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VMware May Bring Back VMTN Subscription For Developers

VMware says it's looking into bringing back VMTN, a popular subscription offering it cut four years ago which lets developers recreate data centers on their desktops.

VMware Technology Network

Unveiled in June 2005 and discontinued in February 2007, VMTN was intended to allow developers to work with a replica of the data center on their desktops, thereby reducing the time and complexity involved in testing configurations. VMware charged $299 per user per year for VMTN, which is comparable to Microsoft's current TechNet pricing of $199 for a Standard subscription and $349 for Professional.

In a discussion thread launched last Friday on VMware's community forums, developers have been appealing directly to VMware CTO Steve Herrod to re-instate the VMTN subscription. Some developers are complaining about the hassle of working with 60-day trial versions of VMware products and noted that Microsoft offers 180-day evaluation packs to developers for free.

So far, the thread has had nearly 150 replies and more than 3,300 views, with nary a dissenting voice. Meanwhile, the #VMTNSubscriptionMovement hashtag has been trending since late last week on Twitter, conjuring memories of the spirited resistance to VMware's vRAM licensing model that accompanied the launch of vSphere 5 in July.

VMware eventually adjusted its vRAM model in response, and indications are that the company is at least considering restoring VMTN to its portfolio of developer tools.

"I am happy to be able to confirm that we are investigating the option to reinstate the VMTN Subscription program," Duncan Epping, principal architect in VMware's Technical Marketing group, said in a Tuesday blog post.

Keith Norbie, vice president and CTO at Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based partner, is impressed with VMware's quick response to developers' concerns. "By listening to social media, VMware is having a much more dynamic relationship with the user community that is championing their technology," he said.

In a 2007 FAQ announcing its reasons for discontinuing the offering, the company noted that it had released two free products, VMware Server and VMware Player, and opened access to technologies such as the VMDK disk format, the VMware Perl toolkit and the VMware SDK.

Mike Laverick, a UK-based freelance virtualization contractor was the first to raise the VMTN issue on VMware's forums, acknowledged that VMware may be afraid that some unscrupulous developers might use VMTN in production.

"I think the only way to secure the product from [misuse] like that would to perhaps limit its scalability such that the product functionality remains, but its practical use in production would be so limited that it would never be used in [production]," Laverick said Tuesday in a blog post.

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