VMware asks Veeam to remove support for free ESXi from Backup product

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Earlier this month Veeam announced the decision to remove support for the free version of VMware ESXi from its Backup & Replicator (formerly Backup). The company CEO revealed that VMware specifically asked to do so:

…Recently, VMware requested that Veeam discontinue support for ESXi Free in Veeam Backup and Replication in order to comply with VMware’s updated licensing policy.

In light of VMware’s request, and our close technical partnership, Veeam Backup and Replication will no longer support ESXi Free. We will still continue to offer support for ESXi Free to existing Veeam customers who purchased Backup & Replication prior to version 3.1…

After the controversial decision to limit the competitors at the upcoming VMworld, with this move VMware took a further step to compromise its image of beloved innovator as the community reactions demonstrate here, here and here.

The official VMware answer on this topic was given to SearchServerVirtualization:

…We provide certain APIs [application programming interfaces] and methods particular to the virtualization environment,” said Patrick Lin, the vice president of product management for VMware’s server business unit. By offering access to the hypervisor via a preferred set of APIs, “our intent is to provide a level playing field in the basis of backup,” he said.

But Veeam did not use VMware-approved methods to develop its product, said Parag Patel, VMware’s vice president of alliances. “We’re not exactly sure what they did, but it didn’t seem sound,” Patel said. “For us it’s a question of what’s built and how it’s built. … To be perfectly honest, we didn’t want to be associated with it because it wasn’t satisfactory…

Unfortunately it doesn’t matter what is the real reason behind this move. The effect is that any company that is working with VMware or aspires to do so will perceive the partnership with the virtualization vendor as a mined field. And not just because VMware is about to place a product in every possible market segment.
If VMware continues with this trend the ecosystem that is slowly growing around Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer will receive an unexpected boost.