I'm meeting with the VMware desktop team next week: Your feedback, thoughts, and ideas?

Last month I wrote an article describing what I perceived as VMware's challenges in the desktop space. While several people felt that the article too strong against VMware, the reality is that there are 28 comments that are generally in agreement with the concept of what was written.

Last month I wrote an article describing what I perceived as VMware's challenges in the desktop space. While several people felt that the article too strong against VMware, the reality is that there are 28 comments that are generally in agreement with the concept of what was written. That carried on to BriForum 2009 Chicago a few weeks ago, where the overwhelming "theme" of the conversations I had with attendees was along the lines of, "Wow. That article was harsh, but it needed to be said."

Of course the "thanks for saying that" theme comes primarily from people outside of VMware. VMware employees (in general) are less enthusiastic of the article, with most of them feeling that my views are misguided and based on biased information. I also heard several VMware people say that I just write trash to pump up page views, and/or that I am a Citrix bigot and only love them and hate VMware. (Ironically Citrix employees think I bash them and accuse me of being in love with VMware!?!)

Anyway, I've got this meeting next week with a bunch of folks from the desktop team at VMware's campus in Palo Alto. They're going to brief me on where they are with everything and share their views about why they think I'm wrong about their stuff. I'll share my views with them about how they could be more effective with their products and positioning. Hopefully we'll end up with some understanding and we'll all be better for it! I'm really looking forward to my time with them. (Full disclosure: They are NOT paying for my time. I'm doing it because I want to understand them, and they're doing it because they want to understand my perspective.)

As a secondary goal, I'm hoping to convince them to implement a proper Microsoft MVP-like or Citrix CTP-like program where they have conversations like this with a broader audience (like the BriForum and VMworld presenters). I know a lot of people internally at VMware think their "vExpert" program is like that, but I can confirm that it's not at all the same. (And a lot of people are complaining about the same thing in the private vExpert forums.) I think there's a generally feeling that VMware is getting a bit arrogant, kind of like Citrix was five years ago, and I think a "VMware MVP" type program could go a long way. (Maybe it's time to resurrect the "Community Relations" plan that Ron Oglesby and I wrote for Citrix five years ago?)

To that end, what do you think I should ask VMware on Monday? What do you want to know about their products? What feedback can I give them? What can we ask them to do to better engage with the community?

 

 

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Ask about User Profile management and ThinApp package management.


Let them know they should be building a comprehensive management console that integrates everything to do with Virtual desktop management - things like user profile management/virtualization, Active Directory, Thin-App package management/assignment, etc.


Somthing along the lines of what Provision/Quest have done.


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I agree with Shawn.  They just do not have a comprehensive management framework that surrounds their products, but in saying that, does Citrix?  I have to manage PVS, XenDesktop, AGEE and XenApp through different management consoles anyway (which should change soon... to an extent).


What has fustrated me with VMware is the following:


Visit 1:


Sales Person: Hi Jase, you know that all Citrix have is ICA and the remote protocol doesnt matter.  RDP is sufficient.


Jason: OOHHH KAAYYYY


VIsit 2:


Sales Person: OMG JASON!!!!  We are doing PCOIP because the protocol is really important to VMware.  


Jason: :S


Visit 3:


Jason: How would I configure printing in a VMware View environment?


Sales Person: Most people do not need to print, but RDP should suffice.  Citrix only has ICA.


Visit 4:


Sales Person: We now have licensed ThinPrint because end user experience is really important to us.


Jason: :S


Firstly I do not think it is the sales person doing a bad job, rather the direction of VMware is not clear even to the VMware guys in APAC and they are flying blind.


So what would I want?


1.  A clear direction of their View product?  What is their roadmap (that is freely available, obviously publishing NDA is a little too much to ask for).


2. Why doesn't View work with vSphere (the composer function)?  What is going on with it?


3.  Are they every going to do anything with ThinApp?  There are uses for it but in a VDI environment there are just better ways to distribute apps, like publishing or streaming.


