Have you ever wondered what happens if you give 10.000 people access to an open-beta that is supposed to be under NDA?
Firstly, the NDA is no-go from the get-go. There is no way you can claim that you actually expect 10.000 people to not talk about something they know about. VMware vSpere 6.0 was the worst kept secret ever, for a reason. It might have been planned that way all along for all I know, but if that was the case, the NDA should never have been in place to begin with.
Secondly, what happens when said product finally gets announced, and scores of people have pre-made blog content about all the new, and presumably secret, features? A lot of it is wrong, because people have been writing about features that have either been dropped or changed come release time.
So, now what do you do? Well, VMware decided to “Clarify the misinformation”. I’m sorry, but all of this reads as a text-book way of not handling things.
So, here is my own personal advice to VMware for the next round:
- Decide on a beta format. If you do an open beta, drop the NDA and have people discuss it. If you do a closed beta, that’s fine too, invite people and slap a NDA on it. No problem. You can’t really have it both ways.
If you solicit blog posts for publicity reasons during a launch event, do the bloggers a favor and tell them, beforehand, if something has changed or been dropped since the beta. If you don’t trust them to not leak information, what was the NDA worth to begin with?
- Don’t solicit blog posts, and then call it misinformation if things have changed, and you haven’t informed anyone of it. That’s just plain rude.
Come on VMware, you have been able to do things like this before, without this kind of problems. I’m sure you can do it again. As for the title for this post? Have a look at The misinformation effect.
Duncan Epping rather unceremoniously published a blog post “New Beta Program offering: VMware Hosted Beta” yesterday, outlining the availability of the new hosted beta offering that companions some of the current VMware beta programs.
Due to the very NDA nature of the beta programs, I can´t really go into details on what is currently offered, but what I can say is this: Well done VMware!
The VMware Hosted Beta runs on the same engine that runs the VMware Hands on Labs Online – Beta, but with a little added twist. You connect to the hosted beta through a web interface, before the actual connection is handed over to a locally installed VMware Horizon View client. This works very well, and I got to play around a bit with it a bit yesterday.
The idea of a hosted beta like this really resonates with me, as one of the major time sinks when it comes to actively participating in betas is the physical setup of a lab environment. As I am currently without a properly powerful lab, something that will change very soon I hope, getting hosted beta access could not be more welcome.
This way I get to dip my toes in the beta offerings, without having to procure the required hardware. While I don´t think the hosted beta replaces the need for a dedicated physical lab, it sure does work as an excellent stop-gap in the mean time. It also means that you can jump in and out of various pieces of the beta, without having to spend a lot of time configuring an environment from scratch. In addition, this also means that you can get a working environment set up in a matter of minutes, and all you need is
love an internet connection.
Of course, VMware does not want everyone to run all their beta testing in this environment, they need feedback on installation and configuration issues in “real world” scenarios as well as plain old feature testing in a controlled environment, but this is a very welcome addition in my mind.
Kudos to the HoL and Beta teams at VMware, this makes my day so much easier and I am sure it will also help them in getting better feedback from us beta testers.
VMware is close (still in beta) to releasing the new major release of VMware Workstation.
Update 14. September 2011: VMware Workstation 8 has now officially been released.
VMware Workstation 8 brings a lot of new features and enhancements to the table, and I’ve been lucky enough to play around with it in the beta program.
VMware Workstation 8 System Requirements
To be able to install VMware Workstation, the host system processor needs to meet the following requirements:
- 64-bit x86 CPU
- LAHF/SAHF support in long mode
To determine if your host system is 64-bit capable, download CPU-Z to determine the capabilities of your processor.
To be able to run nested 64bit guests, like VMware vSphere 5 hosts, the system needs additional CPU features:
- AMD CPU that has segment-limit support in long mode.
- Intel CPU that has VT-x support. VT-x support must be enabled in the host system BIOS.
For a list of Intel processors that support VT-x check Intel® Virtualization Technology List, or use CPU-Z to identify that as well.
VMware Workstation 8 – New features