Is SCVMM 2008 R2 really banned from VMworld?

Isn’t it odd that the Microsoft Virtualization team would write up an entire post dedicated to the notion that VMware has banned them from exhibiting the new System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 (SCVMM 2008 R2) at VMworld 2009 next week in San Francisco?

I first read of this particular issue on Network World today.  But unlike the official Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog, NW actually includes some details about this supposed ban — like this quote from an official VMware spokeswoman:

Yes, competing vendors are allowed to exhibit, including exhibiting competing products.

The VMworld contract was big news — back in May — but since then, like it or not, most competitors and industry watchers have conceded that the fine print in the VMworld contract is industry standard.  Just read the comments in that Virtualization.info article referenced by MSFT.

While it does make for pretty good drama, you should know that VMware has not banned Microsoft from exhibiting SCVMM 2008 R2.  I do admit, “Try the virtualization manager that VMware doesn’t want you to see!” does sound a lot more intriguing than “Here’s SCVMM R2, it does mostly the same stuff as the first release, and it can manage vSphere now — if you count VI3 feature parity.”

See you at VMworld.

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5 comments

  1. Rick Schlander’s avatar

    Contract fine print is usually vague and can be misconstrued – I bet that it is the same verbiage for just about any solutions exchange.

  2. David Elliott’s avatar

    I have been following this subject with some interest and amusement. And I keep heading back to the same conclusion… “huh?”

    I became interested in the whole virtualization topic when I did an event for Wyse a couple of years ago, and have been following it ever since. I have read all of the NetworkWorld Articles, from May, through both articles which ran yesterday. There seems to be no argument that “earlier this year” VMware altered its contract for exhibitors to include language that prohibits exhibitors from demonstrating services that “overlap/substitute with VMware’s products/capabliities.” No argument that the language was ADDED. You say that an official spokeswoman from VMware told Network World that’ “Yes, competing vendors are allowed to exhibit, including exhibiting competing products.”

    Then why was the specific language added to the contract in the first place? Added?

    Personally, I have always tried to take language in contracts that I sign seriously. Anything I won’t agree to, I line it out. If whoever wrote the contract won’t let me get away with lining it out, then I either don’t sign, or sign and agree to do, whatever it was I did not agree with. But that is just me.

    So the language was added to the contract, VMware wrote an email to Network World saying they were just joking. Except that I cannot find an official statement on the VMware website, or on the VMworld website, or anywhere else on the entire internet saying that they were just joking, nor do we know who wrote the email, or whether is went to any of the exhibitors who actually signed the contract in question. No official announcement, which sort of infers that it really is the policy. We also have no way of knowing whether the companies involved talked about it, except that Microsoft and Citrix are behaving a lot like companies that were told they could not exhibit.

    Ok, so we do not really know what the real policy is, and so we have to then examine what is happening. I used to do a LOT of events for Apple, and I ran into the Microsoft folks from time to time. I was backstage in Hawaii in ’84 during the infamous dust-up between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates over the pre-release version of Windows that Steve saw the day of the Mac introduction. I’ve been a hundreds of trade shows since, and I’ve never found Microsoft to be shy about demo-ing their products in the most enormous, flashy booth possible. This is clearly not Microsoft’s first Rodeo. Nor is it Citrix’s first time either.

    I recently read a Gartner article quotes stating that they projected there to be 611 Million Virtualized PC’s my 2011 (up from 4 million this year)… 18 months from now. That is a pretty big market… particularily when you consider that whoever controls the server cloud for those PC’s may well have a lot of sway over what OS they are running… Can we hink of anyone who might be concerned about that?

    So arwho is really expecting me, or anyone else to believe that Microsoft or Citrix would turn down an opportunity to show their new products for that exact market, to the IT people who will be making the decisions for that exact market? Are you really suggesting that they would opt to not show their products in exchange for an opportunity to WHINE? Hahahahahahahaha.

    No. Sorry. I just cannot buy that argument. Microsoft and Citrix would be, should be exhibiting like crazy at VMworld. I would expect that if they were banned from exhibiting in a show so closely tied to that market, that Microsoft and Citrix and anyone else who wanted a share of a 611 million user market would be kicking and screaming at the very tops of their voices. That appears to me to be what is happening. I am just rather surprised that they are being as civil about it as they are.

    I will not be going to VMworld, but four of my clients, a hospital, a QSR restaurant company, a sporting goods manufacturer and a Hollywood studio will be. I spoke to one of the IT managers last week, and he had been planning on making purchasing desisions based on what he saw at the event. So I understand the nature of the drama. There is a lot at stake. Perhaps we will never know the real truth, but I have had to form my own opinion based upon the available evidence, and common sense.

  3. John Laur’s avatar

    Just because something is “industry standard” doesn’t mean its fair or right. Trade shows put on by or directly on behalf of a seingle vendor are always pulling this kind of bullshit (and I’m being nice here), whether it be Macworld, Astricon, VMworld, or a whole host of others both in and out of the computer industry.

    Regardless of what a “spokesperson” says, all that matters is what is in the exhibitor contract, and I would wager lots and lots of money that there are provisions in there specifically to limit and severely curtail the presence of directly competing products regardless of whether or not they are technically “allowed” to be shown. The best evidence is that if they were really allowed to be shown without risk of repercussions or overbearing restrictions, the vendors would be happily showing them — and they aren’t.

    To be honest with you, I am a big fan of VMware, but the marketing people there are always making me insane. How can VMware’s engineers be so freaking smart and the marketing people be so dumb? Are there separate HR departments? Do the two sides of the company not talk to each other? Why can’t VMware just be the best solution and the industry leader and be polite about it at the same time? It is reprehensible and sad for any company to allow their petty slap-fighting to creep out in public view like this. Do they really have to fight it out with press releases and blogs and media puppetry? Are all the phones at VMware and Microsoft broken?

    As a customer, I want to know about the merits of VMware and hear about the things I can do with the new technology that’s being produced. I don’t give a damn about how much VMware hates Hyper-V or Xen and likes to whine about it. I am a really smart person and I can make my own assessment. But with vSphere’s ten editions and seventy product renamings and five hundred skus and twenty million press releases about how it stabs Hyper-V in the kidney — well I’m just about done. VMware is turning into EMC despite its best efforts; and I fear that like EMC one day they will get passed in their core business and with all the vaults full of cash sitting around, they won’t even realize it until it’s five or ten years too late!

    1. Eric Gray’s avatar

      Gentlemen, I can tell from the fervor of your comments that you both take this issue very seriously. Thank you for taking the time.

      As you can see in the follow-up post, Microsoft certainly was not invited to exhibit their competing products (Hyper-V, App-V, etc.) but they do concede that SCVMM would be just about the only complimentary product they could exhibit. It would have been easy for them to take advantage of this opportunity to demo the much-touted “VMware management” feature. Instead, they led off with a blog about how they are explicitly prevented from exhibiting that particular product — that is misleading. I think what they meant to say is, “we can’t bring Hyper-V R2 so we decided not to bring the management piece either.”

    2. Eiad Al-Aqqad’s avatar

      Hi Eric,

      It seems Microsoft has complained the same this year as well. I have put almost a similar post to yours at: http://www.virtualizationteam.com/microsoft/microsoft-will-not-showcase-hyper-v-at-vmworld.html

      What I have funny & I mentioned in my post is that Citrix are showing their Xen Desktop in VMware, so I can not see what is stopping Microsoft from showing SCVMM or any of their virtualization products in there. I don’t see them being banned if they had bothered an applied, though that is my personal opinion I guess.

      Enjoy,
      Eiad Al-Aqqad
      http://www.VirtualizationTeam.com

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