I am not sure how other people have learned their craft and mastered the technology they support, but for me, the learning started after the books ended. I have learned so much more from breaking something and having to find the fix than I ever did from reading a book. Back in the day around 2005, VMware released The VMTN Subscription. This was an amazing program that was something like the Microsoft MSDN subscription. These programs gave you the ability to run any of the core software packages for a year at a time for a subscription fee. This gives us, the administrators, the ability to “learn by breaking” for a time frame longer than the sixty day trial period. The good times came to an end in 2007 when VMware announced that they were canceling the VMTN subscription moving forward. If you have any current thoughts or dreams of pursuing your VCP, VCAP and or VCDX, then sixty days is not near enough time to achieve your goals. Following the lead of Mike Laverick’s call to action, to “Bring back the VMTN Subscription Please” I wanted to stress my point of view that this program was one of the best ways for VMware to expand their technology and work with the people, in the trenches, that are supporting and expanding the virtualization footprint at their respective companies.
It appears that our actions and words are being heard in Palo Alto. This topic was brought up on the November 9th VMTN Community Roundtable that internal VMware discussions are now happening. This is absolutely fantastic news for the community and very refreshing that VMware is willing to listen to their biggest fans and open a dialog to try to revive this valuable program. I do understand that VMware is a much bigger company now than they were in 2005 with a lot more products making up the suite. The VMTN Subscription was a great idea in 2005 and is still a great idea in 2011.
However, VMTN needs to be expanded to the entire VMware product suite, much like the MSDN subscription but limited to testing use only instead of production use. Just like it is for MSDN, but VMware also needs to go further and perhaps for a different structure, but open up the APIs that allow people to create drivers either for new devices or to make use of Introspection techniques within the hypervisor itself. In this way there will be a richer set of ecosystem products developed. If VMware could offer Apple App Store approach to these, then the tools could be blessed by VMware, made available via VUM, and easily installed, maintained, and removed as necessary.
If VMTN was available then not only could the large companies participate but the smaller companies, the startups with innovative products also participate as they build their products into the ecosystem. VMTN could once more add an influx of products into the ecosystem, which will not harm but help VMware.
Please help spread the word by leaving a comment here and/or blog the topic with your thoughts and how this program can help you move forward in your career. Everyone will have a different story with a common theme. Experience with the products we support is the greatest tool to learning the technology. No secret there but what are your thoughts?