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VMware beta features could bring Zune-like embarrassment

VMware isn’t making any new fans with its habit of putting beta features into the final versions of its products.

As you may recall, back in May, virtualization expert Andrew Kutz took VMware to task for hyping Storage VMotion and Virtual Machine High Availability — while at the same time saying they were experimental features that should not be used in production. Now Kutz’s fellow blogger on the Virtualization Pro blog, Eric Siebert, is doing the same.

In his “Open letter to VMware,” Siebert cautions that a major problem with one of these features could give VMware an embarrassing black eye, along the lines of Microsoft’s recent fiasco with its Zune MP3 players, which froze up thanks to a leap-year-related software glitch.

“Produce a quality bug-free product and not try to rush out new versions, features and functionality until they are ready,” Siebert writes. “Stop with the experimental features and only put them in the finished product unless they are ready and you are going to fully support them. I know it’s almost impossible to produce 100% bug-free code, especially as your product code grows larger and larger in size, but please catch the major ones that can cause outages for your customers.”

Microsoft can survive its many blunders — Zune, Vista, Jerry Seinfeld — because of its sheer size and longtime dominance. The rope isn’t as long for VMware, because, despite all the hype, virtualization is still a relatively new technology among the masses.

VMware needs to make sure its products work, or else the backlash will be much stronger and more damaging — not just for VMware, but for virtualization as a whole.

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