CRN Exclusive: VMTurbo Asked To Cancel VMworld Speaking Engagement, Set To Change Its Name To Ease Clash With VMware

VMTurbo was asked by VMware to withdraw its planned speaking engagements at the upcoming VMworld conference, a source close to the company told CRN.

The clash with VMware comes as VMTurbo, a developer of application performance tools for virtualized and cloud environments, is changing its name to Turbonomic as a way to de-emphasize a focus on VMware environments.

VMTurbo -- soon to be Turbonomic -- for now is still listed as a gold-level sponsor at VMworld, according to the VMworld website.

[Related: Sources: VMware Sets Sights On Startup VMTurbo As Cloud Management Battle Heats Up]

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VMware pulled VMTurbo's speaking engagements at VMworld and returned VMTurbo's fee, a source told CRN.

VMTurbo is expected to announce its new name at or near the time of the VMworld conference, as well as a move to a 100-percent channel model, sources told CRN.

A VMware spokesperson told CRN that VMware would look into the issue, but by press time had not yet followed through. VMTurbo by press time had not yet responded to a request for information.

This is also not the first time that VMTurbo and VMware have had competitive issues aired in public. VMware in October used a series of Twitter tweets to cast doubt on the enterprise-readiness of VMTurbo’s Operations Manager.

VMTurbo would not be the first to run into issues exhibiting at VMware conferences. Both Veeam, the Baar, Switzerland-based data protection software vendor, and Nutanix, the San Jose, Calif.-based developer of hyper-converged infrastructure technology, were prevented from exhibiting at the VMware Partner Exchange conference in 2014.

VMTurbo in June applied for a trademark on the name "Turbonomic," according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The name was registered under two categories: IC 009, for "downloadable computer software for managing cloud-based and virtualized computing environments," and IC 042, for "software as a service" services, according to the office.

The pending name change reflects a desire to be known as a provider of technology to a variety of virtualization and cloud environments, and not just focused on VMware, said Jamie Shepard, senior vice president for healthcare and strategy at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and close partner to both VMware and VMTurbo.

Such a concern could be based in part on the first two letters in the "VMTurbo" name given that they also appear in the names "VMware" and "VMworld," the annual conference hosted by VMware. "VM" is also a common abbreviation for "virtual machine" in the IT industry.

VMTurbo, which has raised $60 million in funding since its 2009 founding, has as its core solution VMTurbo Operations Manager. The company claims that VMTurbo Operations Manager matches real-time application workloads and virtual machine demand to compute, storage, and network resource availability.

VMTurbo Operations Manager competes with VMware's vRealize Automation Suite. Shepard told CRN via email that the VMTurbo technology complements VMware environments, but that VMTurbo hasn't always realized the concern about competitiveness between the two vendors.

"[VMTurbo] takes revenue away from VMware reps and limits their involvement with overall management and automation, so [it's] a direct competitor and VMTurbo wasn't really seeing that," he wrote.

With the pending change in name to Turbonomic, VMTurbo will be better positioned as a provider of technology to both VMware and non-VMware environments, Shepard wrote."They are going after non-VMware workloads and felt that VMTurbo was too VMware centric," he wrote. "'Autotomic' and 'Economics' is their new thing."

Dan Beeler, director of the data center division at CompuNet, a Meridian, Idaho-based solution provider and VMTurbo partner, said he has also heard about the pending adoption of the "Turbonomic" moniker and is not happy.

"It sounds like they tried too hard," Beeler told CRN. "I think marketing at VMTurbo won the wrestling match with engineering."

VMTurbo does indeed go beyond VMware to work with other hypervisors, Beeler said. "I understand why they're changing the name," he said. "But that doesn’t mean I like it."

Shepard wrote he is also excited about VMTurbo's plan to move to a 100-percent channel model and away from direct deals.

"As a Tier 1 Premier partner I find all of this independence and the timing to be perfect," Shepard wrote. "The speed of which this has happened is also interesting as they just filed for the trademark name this past June knowing they were going to make a big splash in August at VMworld."