Monday, January 5, 2009

Virtually inexistant support

Edit: this problem has been fixed in VMWare 2.0.2. Now even 10.6 beta boots.

I own VMWare fusion 2.0.1. I use it on a MacOS X Server (XServe) to sometimes run Windows XP if I have to. But I also use it to try new stuff out in a "protected" environment. So I have a MacOS X Server instance running inside a VMWare Fusion virtual instance. I recently updated VMWare to 2.0.1 and MacOS X to 10.5.6. VMWare tells me that I should update VMWare tools inside the virtual machine for optimal performance. So I did. This is a BAD IDEA. MacOS X Server guest operating system didn't boot anymore after that.

So I reinstalled MacOS X Server 10.5.1 from CD, updated all the Apple updates to 10.5.6 again and VMWare tools again. Same problem. Locked up totally.

Clearly an issue for VMWare's support as its smells like a BIG FAT BUG.

So go to the website, click on support, you end up searching a database of similar cases. MacOS X Server is not found anywhere in there. So continue to register a support case. But oh-oh, you only get free support for 30 days. Well, ok I got to spend a few bucks. But no I can't. You try to log into the store and you get PAGE NOT FOUND. Sending a "comment" to the website triggers an email back after 30 minutes with the correct URL. Great now I'm able to waste my money in the shop and get a serial number for support. What now?

The confirming mail says you should register your product. So you click on it and what you get? Product registered. That's it. Now you log into support again and you get:

Well after quitting and restarting the webbrowser or force reload you can get past this. Now then you see I have an expired license. No mentioning of my registered pay per incident item. so what now? Well there is a item saying in emergency cases call this number. As this is my very last option, I call long distance across the atlantic.

"Welcome to VMware blabla, for VMWare Fusion, press #". I press #. "For VMWare Fusion issues please go to .....". Great. Infinite loop.

Calling in again with NO OPTIONS selected. I end up on a human. GREAT. He can find my support license number but it says the license number I bought TODAY is already expired. He can not open a case due to that and wants to pass me on to the Licensing department to fix this. I get transferred and the call gets dropped.

I call again, "Welcome to VMware blabla, for VMWare Fusion, press #"... for Licensing issues and other stuff press 1. So I end up on another person. "Ah Fusion, please wait"... "Welcome to VMware blabla, for VMWare Fusion, press #". but now there's no option to wait. After 30 seconds "Please make a selection NOW"... and then "Welcome to VMware blabla, for VMWare Fusion, press #".

I call again and I end up on the same techie. He now figured out how to file my one time to support number and directs me through the website (including "not found" and all the issues again) I end up on a page to now file my support issues in a webform. He can not help me by phone. Its web / email support only (so why pay the bucks for commercial support if you dont even get phone support, but that's another story). So I successfully filed a request. HURRAY.

He also suggested to use VMWare Community. And there's an option from the support request page to go there so I do. I have to register AGAIN, now for the VMWare community (others call it forum but what the heck). Of course my usual username is taken and the webform only says that it can not register and brabbles some ununderstandable error. After picking another username I ended up on the forum. So I want to do a new post. Then I get this:

Going to the main page and go on to the community tab reveals this:

So I click on LOGIN (top left or the big fat button in the middle). This brings you to this page:

Fun, isn't it.

Getting nowhere, I decided to add those screenshoots to the support incident. But what do I get there:

and I also realized my phone number has changed:

To recap:
I spent about 1 hour of work, 29$ in wasted incident support, 3 international calls on a simple issue I'm sure the right techie could answer or fix in 1 minute.
The community can't help because you are not able to log in, the stuff is so carefully hidden in the website that no one can find it.

And after all this: my problem is still not fixed.

Well what options do we have? Unfortunately the competitor Parallels is worse. My Parallels Server actually freezes and after 2 months waiting, I have given up on them.

Conclusion: don't try to run virtualisation whatsoever on MacOS X on a server. Just don't even try. Boot camp is the only way (now I could start writing about 2h on how many countless hours it took me to get Vista running properly on my MacBook pro but I save this for another time).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Horror. I also run sometimes into such nightmares: You see something wrong on a webpage, want to contact their web master, only to learn that that won't work, either, for either another bug, or even the same one. Big companies suck at this - nonoe feels responsible or even willing to make sure their customers can contact them and be helped or even give helpful feedback to THEM.
And your experience tops it all. Paying for non-service and then not getting anywhere with it, either, not even an apology or - unthinkable - a reimbursement.