Sometimes it pays to wait a few weeks. VMware introduced Update 2 for both its ESX 3.5 hypervisor and ESXi 3.5 free hypervisor at the end of July with much fanfare.
Then, at midnight on August 12, both went awry. A piece of code in the hypervisor expired the products, which meant that users could not start new virtual machines (VMs), power on VMs after they had been shut down, and could not move a VM from one host to another.
New CEO Paul Maritz wrote an open letter of apology within 12 hours, promising this would not happen again. VMware has also notified customers, pulled the affected software off its Websites, and issued new versions without the flaw.
The scope of the problem was huge -- in its literature, VMware boasts that it has more than 120,000 customers and nearly 18,000 partners. In his letter on The Console, VMware's executive blog, Maritz said the company is "doing everything in our power to make sure this doesn't happen again," and that VMware is reviewing its processes.
In response to a request for an interview, VMware (NYSE: VMW) e-mailed InternetNews.com a statement saying it has notified its customers that "we have re-issued the entire ESX/ESXi 3.5 Update 2 release." The statement also indicates the Web sites from which users can download these new releases and an express patch.
Cause for concern
However, some feel VMware did not react fast enough, and the error is causing some concern among partners. The biggest shock was not the problem itself, but the fact that a product from a company known for its quality and reliability had a flaw.
VMware's response was not enough for Edward L. Haletky, founder of virtualization, security and network consultants AstroArch Consulting. "Their biggest failing was they didn't immediately communicate that problem," he told InternetNews.com.
"They knew about this problem very early in the morning and I didn't get my notification until 6 p.m. on that day," Haletky said. He added that VMware "didn't communicate well except through their forum."