VMware fixes 'split brain' caused by 'stubbed toe' of botched NSX update

CEO Pat Gelsinger says pulled release was a glitch, not a culture fail

VMworld VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger has characterised the decision to pull a version of NSX as “a stubbed toe” while defending VMware's engineering culture.

VMware releases updates to many of its products about once every four months, mixing bug fixes and small feature upgrades. NSX 6.2.3 was just such a release but it quickly proved to be buggy, prompting a “don't install” warning from VMware. That alert was soon followed by the decision to withdraw the software update. NSX 6.2.2 therefore became the latest version of the product once again, despite having been superseded.

Speaking to The Register today at VMworld 2016, Gelsinger was clearly displeased by the cockup, but added that he's generally happy with VMware's recent track record. The new Cross-Cloud Architecture announced this week, he said, has gone from conception to demo code in just nine months, with “private betas imminent.” That speed, he suggested, bespeaks the impact of the company's adoption of agile development methodologies, with the NSX mess a glitch rather than an indicator of troubles in engineering.

VMware has also turned around a new version of NSX in just under three weeks: NSX 6.2.4 debuted on August 26, with a fix for a problem that saw high availability nodes stuck in “split brain” mode after 24 days of operation, and every 24 days after that. Other bugs that caused network connectivity to fail have also been squashed.

NSX 6.2.4 also adds an enhanced firewall API that can now “include status of object updates used in firewall rules.” ®


Gelsinger's use of the term “stubbed toe” is apposite: he injured his own toes a few weeks ago playing racket-ball and is stumping around VMworld in a moon boot and/or on a mobility scooter. The CEO opened the conference by revealing his doctor diagnosed “spectacular spiral fractures” that will take another month or so to heal.

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