Lately I have been receiving more and more questions around support for specific “hypervisor side” solutions. With that meaning, how VMware deals with solutions which are installed within the hypervisor. I have always found it very difficult to dig up details around this both externally and internally. I figured it was time to try to make things a bit more clear, if possible at all.
For VMware Technology Partners there are various programs they can join. Some of the programs include a rigid VMware test/certification process which results in being listed on the VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG). You can find those which are officially certified on our VMware Compatibility Guide here, just type the name of the solution in the search bar. For instance when I type in “Atlantis” I get a link to the Atlantis ILIO page and can see which version of ILIO is supported today with which version of vSphere. Note that in this case on vSphere 4.x is listed, but Atlantis assured me that this will be updated to include vSphere 5.x soon.
Then there are the Partner Verified and Supported Product (PVSP) solutions. These are typically solutions that do not fit the VCG, for instance when it is new type of solution and there is no certification process yet. Now of course there are still strict guidelines for these solutions to be listed. For instance, your solution will only be listed on the PVSP (and the VCG for that matter) when you are using public APIs. An example for instance is the Riverbed Steelhead appliance, it follows all of the guidelines and is listed on the PVSP as such. You can find all the solutions which are part of the PVSP program here.
Finally there is the VMware Solutions Exchange section on vmware.com. This is where you will find most other solutions… Solutions which are not officially tested/certified (part of the VCG) or part of the PVSP program because of various reasons. Note that these solutions, although listed, are not supported by VMware in anyway. Now, of course VMware Support typically will do its best to help a customer out. However, it is not uncommon to be asked to reproduce the problem on an environment which does not have that solution installed so that it can be determined what is causing the issue and who is best equipped to help solving the issue.
I am not saying that those solution that are not listed on the VCG or PVSP should be avoided. They could very well solve that problem you have, or be the solution to fulfill your business requirements and as such be the “must use” component in your stack. It should be noted though that when introducing any 3rd party solution that there is a “risk” associated with it. From an architectural and operational perspective it is heavily recommended to validate what that risk exactly is. How you can minimize that risk? What you will need to do to get the right level of support? And ultimately, which company is responsible for which part? As when push comes to shove, you don’t want to be that person spending hours on the phone just figuring out who is supporting what! You just want to be on the phone to solve the problem right?!
I hope this helps some of you out there who asked me this question.
** Note: the above is not an official VMware Support statement or a VMware Partner Alliances statement, these are my observations made while digging through the links on vmware.com **