back to article VMware axes Fusion and Workstation US devs

VMware has fired the US-based development teams that worked on its Fusion and Workstation desktop hypervisors, the products that gave the company its start. News of the layoffs made it onto Twitter, of course, and has also reached a blog by former VMware team member Christian Hammond. Thelayoff.com also features former and …

  1. msknight Silver badge

    Have to admit....

    I thought, How does an idea, "hit," a virtual desk.

    Then I re-read, "Virtualisation," and thought, How does an idea hit a desk?

    Then I looked at the clock, realised it's not even 6am and that I obviously need coffee.

    1. HCV

      Re: Have to admit....

      I imagine paragraph two will eventually be hit by a reorg, with the word "blog" targeted as redundant.

      1. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Have to admit....

        It was. Thanks for pointing out the error. Sub-editor flagellation procedure invoked.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Have to admit....

          Sub-editor flagellation procedure invoked.

          And it's not even Friday yet, surely it's too early in the week to be carrying on like that?

          Besides, if you wait until then you can consolidate all the retribution for the week's howlers (rare though they are) in to one easy session.

        2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: Re: Re: Have to admit....

          You know the rules, Simon.

          Pics or it didn't happen.

        3. x 7

          Re: Have to admit....

          " Sub-editor flagellation procedure invoked."

          video please

          otherwise it never happened....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahh... The ever connected fallacy

    If any business sets up an infrastructre that relies upon a network connection being there 100% of the time then IMHO, they are doomed to fail.

    Only this week, (as a remote worker) I have lost power and thus my Internet for more than 6 hours. Ok, so I can blame that on the JCB (backhoe for our colonial cousins) driver who is digging up the road and laying a new water main. But wind, and the weather in general will play an ever important part in our data security. Power might be rationed.

    What price your biz then eh? Can't do any work because you can't reach the VM on the corporate cloud that has replaced your desktop? Tough shite.

    What about Mobile/Cellular networks? They still need power at the masts and if the backhaul network goes down those towers are about as useful as a Christmas Tree in June.

    I see this as just another silly if not stupid mistake by some PHB's/beanounters.

    As a Workstation and Fusion user, I will certainly think long and hard about upgrading in future.

    At the moment? Nah. Vmware can not count on any more revenue from me.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Ahh... The ever connected fallacy

      The entire point of my virtualisation activities is to insulate myself against change. It doesn't matter where my servers need to move to, or what hardware they actually run on, or what I need them to contain... they are little box that you can move around to keep everything the same for yourself.

      As such, "cloud" really plays no part in my virtualisation activities. It's much more about "Whoops, the server has blown up, fire up the replica VMs", or "Whoops, that upgrade went badly... rollback." or "Whoops, the entire place burnt down, nip down to PC World and let's set up shop in the local pub".

      Without needing third-party involvement.

      I don't need to rely on someone else to do those things, I can just carry my snapshots and replicas and put them wherever I feel like. Whether it's work (Hyper-V) or home (VMWare Workstation), I have a consistent working environment not subject to the whims of some random third-party, or hardware failure.

      Luckily, the beautiful thing about hypervisors is that it doesn't really matter if they go away. VMWare Workstation and the images it creates can work on an enormous range of operating systems, covering an awful lot of underlying eras (Windows 7, 8, 10, etc.). And if it really comes to it, conversion to another VM type isn't particularly fraught with danger. Lock down the base OS and it barely matters what VMWare want to do, my copy of the latest Workstation can continue to work for years. If Microsoft get particularly irksome with the Windows 10 stuff, I can just install the Linux hypervisor version instead and remove the problem entirely.

      It's sad news. But to be honest, the last couple of times I upgraded Workstation, it was quite expensive and I didn't get much back from it. Sure, they upped a couple of limits that I was NOWHERE NEAR anyway, and maybe fixed a bug or two but the last two/three "major" versions of Workstation only felt like point releases anyway.

      I'll be sad to see it go, because I especially like things like VMWare Unity where an in-VM window can appear to be native to the host OS, but it's not the end of the world. And I'm licenced forever to use what I already have. Until literally a base Linux hypervisor for it cannot be installed any longer, my VMs and working pattern will continue untouched. And then I'll probably just convert the VM to another format for another hypervisor and carry on as before.

      1. PhilipJ

        Re: Ahh... The ever connected fallacy

        So is there any usable replacement for Windows ?

        None of the alternatives that I've tried performed anywhere as good as VMware Workstation.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: Ahh... The ever connected fallacy

          >None of the alternatives that I've tried performed anywhere as good as VMware Workstation.

