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VMware acknowledges the wisdom of never buying version 1.0 of a product
To get you upgrading faster, vSphere will now be released for Initial Availability before reaching General Availability
VMware has acknowledged what most IT pros have learned the hard way – never buy a first-generation product – with a revised release cadence for its flagship vSphere private cloud suite.
The virty giant last week announced that starting with the imminent release of vSphere 8, the product will be released in two waves.
First will come an Initial Availability (IA) release that Virtzilla vouches as ready for production workloads and will be fully certified by all partners.
Next will come General Availability (GA) – a designation VMware will apply "based on deployment experience with customers, an extra quality guarantee that never existed before."
In other words, once the brave souls who adopt software soon after release find any bugs VMware missed, it will let the rest of you know the rough edges have been sanded off so you can deploy without getting splinters.
The company reckons four to six weeks will transpire between the IA release and software going GA.
VMware's purported justification for the change is that all the cool kids who sell SaaS have done the IA/GA thing already.
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But the company's post reveals other motives.
For instance: "This is particularly relevant now as we include cloud capabilities with the recent release of vSphere+, and increasingly align our internal processes to our VMware Cloud capabilities."
vSphere+ is VMware's recently announced subscription service. VMware Cloud is the cut of vSphere that VMware deploys with its hyperscale partners, and updates on a roughly quarterly cadence. The IA/GA regime means seemingly means work being done on those products can more easily be added to vSphere as it goes from IA to GA.
The other motive is to create "the confidence you need for at-scale deployment, to get the benefits of the latest innovations in vSphere sooner."
That's VMware encouraging users to upgrade so they get all of vSphere 8's new bits. Some of those are welcome and useful upgrades, while others are land grabs – especially the VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid that allows creation of Kubernetes clusters. VMware very much wants its customers to manage both VMs and containers with vSphere, rather than considering other container management tools. The sooner VMware can get Tanzu Kubernetes Grid up and running in your rig, the better its chances of keeping you as a customer once you make the seemingly unavoidable decision to build cloud-native apps or otherwise adopt containerized software.
Another motive could be to avoid embarrassing moments such as the withdrawal from sale of vSphere update 3b, which was found to have obscure real-world bugs that weren't detected ahead of release.
Another recent VMware embarrassment was a fine for shifting revenue recognition into convenient quarters – which might not be necessary if the IA/GA arrangement sees customers willing to spend sooner. ®