The vSphere 6.0 Launch and The Misinformation Effect

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:

Do

  • 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

  • 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.

Brilliant idea: VMware Hosted Beta

BetaDuncan 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 Workstation 8 – What’s new?

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

  • New User Interface
    The user interface has been updated with new menus, toolbars, and an improved preferences screen.

  • Remote Connections
    Connect to Server feature allows remote connections to hosts running Workstation, ESX 4.x and Virtual Center. You can now use Workstation as a single interface to access all of the VMs you need regardless of where they reside.

  • Upload to vSphere
    Integrated vSphere drag and drop integration. Automatic usage of OVFTool enables easy uploading of VMs from VMware Workstation to ESX hosts or vCenter. Move workloads from local test environment into production environment with a few mouse clicks.

  • Share your VMs
    This new features allows you to control who access them from other instances of Workstation, great feature for teams working together or single administrators that access the same VMs from multiple computers. Also, a VM that is shared is started with the host OS without starting the VMware Workstation GUI, similar to how VMware Server worked before it was discontinued.

  • New default keyboard driver
    To limit the number of reboots required during installation/upgrade of VMware Workstation, the Enhanced Keyboard functionality is no longer installed by default.
    Note: Upgrading from VMware Workstation 7 to 8 keeps and upgrades the existing driver unless VMware Workstation 7 is uninstalled before installing version 8.
  • Virtual VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI
    This is a good one, at least for all of us that run lab environments on our desktops or laptops.
    This setting enables you to run 64bit guests inside nested hypervisors like VMware vSphere 5. To enable it, edit the vCPU settings for the particular VM.
  • Better Teams

    Add team attributes to any VM without any of the drawbacks. No longer forced to make a Team in order to manage multiple VMs together.

  • Improved graphics performance in guests
  • Improved vSMP
  • Other Virtual Hardware Improvements
    Memory support is now 64GB pr VM
    HD Audio is available for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2008, and Windows 2008 R2 guests (RealTek ALC888 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio Codec)
    USB 3.0 support for Linux guests. (Not available for Windows guests)
    Bluetooth devices can be shared with Windows guests