          What do you mean, performance-wise ? If you are into games, I am sure the hardware acceleration in VMWare is better than VirtualBox, apart from that, I see no difference in performance, really ... i7 (6core), 24Gb Ram, dual 500Gb SSD's.

        2. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Ahh... The ever connected fallacy

          I'm in the "gently casting around for an alternative" camp too. Currently have ESX on a microserver and use the Windows client to get a console.

          With both Microsoft and vmWare seemingly abandoning Windows it feels like time to move on.

        3. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Ahh... The ever connected fallacy

          The main reason I use Workstation is I can easily share VMs with the full blown VMWare systems my company uses. There are still many tasks I prefer to work on a local VM, instead of using a remote one.

          VMWare should be careful, because the more people it moves to Hyper-V or VirtualBox for local virtualization tasks, the more those people will look for the same system in production systems also.

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: Ahh... The ever connected fallacy

            >VirtualBox for local virtualization tasks, the more those people will look for the same system in production systems also.

            Granted I have only ever used the low end stuff as an end user but the impression I get is running Virtualbox in production for anything critical (not talking on your desktop) is probably a career limiting move. I have seen enough wackiness even on the desktop to not recommend that route.

            1. x 7

              Re: Ahh... The ever connected fallacy

              this is going to sound a bit nooby or such like........but I for one have really lost the plot over which virtualisation companies make what, what the various programs do, and how they all fit together.

              Can anyone point me at a decent overview?

              Or does the Reg fancy doing a report on the state of play in virtualisation?

    2. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
      Linux

      Re: Ahh... The ever connected fallacy

      I'm typing this reply on my laptop and................................................

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What China

    Second tier Vmware development has long moved out of India and has never been to China. I can probably dig out a podcast with their CTO openly and bluntly explaining that compared to Eastern Europe neither one of these is good value for the money. This was 7+ years ago by the way.

    So if they canned Team A, if the product will live, it will go to Team B which happens to be located at the following coordinates: bulevard „Doctor G. M. Dimitrov“ 16, 1797 Sofia, Bulgaria

  4. J J Carter Silver badge
    FAIL

    WTF?

    I'll certainly be strippnig all VMware prodiucts from the estate now PLA Unit 61398 are doing the coding.

  5. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    What's this supposed to mean?

    From the article :

    News of the layoffs made it onto Twitter, of course, and has also reached a blog by former VMware team member Christian Hammond. a target="_blank" href="https://www.thelayoff.com/t/FDYpcKY">Thelayoff.com also features where former and current employees lamenting the decision on the grounds of having been fired or feeling VMware has made a silly decision.

    Silly formatting got borked by the chef.

  6. Scaffa

    I must admit I've found VirtualBox to be fine and haven't purchased a Workstation license in a while - though I never delved deep into anything I believe would require the VMWare super secret sauce.

    Note: This is the one time in history I'll be complimentary of an Oracle product.

    1. NinjasFTW

      cognitive dissonance

      Note: This is the one time in history I'll be complimentary of an Oracle product.

      Oracle producing a good product that is open source.... just feels wrong!

      I had to read and then re-read the license information before I would believe it

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: cognitive dissonance

        Thank Sun, Oracle got it with the purchase. Oracle know that if they screw up it will be forked and they do not really need another Open^H^H^H^HLibreOffice or MySQL/MariaDB debacle.

        1. admiraljkb

          Re: cognitive dissonance

          actually thank Innotek which Sun bought and then, well you know the rest. This apparently was one part of the acquisition they valued enough to leave alone. A lot of internal Oracle development folks were already using VirtualBox, so there would have been an outcry from within if it was fooled around with too much.

      2. SecretSonOfHG

        Re: cognitive dissonance

        "Oracle producing a good product that is open source.... just feels wrong!"

        And it is. VirtualBox is good because it was not produced by Oracle, it was acquired as part of the Sun deal.

        Give them time and it will become another MySQL/MariaDB situation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shhhhhh

      don't go bragging about it or Oracle will upgrade it so that the free one is hobbled (say works on 2 cores only) and the real one costs an Oracle Sales consultant's bonus for every extra core you enable.

  7. AbstPoolAuto

    Is this because VMware focusing on other products to support desktop virtualisation for developers? There Containerisation strategy includes a container compatible desktop hypervisor called AppCatalyst.

  8. zoranjovanic

    Sad it is

    True is that somebody from business world decide that he should fire engineers. How it is in this world that person who knows nothing more than plus, multiple, percent and hates minus can be in a charge to make decisions regarding fully developed engineers, mathematicians, professors and truly educated people which invested through their lives into learning?

    It is stinky thing. That's why all computer gangs we know are going to stop using VMware products. We have our free alternatives. And soon we are going to have our servers.

