As many of you already know, on August 12, 2008, we experienced a code issue with the updated versions of ESX 3.5 and ESXi 3.5 (Update 2). The issue triggered a premature expiration of the product license, causing a range of possible problems including the inability to power-on virtual machines on affected hosts.
At that time, I wrote that we would do everything in our power to ensure this type of incident is never repeated. Since then, we have initiated a major examination and evaluation of our product release and quality assurance processes. This effort has yielded a number of areas for improvement, and we have already begun making needed changes.
We have removed any instances of the type of “time-out” code from all major, minor and maintenance code releases for VMware enterprise products and will not incorporate this type of code in our licensed products going forward.
We are instituting a range of enhancements to our quality assurance process to place even greater emphasis on standardized, automated quality testing.
We are driving greater transparency, accountability, and oversight on the entire product release lifecycle with new formal documentation and auditing procedures.
While these are necessary and important steps, they are by no means the sum total of our efforts in this area. VMware’s products and internal processes have been designed to support mission critical environments, and we take the responsibility that comes with our role as a core element in IT infrastructures very seriously. To that end, we are taking further actions to improve the overall VMware customer experience going forward.
First, we will continue to ensure that VMware products are designed to support the reliability, availability and serviceability needs of enterprise production environments. We are investing significant resources towards improving how our products are installed and upgraded (such as with VMware Update Manager); developing more technology enablers that work to eliminate downtime (e.g. Storage VMotion) and redesigning how licensing and activation work. To get a sense of where we are pushing the boundaries here, I invite you to register to be part of our beta programs for VMware Infrastructure and other VMware products.
Second, we will improve and better align our efforts around supporting and communicating to customers in response to product issues. We have established a company-wide effort intended to streamline and standardize how we reach out to any of our customers affected by a product issue.
Third, we will continue to provide our customers with the guidance and proven best practices to deploy, scale, and manage VMware across their datacenters. By enabling our customers to better “operationalize” their VMware environments, we will be helping them to anticipate, plan for, and easily respond to any issues that come their way. This kind of assistance is already available through our Professional Services and VMware Authorized Consultant offerings. We are making this kind of information more accessible to all VMware customers with our recently launched VI OPS portal, along with a new “VMware on VMware” program designed to provide insight into how we use our products in our own production IT environment.
We at VMware have always set high standards for ourselves in terms of product quality and customer experience. Going forward, we’ll continue to raise the bar here.
Thank you for your continued support.