VMware Licensing Debate Post-Mortem



The VMware licensing debate was killed this afternoon while trying to rescue the #vTax hashtag from the inside lane of the Ridiculous Interstate.  Witnesses say a bearded, balding “smart-looking” man was driving north at a very high rate of speed in a truck with the license plate VMW when the debate was struck.  The truck backed up and struck the debate again and again before authorities arrived and pronounced the debate dead at 5 PM PDT today.

I am writing this as a blogger at Virtual Insanity, and a customer of VMware. I don’t sell VMware, and I’ve never worked for VMware. I don’t even work for a partner. I barely get to chat with my fellow bloggers who work for VMware, and am certainly not privy to inside information, despite my company’s NDA.

With that out of the way, VMware has done the right thing here. The fact that they can take customer feedback and mold it into a dramatic licensing change, just a few weeks before a product GA’s, is astounding. That speaks not only to the agility of the company, but their willingness to please their customers.

They even went out of their way to please NON-PAYING customers with this change. The change to the free version was causing more drama than the change to customers who spend millions with VMware.

Should VMware have focus-grouped the licensing change more than they did? Yes. It would have preempted the customer perception wildfire they have had to fight for the past couple of weeks. I am sure they ran the numbers and knew that only a small percentage would be impacted. But the fact is an even smaller percentage actually ran the scripts to see how it would affect them. Once the fervor got started by a few, it wasn’t going to stop.

A price increase was inevitable. VMware has given us HUNDREDS of new features in the past several years for free. I think not increasing it with 4.0 was the right move, but they couldn’t hold out forever. The new vRAM allotments and policies are spot on, and are going to put a lot of customers’ fears to bed.

Now we can get on with discussing the amazing new features of vSphere 5.0 without that licensing cloud hanging over our heads.

Kudos VMware!

  1. Nice spin “take customer feedback and mold it into a dramatic licensing change” –
    Personally I  think VMware came across as a client with unspecified requirements – (eg we want to secure our profits as market leaders, but we are not sure how to do it)

    Maybe if they went heavier on the MBAs they could have refined their plan before sending out their half baked “we believe this will be better for all” VP of message – wow he looked like a deer in the headlights

    If you look at vCloud Director and on demand provisioning I think VMWare is myopic not to align their licensing with this model – I mean is is so close already – and why set static thresholds when you have a product like vCenter Operations which is _based_ on dynamic thresholds

    basically VMware demonstrated how out of sync their business and technology units are – yes as market leaders they will not suffer unduly – but they perfectly managed to distract from their stellar technology launch in vSphere 5.

    And BTW I could not be a bigger virtualization evangelist


    1. You could be right.  But name one other company the size of VMware that would listen to customer feedback, and completely revamp the entire licensing scheme in 2 weeks, 2-3 weeks before a GA. 

      I can’t think of one. 

Comments are closed.