.vmware.com/.../virtualdesktop


Second, I'm hoping that maybe VMW can move his blog over to the corporate site so that people know about it being from an employee.


But in the meantime, thanks for pointing this out Warren. Blog on!


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Brian, I don't think the apparent lack of blogging is a key indicators that Desktops does not matter to VMware.


Citrix core business is desktop/app delivery for years, so it is natural for them to blog like crazy.


Also, this might be part of their marketing strategy to make lots of noise (look at Citrix advertising everywhere on all virtualization blogs, including this). As someone already pointed, VMware is still making money with ESX, while Citrix is running like crazy to replace XenApp revenue stream which decreases quarter over quarter.


I would also point that VMware has a Youtube channel, and posted some VMware View stuff , such as this one:


www.youtube.com/watch


Honestly, considering you misses some key stuff, like Warren's blog, looks like you just wanted to find something to bash VMware.


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Blogs don't matter when the CEO of VMWare says he can't make $$$ of it. It tells me that he is not committed to it and it's not invested in. Evidence of that is everywhere. What VMWare are right about is that there is no money to be made out of VDI in 2010. It's a niche use case, they know it and hence are letting Citrix market the F out of it, when in reality XA is more than good enough for 90% of the use cases both current customers and new. I think VMWare is smart. Let Citrix go ahead and F it up when idiot customers get sucked up by the Hype of the VDI model when they could have done XA shared or 1:1 far cheaper. The costs will never let it grow to be mass market with the current technology offerings.


@Brian, perhaps you should challenge CTOs (I mean CTOs only) at VMWare, Citrix etc to come to BriForum and have the debate on VDI vs. other models and how they see the future. It will be a far more relevant debate to watch vs. the constant hype from the Burton group pitching sarcastic Hypervisor CTO from Citrix vs. Marketing guy from VMWare who get's his ass kicked every time vs. some dude called Beaker from Cisco who F'd up Unisys and has a big mouth. We need one of these sessions for the Desktop community. Non of the analysts seem to offer it. So BriForum would be the perfect place to host the first one. Please keep it to CTO only's as marketing guys would screw it up. I'd love to hear what the technology leaders of these vendors have to say.


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Technical blogs are reaction to a good experience with technology - "I did this POC and these are these are the really cool things about it......."


If the only blogs about a technology are only from Product Marketing, you do have to wonder about the vendor's employees confidence in their own technology.


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@VMGuy, Everyone


Just an FYI, the blog comments only truncate the DISPLAY for the URL. The actual link is the full and correct link. So that youtube link you posted is fine.


And thanks for the link! :)


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From Warren's blog:


"One exmple of walking the talk, at VMworld 2009 I delivered my presentation using a early beta version of PCoIP from the same remote virtual desktop I work in everyday."


Gareth, is this is not confidence on the product, I don't know what can be :-D


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