If I Were Michael Dell
Some suggestions for how to handle VMware.
By the time you read this, it's likely that VMware will be a subsidiary of Dell Inc. (the deal is supposed to close in July or August, and had not yet been finalized as of this writing). In any event, if it hasn't happened by then, it soon will, barring any major unforeseen circumstances. I've written extensively on the deal, and the fears among VMware-ians that Dell will try to change VMware as it subsumes the company.
Of course, no one knows exactly what will happen with VMware once its Dell overlords are in place. But I can say what I would -- and wouldn't -- do if I were in the shoes of Dell CEO/Founder Michael Dell.
The place I'd start is with the little guy: the small to midsize business (SMB) admin out there who likes VMware stuff and knows how to run his little three-server datacenter on vSphere. For him, I'd offer more free goodies and easier terms and conditions. Restrictions on usage and onerous licensing programs caused one SMB admin to write in the July issue that "VMware has repeatedly proven that it doesn't care much for small customers." As Michael Dell, I'd make sure that SMB admins don't feel that way anymore.
Another thing I would do is not restrict which hardware partners VMware can do business with. There will be a strong temptation to make sure Dell hardware is married to VMware software in things like hyper-converged appliances, while other OEMs like Hewlett Packard Enterprise are left at the altar. Instead, I'd want to let everyone know they're welcome to use VMware software, and that non-Dell suppliers won't get squeezed out. That will ensure that VMware stays as profitable as possible, and not serve merely as a conduit for Dell stuff.
There's a lot more I'd do as Michael Dell, but that's a good start.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.