    Goodbye mr. percent. Since you lack a knowledge we have no idea what is going to happen when a system is going to be based on a Bitcoin.

    ps. We know that you know that, what will you eat then: Green money banks?

  9. SVV Silver badge

    Will be interesting to see how this pans out

    I've seen plenty of examples where management of companes got the outsourcing bug, decided to believe overblown sales patter and ended up paying way over the cost of in-house development for shoddy products and then being held to ransom for "support" for long afterwards.

    More relevantly I remember working at [Large Financial Institution] on a major server upgrade costing tens of millions. The hardware was supplied by [Major Server Vendor] who had closed down its' USA manufacturing facility that made [vital storage component] and opened up a facility in an Eastern European country with much lower salaries and much less experience of running this sort of facility. Within three months the many [vital storage components] started to fail within days of each other, resulting in mass panic from [major server vendor], private jets with engineers carrying USA made components over to install, and newly built Eastern European facility being closed and old USA plant reopened, possibly with recently laid off staff being offered their old jobs back after having pocketed a big redundancy cheque.

    Could this happen again in this case?

    The Chinese developers may be cheaper right now, saving on your monthly salary bill. But VMWare have just sent many years of knowledge and experience that they paid for out of the door. And that really matters : they know the products, code, company standards (formal and informal) and culture inside out. This will have to be learnt all over again by the newbies and it's going to be dificult and costly if the dev team is thousands of miles away. How will quality control be done? Try doing it across time zones yourself one day, I can tell you from experience that it becomes enormously painful and slow. I could go on and on with examples of why this is a bad idea in practice....

    I think at the most minimal, the short term gains from salary savings are going to be overshadowed by the long term cost of getting such a radical change bedded in and working smoothly.

    1. Philip Storry

      Re: Will be interesting to see how this pans out

      I agree with you.

      But there's no column on the spreadsheet to fit all that in.

      And the spreadsheet disagrees with us both.

      And the spreadsheet is God as far as senior management know.

      Therefore the spreadsheet wins.

      :-(

      1. NeilPost

        Re: Will be interesting to see how this pans out

        “The cost of everything, but the value of nothing”

    2. wsm

      Re: Will be interesting to see how this pans out

      Pity. I actually recommended Fusion over the alternatives because it just worked better. No resolution problems, no windowing weirdness, nothing wrong with the screen orientation.

      I'll look for something else, but the loss of expertise at a decent company, as you mentioned, is the bigger loss.

    3. tvleavitt

      Re: Will be interesting to see how this pans out

      Interesting in the Chinese sense. (see what I just did there?)

      Seriously, the is a crazy decision... and the fact that being a member of a team on a mature, profitable product that customers are well satisfied with buys you nothing in terms of job security is just one more reason for smart employees in corporate America to offer their employers not the slightest ounce of loyalty.

  10. GrumpyOldMan

    Recently updated to Workstation 12 Pro. Unlikely to be going any further with it now.

    Maybe the guys should start a new company and fork something similar?

  11. Gordan

    ESX in Workstation / Linux in ESX

    "Fusion and Workstation probably have enough ESX in them to make it unlikely VMware would ever let the code run wild."

    There are also seemingly well founded allegations of Linux GPL code in ESX:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/05/vmware_sued_for_gpl_violation_by_linux_kernel_developer/

    So arguably letting code run wild is exactly where we can hope this might legally end up.

    1. parity bit

      Re: ESX in Workstation / Linux in ESX

      "Fusion and Workstation probably have enough ESX in them to make it unlikely VMware would ever let the code run wild."

      So it'll be on a USB stick and out of the door within hours of it being accessible to their new development team. :-)

      Sadly, I think I'm finished with Workstation.

  12. Notas Badoff
    Unhappy

    Developers, developers, developers...

    This rather reminds of Microsoft's reputation problem with developers. When you explicitly tell developers they don't matter they rightly get a little rude. Why should we 'want' to recommend the bigger siblings to WS when the company says it only wants to talk to your management, cuz they're stupider?

    Hey I keep my "Dr. Gui" t-shirt on hand just to remind Microsoft apologists that their favorite company told developers to take a flying leap at a rolling DVD a number of times. I'll have to look around for VMware tat for show-n-tell.

  13. Orwell44

    VM ware works seamlessly on 1920x1080 whereas Virtual Box does not - causing a silly little square window to work in.

  14. mark phoenix

    Looks like I am stuck on Parallels 10 as I don't like the new subscription model. VMWare was an obvious replacement but no more.

    I don't want to invest in a product, supported by a team with zero experience of how it works :(

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