VMware Under Broadcom Confuses Customers Over ‘Axing’ of 56 Products

A few months after Broadcom’s $69 billion acquisition of VMware, The Stack recently reported that Broadcom was ‘killing off’ a staggering 56 VMware products. Most notable were the axing of Sphere Hypervisor and Aria Operations.

VMware quickly went into damage control as the story hit the headlines by removing their knowledge article, which said 56 products were coming to their “End of Availability”, leaving a large, institutional customer base very confused about what is coming next.

Commentators suggest that everything points to VMware moving their products to a subscription model rather than the current “one-time purchase” model – leaving customers and partners grappling with the implications for their existing investments and future technology choices.

Scroll down for the full list of products facing an uncertain future.

Key Takeaways

  • VMware’s since-deleted page indicates a potential move to a subscription model for 56 products, causing concern among customers about the implications for existing software investments.
  • The perceived ruthlessness of Broadcom in handling previous acquisitions, including layoffs and changes in pricing strategies, sparks uncertainty and concerns.
  • The industry is witnessing a broader trend of software moving from traditional perpetual licenses to subscription-based models – is owning software for life becoming extinct?

Broadcom’s Ruthlessness with VMware … And a Reminder From Symantec?

The Broadcom acquisition of VMware continues to send waves of uncertainty and concern throughout the industry

The reputation for ruthlessness by Broadcom in handling acquisitions has fueled fears of continuous layoffs, with the first round often seen as just the beginning.

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The apprehension isn’t confined to job security; it extends to the strategic decisions at the top, with a sentiment that Broadcom is playing a game that could lead to widespread repercussions across various sectors that rely on VMware for virtualization services.

Recalling the fate of Symantec post-acquisition, there’s a growing chorus of voices within the tech community that fear VMware might be heading down a similar path under Broadcom’s governance.

From Perpetual Licenses to Subscription Models

There is also increasing concern that subscription-based models are steadily replacing the traditional perpetual software licensing model.

The days when the software was a one-time purchase, leading to a sense of permanent possession, are fading. Instead, a new era is emerging, dominated by ongoing subscriptions that underscore the ephemeral nature of software access. This shift is not just a business strategy; it’s reshaping the user’s relationship with the software from a sense of ownership to temporary, renewable access.

Customers are arguably now taking a back seat with a stronger focus on investors and their demands for steady, predictable, reoccurring revenue streams. However, this trend also raises questions about long-term costs, flexibility, and the ability to control critical software assets.

Many are increasingly voicing concerns about the potential rise in software piracy as the availability of software through traditional ownership models dwindle.

The debate intensifies regarding the moral and legal implications of ‘owning’ versus ‘renting’ software. As companies prioritize recurring revenue models, there’s also an underlying fear that innovation and quality of customer support may take a backseat.

Broadcom’s approach echoes a pattern observed in other tech entities following acquisitions.

Such shifts often result in diminished product innovation and a drop in customer satisfaction, raising concerns about the future landscape of technology services.

Software Partnerships – Stick or Twist?

VMware clients appear to be facing an unpredictable future as Broadcom recently discontinued the VMware partner programs, limiting VMware-related sales to a select group of Broadcom-preferred partners. There is, understandably, a palpable sense of uncertainty and talk of strategic reassessment across the VMware community.

Concerns about spiraling costs and the risk of simply exchanging one subscription model for another are prevalent. These worries extend beyond fiscal aspects, touching on the autonomy and control over technological infrastructure.

The practical challenges of migrating large-scale systems highlight the necessity for thorough training and robust support. The conversation transcends technical issues, delving into the legal and ethical realms of software ownership and access, and underscores a heightened awareness of technology’s moral dimensions.

At the heart of the VMware community’s current state is a broader narrative about the inertia and complexity in enterprise IT decision-making. Customers, having heavily invested in VMware’s ecosystem, are grappling with escalating costs and uncertainties despite their deep-rooted financial, architectural, and procedural commitments.

Full List of Products Facing an Uncertain Future

Eagle-eyed Redditors captured the full list (also captured by TheStack).

  • VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus
  • VMware vSphere+
  • VMware vSphere Standard (excluding subscription)
  • VMware vSphere ROBO
  • VMware vSphere Scale Out
  • VMware vSphere Desktop
  • VMware vSphere Acceleration Kits
  • VMware vSphere Essentials Kit
  • VMWare vSphere Essentials Plus Kit (excluding new subscription offering)
  • VMware vSphere Starter/Foundation
  • VMware vSphere with Operations Management
  • VMware vSphere Basic
  • VMware vSphere Advanced
  • VMware vSphere Storage Appliance
  • VMware vSphere Hypervisor
  • VMware Cloud Foundation (excluding new VCF subscription offering)
  • VMware Cloud Foundation for VDI
  • VMware Cloud Foundation for ROBO
  • VMware SDDC Manager
  • VMware vCenter StandardVMware vCenter Foundation
  • VMware vSAN
  • VMware vSAN ROBO
  • VMware vSAN Desktop
  • VMware HCI Kit
  • VMware Site Recovery Manager
  • VMware Cloud Editions/Cloud Packs
  • VMware vCloud Suite
  • VMware Aria Suite (formerly vRealize Suite)
  • VMware Aria Universal Suite (formerly vRealize Cloud Universal)
  • VMware Aria Suite Term
  • VMware Aria Operations for Networks (formerly vRealize Network Insight)
  • VMWare Aria Operations for Networks Universal (formerly vRealize Network Insight Universal)
  • VMware vRealize Network Insight ROBO
  • VMWare Aria Operations for Logs (formerly vRealize Log Insight)
  • VMware vRealize Operations 8 Application Monitoring Add-On
  • VMware Aria Operations VMware Aria Automation
  • VMware Aria Automation for Secure Hosts add-on (formerly SaltStack SecOps)
  • VMware vRealize Automation SaltStack SecOps add-on
  • VMware Aria Operations for Integrations (formerly vRealize True Visibility Suite)
  • VMware Cloud Director Cloud Director Service
  • VMware NSX VMware NSX for Desktop
  • VMware NSX ROBO
  • VMware NSX Distributed Firewall
  • VMware NSX Gateway Firewall
  • VMware NSX Threat Prevention to Distributed Firewall
  • VMware NSX Threat Prevention to Gateway Firewall
  • VMware NSX Advanced Threat Prevention to Distributed Firewall
  • VMware NSX Advanced Threat Prevention to Gateway Firewall
  • VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer (excluding Subscription, SaaS)
  • VMware Container Networking Enterprise with Antrea
  • VMware HCX
  • VMware HCX+

The VMware Crossroads: Exploring Proxmox, Hyper-V, and Nutanix as Viable Options

The quest for alternatives reveals a rugged landscape where VMware’s direct rivals in capability and scalability are scarce. However, emerging solutions like Nutanix are slowly gaining ground. Transitioning is far from straightforward, demanding careful consideration of workload nuances, compatibility, and organizational readiness.

For many, particularly those limited by budgets, Microsoft’s Hyper-V stands out as a feasible alternative, providing a smoother transition without overhauling existing support and migration structures. Open-source solutions like Proxmox are also gaining traction, appealing to those seeking more control and customization. This market shift isn’t just about substituting VMware; it’s a strategic reevaluation of IT infrastructures in a rapidly evolving tech landscape.

The intensifying discussions around these alternatives point to a more significant trend. A move towards more versatile, cost-effective solutions that cater to varying needs without binding customers to a single vendor’s framework.

This evolution reflects an increasing realization in the community that the future of enterprise IT is not merely about technology but about choice, flexibility, and aligning IT capabilities with broader business goals.

The Bottom Line

Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware signals a significant shift in the tech landscape, highlighting the evolving dynamics of software consumption and corporate strategy. Pivoting towards subscription models and away from perpetual licenses, if this is what plays out, is not just a business strategy but a reflection of changing industry norms.

We now find ourselves at a crossroads in the tech world where traditional notions of ownership, access, and control are being redefined. Customers are understandably nervous about VMware’s direction and the inevitability of increased license costs. It also raises crucial questions about the future of software ownership, the ethical dimensions of technology, and the impact on the broader industry. But the bigger question is, will you stick or twist?

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Neil C. Hughes

Neil is a freelance tech journalist with 20 years of experience in IT. He’s the host of the popular Tech Talks Daily Podcast, picking up a LinkedIn Top Voice for his influential insights in tech. Apart from Techopedia, his work can be found on INC, TNW, TechHQ, and Cybernews. Neil's favorite things in life range from wandering the tech conference show floors from Arizona to Armenia to enjoying a 5-day digital detox at Glastonbury Festival and supporting Derby County.  He believes technology works best when it brings people together.