A bunch of articles have started to surface today about the new features of VMware View 4.5. VMware's desktop marketing folks started briefing reporters a few weeks ago, although part-way through the process, they stopped. I was one of the unlucky ones who didn't have a briefing scheduled until later in the week. My briefing was initially rescheduled from last week until yesterday, and then finally postponed indefinitely.
I asked my PR contact about the delay, and she told me they decided to reschedule the launch closer to GA. (In VMware PRlance, "launch" apparently means "announcement" and "GA" means "release," so VMware wanted to "reschedule the product announcement so that it was closer to the product release.") That release, I was told, was unknown at this time, but would definitely be in 2010. They also made it very clear (to me) that the release was not delayed, only the announcement of it was delayed.
At this point I kind of thought that VMware was crazy, because if I were them I would L-O-V-E to announce View 4.5 the week before Citrix Synergy. I can't possibly imagine why they would change their mind, but whatever... I shrugged it off and moved on to other things.
But then yesterday I got an email from a TechTarget colleague asking me some questions about View 4.5. "View 4.5?" I wondered to her, "I don't know? I thought they canceled the briefings." My colleague told me that she had been briefed (via a VMware in-person visit to Boston!) and had agreed to an embargo of May 4th (today). Part of that briefing included VMware telling her that View 4.5 would be released in July. Then after the briefing was over VMware contacted her again to tell her that the release was being pushed back. And since you can't really "unbrief" a reporter, this is why today you're seeing some news outlets with articles about View 4.5 and others with nothing.
So again, this is kind of strange. It seems those who were briefed were told View 4.5 would be out in July, but then that story changed to "sometime in 2010." Those who weren't briefed never heard the July story, so they were just told there was never any announcement (which was technically true since everything was under embargo) and that the release would be "sometime in 2010."
Why the change of story and the delay?
It's clear that VMware has some 11th-hour issues going on here with their story around View 4.5. I mean you don't send a team out to do a dog-and-pony road show with reporters unless you're sure of your plans. So the fact they started that and then cancels shows something drastic is changing at the last minute.
What's most interesting is what was missing from the reporters' briefings. While they were told about several new things in View 4.5, they were told that View 4.5 would NOT have the bare-metal client hypervisor capability that VMware first showed us in 2008 and initially hinted would be released in 2009. In fact the VMware marketing folks even kind of slammed client hypervisors, saying that users don't want something else that IT has to install, and that it's better to just have client-based VDI or offline VDI via a Type 2 environment running on top of an existing OS like Windows or Mac. And HEY! LOOK AT THAT! View 4.5 just so happens to have "View Client Mode" (which is essentially the "offline mode" from previous versions but with the "experimental" designation removed).
Funny how that works.. VMware pooh-poohing bare-metal client hypervisors and just "coincidentally" talking up the Type 2 environment that their product just happens to support! (A thousand bucks says that when they do finally release the client hypervisor that they'll suddenly forget these slams and talk about how awesome they are.)
And I'm sure the fact that it's widely expected that Citrix will release XenClient (their bare-metal client hypervisor) at Synergy next week means that now VMware has something else to slam Citrix about.
It's still weird though...
The one thing I can't figure out is why VMware would suddenly decide to pull their release of View 4.5 now? I mean I can understand if they were out there talking about client hypervisors and some engineering person said, "Guys, there's no way in hell we're shipping this in July, so let's just stop mentioning it." But that's not the case since the marketing team was already slamming client hypervisors. Maybe it's the opposite? Maybe if Citrix adds a XenClient client hypervisor to XenDesktop then VMware thinks their next release of View must include a client hypervisor, so maybe they're delaying View 4.5 for a few months until they can get a client hypervisor ready?
What do you think?