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As you may (or may not know) I recently tried to trigger a grass roots campaign to try and see if VMware would be receptive to re-introducing the old VMTN Subscription. I must admit I was surprised with the terrific response I’ve received from the community. I’ve tried various community based things in the past with varying degrees of success – but this campaign does appear to be “trending” as the social media folks like to say. I must admit, when it started to take off I was a little bit worried that I might upset my good contacts/relationship with VMware. After all I don’t want to be branded a “trouble maker”. But judging by the response from others, it seems like my initial instinct was right – that there’s a lot of pent-up need/demand for a reintroduction of the VMTN subscription.
I think it would be nice for folks to stop +1 and start to say where both VMware customers and VMware could benefit. According to sources close to VMware, there does seem to be receptive ear to the proposal but the community voices need to be continually and consistently heard over the coming days, weeks – perhaps even months – so the message is a clear and resounding one.
One thing I have noticed is how many people have different ideas on how it could be done, and what the benefits are to VMware. That’s started me thinking from VMware’s perspective about the advantages, disadvantages, risks and rewards associated with re-opening the program. You see I’m a share holder of VMware stock both directly and via various managed funds – so that often makes me think from both the customer and shareholder perspective.
I guess the biggest fear I would have if I was VMware is unscrupulous folks using the VMTN subscription in production – especially if its functionality meets or exceeds a SMB/SME SKU. You could get folks using the VMTN subscription & renewing – instead of purchasing the product properly. It’s precisely for this reason that in our industry evaluations are hard-coded to expire after a limited period. One argument could be that most folks are honest, and the benefits of a VMTN subscription far outweighs those risks. After all, it existed in the past precisely under the same conditions… I think the only way to secure the product from missuses like that would be to perhaps limit its scalability such that the product functionality remains, but its practical use in production would be so limited that it would never be used in Prod. The downside of that is some people's homelabs touch closely to Production style environments – precisely to make them as realistic as possible. My host currently has a combo of 12GB and 16GB RAM. I’m running out of memory and I’m considering an upgrade. It would be a shame to do a hardware upgrade only to later find software limited my capabilities.
The other issue is how dice & slice the VMTN. If I was VMware I would be wanting to keep it simple. There’s been a lot of talk about different types of VMTN – core, desktop, management and so on. Here’s what I’m thinking. A “VCP” VMTN design for those working towards their VCP that includes the core features of the vSphere5 platform. Once someone has passed their VCP they would then qualify to “Upgrade” their VMTN subs to be “Certified”. This would unlock the door to ALL the VMware technologies for a yearly sub. This could be seen as facilitating the certification process – and also be seen as a “reward” for attaining the VCP status. It would acknowledge that self-learning doesn’t begin or end with the VCP and knowing vCenter/ESX. I’ve always been keen to see the VCP and VMUG membership as offering real tangible “benefits”. I guess that also leaves another option – of rolling the VMTN subscription into the existing VMUG Advantage package which has proved so popular in the community.