4.  I maybe wrong but View only works with VMware ESX.  What if I already have a Hyper-V or Parallels investment?  I really do not want to use ESX if I have already made a large investment into my hypervisor.


My thoughts is that Quest and their product is probably the most cohesive VDI product with the way it is managed., Citrix has ICA, its Access Gateway product with SmartAccess, XenApp, XenDesktop and PVS (PVS is I believe the best product for OS streaming) so capabilities, the Citrix one is awesome.  View, well...  It seems like a slapped together product to counter the competition where not much development has occurred for close to 1 year.


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To quote the great Admiral Ackbar - "It's a trap!"


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Hi Brian,


 As an ISV in the virtualization space, I'd like to hear VMware's opinion on Open Source?  Would they ever consider providing some / all of their platform as an open source platform so that other ISVs could build upon it?  


Cheers,


Bill Corrigan


Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer


Neocleus


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Take a mouth guard :-)


Tier 1 hypervisor management. I dont really care much for the hypervisor itself, its a commodity. I want to know how they will manage these endpoints, citrix have been tight lipped about this so far.


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I'd like to hear a compelling reason to choose their solution. What are the key benefits and what are the unique selling points.


Now I can call a marketeer and get all the ins and outs you find in a brochure. But I'd like to hear from more tech savvy people.


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- Given the recent comments from the VMWare CEO that VDI is a slow ramp up before it represents revenue for VMWare. In this resource and budget constrained economy what is their commitment to this space? Why should I believe anything they say after comments like that from their CEO?


- Is VMWare going to support a non ESX solution for VDI? If not why should I be locked into their hypervisor solution? I want Hypervisor choice....


- Is VMWare going to manage other hypervisors? I don't want to invest in a mangement layer that locks me into one hypervisor.


- What are they going to do with PC-IP. Do they really believe that it is better than the rest without hardware? How long before it matures to offer the same features as ICA/HDX and of course ICA/HDX will continue to evolve as will RDP. I'll keep an open mind here, but would love to hear the truth. What happens to ALP, RDP suppport etc. Why is this better than ICA/HDX?


- When Microsoft releases Calista, they are likely to do so only for Hyper-V. What does that mean to all the people who are deploying View with ESX only?


- Why does VMWare think they can win a battle of the Desktop against Microsoft when Microsoft owns the operating system? Isn't that a million reasons that smart customers should sprint towards Citrix and Quest?


- Who's actually deploying View at scale. It seems from what I have heard it's fine for small ESX only shops that are LAN based and don't require any medium to advanced features. Who's adopting view for Cloud DAAS? What is the size of their largest customer deployment?


- Back to my previous point. Isn't VMWare just a hypervisor and storage *** company who's core is under threat. Hyper-V is going to make a huge dent, and they are investing in data center management. If the OS vendor owns the Hypervisor arn't VMWare just gong to pushed aside much like XenServer to niche areas. I mean any sane customer would rather say call MS for an OS issue (OS plus hypervisor). Any Linux customer probabaly feels that way about Redhat with KVM. Shouldn't VMWare buy REdHat and focus on their CORE and stop pretending to know a damn thing about Desktops.....


Brian, please do ask them these questions and don't come back all excited with demos of PC-IP and their upcoming client hypervisor. I think it's important to understand how much fud their really is and if they really are committed to this space which I do not buy for a second....


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Brian,  You talk about a slow ramp to VDI/revenue above.  Ask them where the "on ramp" is.  Where is their best practice guide for getting organizations form point A (traditional desktops) to point B (VDI).  I know there is at least one vendor that's solving this today.  Why is VMware ignoring that it takes some hand holding?.. or at least saying that orgs need the right integrator and management/migration tools to get them there painlessly.


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Will their client virtualization be driver dependant in the guest image?


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When is their next release of View due, and what are the expected features / differentiators?


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