Storage VMotion GUI, Stepping Backwards

Scott Lowe’s post about the Storage VMotion GUI beat mine by a couple of hours. I don’t even have to post, because he said exactly what I was going to say. Including his comment at the end.

What bothers me most about Virtual Infrastructure 3.5 is that overall it is a step backwards. Sure, there are new features, but each new feature has some Achilles heel that makes it hard to use. The RCLI is a major problem, and any feature that relies on it suffers. ESX 3i? Not with the RCLI, and not until it is feature-identical to normal ESX 3.5. Storage VMotion? Neat, but there are two people in my organization that can do a storage migration now, and that’s it. I can’t, I won’t, roll this out to my operations staff, mainly because it’ll be a disaster. The document alone would be the single most convoluted document I’ve written in years, again because of the RCLI. Why isn’t that part of VirtualCenter? Update Manager? The first time I ran Update Manager I lost the ability to VMotion anything. I called support to report the problem and ended up having to fix it on my own. VirtualCenter 2.5? 30% of what I do in VirtualCenter 2.5 gives me errors, and when I repeat the same action it succeeds. Out of the box VMotion causes CPU spikes, which can be resolved with a workaround, but that workaround doesn’t seem to work for me. I opened a support case and was told to wait several days for the update to take effect. Are you kidding me? Instead I figured out my own way of getting it to work. I’m not even going to open a support case about my administrative network interfaces dropping out, because what’s the point? VMware support is useless. They’ll search the KB, tell me to reboot the ESX Server with running VMs on it, I’ll object, they’ll ask for a support dump and tell me they’ll get back to me, and I’ll fix it on my own as I do with everything else. Distributed Power Management? Actual round-robin multipathing? All listed as experimental, which is basically using released software as a beta test. Will I use them? Absolutely not.

Now, a single developer created a GUI for Storage VMotion, and it just solidifies what I’ve been thinking all along: every new feature is about half done, shoved out the door as fast as possible so that they could say they have it, with little thought about how people use the products and even smaller amounts of testing. At best the features don’t work right. At worst they compromise the basic functionality of the product, making it far less stable than Virtual Infrastructure 3.0 ever was, running on the same hardware. It’s disappointing. I was a huge VMware fan prior to this, and could be again, but the honeymoon is over. My partner is off cavorting with sexier things while I’m at home paying the bills and taking care of the kids. This marriage needs counseling; I just hope we can meet half way.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Wall Street seems to agree with you.

  • Well, that might be a lot of things. Google and Apple have lost a significant amount of share value, too. But all these loose ends don’t help, either.

  • I agree. VMware has been really dropping the ball the past couple years in terms of support and software offerings. I’ve already decided that as soon as one of the OSS virtualization software is ready, I’m dumping VMware like a hot potato.

    It’s too bad, too. I used to be a huge fan.

    David

  • Wow, so you guys think VMware is toast and we should all move over to Microsoft or Xen? It seems hard to believe that the other virtualization software is so much better so fast and now you’re suggesting dumping VMware…We have a significant investment in VMware and not had the problems you mention (that I am aware) so who do we believe as a company these days? MS, VMware, or Citrix-Xen?

  • These guys are right they are pushing the product out the door way before the product is ready 3.5, it doesn’t support Microsoft clustering the v-motion causes some really weird CPU and memory issues. The vmtools has huge issues when you try to upgrade plus causes the nic card to disappear and then come back as a new nic card which causes the server to freak out. We have 2 DC’s that run nothing but vmware (about 65 host and 150 virtual servers) and have some real issues and then we call support (level 1 and level 2 are useless because we know about their product than they do and getting a level3 or higher engineer on it takes 36hrs ridiculous) I love the product or did before 3.5 but have some serious issues with where they are headed.

  • So we should go back to physical servers?

  • For us VMware ESX Server has been ROCK SOLID the last 6 years and worthy and proven as a reliable data center product. The others are still trying to catch up.

    There are always improvements that can be made in the management side and performance information inside the virtual machines though.

    But the ESX server code itself has been very stable and trustworthy.

    I’m also amazed at the visionary thinking that VMware (with 10 years of experience) brings to the virtual infrastructure that many companies could not live without these days. Then you just see the others trying to copy their ideas.

  • We are running our production servers on vmware for the last 3 years now. We have come accros some bumbs in the road but that is a bit the charm of using and doing new stuff.

    I have looked at Xen and Hyper-V and I think Xen has a long way to go before catching up with Vmware (they just released shared fiber storage support, vmware customers are already replacing their old SAN, why do you think vmware came-up with svmotion?).

    Hyper-V is not even going to get there, do not expect a 28$ product to compete with XEN or Vmware ESX. The only reason it even costs a couple of dollars is to avoid new fines from Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition.
    MS and Citrix are working closely together on a new combination. Xen being the high-end product, the costly one (like Metaframe) and Hyper-V being the low-end/mid-end solution, almost for free(like Terminal Services).
    Hyper-V will only scratch the Xen surface just as TS did/does with Winframe/Metaframe/Presentation server/XenApp. They will make sure there is a market and a price for both of them.

    It looks like the vmware focus at the moment is on the management tools for the hosts and the VMs. A good thing, i guess, but they should not become sloppy on their core product.
    The fact that more complains are being posted doesnot necessarily mean the product is getting bad. It can also mean that more people are using the product :-)

  • I have a VI3 infrastructure that has been problem free since installation. I haven’t upgraded to ESX 3.5 yet as I have no compelling reason to do so (yet).

    Like any new version of software from almost any software vendor, the early adopters are the guinea pigs who find all the problems for the rest of us that take a more conservative approach. I still haven’t deployed Windows Server 2003 SP2 for the same reason (although I will be soon as it has been out for a few months now).

    I’ll upgrade to ESX 3.5 when I must have a new feature and only after the initial wave of bug fixes are released and documented and plenty of others in forums have posted resolves and workarounds for problems I might encounter.

    My business also relies on Citrix Presentation Server as a core technology and from experience I can tell you that Citrix pushes new versions, upgrades, patches out the door far too quickly as well. I don’t expect the XenServer or XenDesktop initial builds to be any better as both will essentially be v1.0

    Unfortunately, almost all software vendors seem to push buggy software out the door these days in an effort to stay competitive.

  • Vmware is very good software i have been using it since the 99 but with 3.5 came alot of sloppy problems to clean up 3.0.2 is super stable and has no issues that we have seen but 3.5 is a different story.

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