VMware is allowing early access to the newest version of vSphere for the first time. The open beta program for vSphere 5.5 is the first of its kind for VMware, which has always kept updates close to the chest until official reveals.
"The vSphere Beta is open to everyone to sign up and allows participants to help define the direction of the world’s most widely adopted, trusted, and robust virtualization platform," says Martin Yip, Senior Product Marketing Manager at VMware.
Information regarding the wider uses of its virtualization platform has become more relevant to the company as it has expanded its reach inside the data center. In fact, it is a bit odd VMware hasn't formed a beta program for previous vSphere releases. As a flexible data center platform, it is certainly being used in a variety of environments with a variety of tasks in mind.
The vSphere beta program could potentially be a great way to build knowledge of vSphere environments in general. Not only will participants take part in the development process of the next vSphere update, they will have access to a large community of fellow participants.
VMware has already set up a vSphere 5.5 beta community page where participants may provide feedback in addition to connecting with fellow community members. VMware is open to feedback regarding all aspects of the vSphere update, including configurability, performance and functionality.
"All testing is free-form and we encourage you to use our software in ways that interest you," says Yip. "This will provide us with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling us to better align our product with your business needs."
Being a beta program there are several rules participants agree to follow. First and foremost, participants in the program may not talk about the beta with any non-participant, publicly or privately. Participants may, however, speak with their respective server vendors about the program, as long as both parties uphold an NDA. Additionally, participants agree to receive materials communications from VMware regdaring the program. For a full rundown of the rules head here.
The beta program has no scheduled end-date as of yet, but VMware is encouraging participants to take part for the first 4 to 6 weeks.