back to article VMware president sees some 'anxiety' at customers who've seen Broadcom at work

VMware president Sumit Dhawan admits that some of the virtualization giant's customers are anxious about its acquisition by Broadcom, though insists only a "tiny minority" have offered that response to the deal. "There are questions ranging from curiosity to anxiety," he told The Register during an interview today. Those …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nonsense

      Some call it posturing and some call it an outright and baldfaced lie. As a small account I am not expecting so much as a phone call, let alone a face to face. That said our reaction is not in any way a "kneejerk", Broadcom is part of the problem to be sure, but the broader issues we have faces with VMware are a deepening of problems that were already there.

      Let give you some excerpts of a recent (in the last month) interaction I had with VMware. For needed context we had hit a bug in the patching train a while back when we were on 6.7 I think, that hosed vcenter so badly I just nuked the old VM. I installed a clean copy under 7 because rolling the failed patch looked like it was going to be a PITA. I checked into the old VM a little deeper, and the failure was do to a long running known issue were a previous patch had turned on root password expiration, and the patch lacked validation that accounts needed to install the patch were working before the patch fired off.

      My current experience is that about three patches into the 7 series the same thing happened, so I contacted support. After me telling them in detail in my initial bug report about the problem, it's cause, and the KB article number for the root password issue, they literally told me "I'm afraid I will need to direct you to the vSphere feature-request page" and told me to roll it back from a back-up. It took them hours past the the reply window to contact me, and when they did the support agent's only instructions were to roll back the bad patch or rebuild it from scratch again. I literally cloned the VM and rolled system back within a hour of the bug report being sent. That report detailed specific issues (root password exp, lack of test in patch for exp account, GUI for vcenter cant reset password once it has failed). I asked for acknowledgement of these bugs, which are documented in VMware's own KB articles, and issue or tracking numbers for them.

      The agent then went back to talking about restoring a backup from before the failed update instead of addressing the multiple underlying issues that caused it. The issue being that VMware has gotten so sloppy with it's QC that it has issued a whole series of updates that won't safely install from the GUI. That these failed patches can't be rolled back from the GUI once they are stuck, and all further operations in the management section are blocked. These errors have been known to the company for some time, and are even documented in KB articles that go so far as to instruct people NOT to use the UI and apply all the patches via command line via .iso files. These instructions weren't sent out to operators, no warning was. Instead, we were left to either find the trail of bread crumbs on our own, or waste hours with our infrastructure in a failed state.

      I can't rely on a system from a company who's product prompts it's admin's to update it using a method that the company itself recommends you not to use. I can't trust a company that knows that a problem exists that could catastrophically impact their customers and can't be bothered to proactively notify them. I also can't stomach that a full major release version later, that VMware can't add a simple one line script test to check if the root account was expired. (in truth they DID put it some of them, just not ALL of them, there is a screenshot of the GUI warning about the expired password in one of the KB articles)

      The reason this is still happening is that VMware has become deeply dysfunctional. Broadcom has bought CA and Symantec. They seem to have quite the nose for buying companies that are trading on their names alone. That Symantec is just as deeply dysfunctional as ever is just another warning sign that VMware is about to get even worse, not better. The only consistent performance is under performance right?

      So I already had to have the hard hall conversation with my boss, and we are probably porting off VMware in the next two months. We had been in discussions about moving ON to vSAN back on 6.7, but we deferred do to covid belt tightening and concerns about the patching issues. A year on those problems are worse, not better. We already pay for the windows licenses to use HyperV. We paid for VMware (since what, the 3 series?) because of the value add and the maturity of the esxi hypervisor. The company squandered it's 10 year engineering lead. If I have to apply every patch via the command line, I might as well move to the platform I already paid for, which is less picky about hardware, less driver problems, and a GUI that I hate but at least dosen't break with every browser update.

      HyperV won't make my patching heartburn go away, but it's the same patches, process and tools I have to use for the VM's and bare metal anyway. Which is to say, while I'm annoyed, this move isn't an emotional decision. It's a coldly rational one, based on business requirements for reliability and uptime that VMware has proven it can't support.

      Sounds like you already have your hand on the ripcord, but I wouldn't hang on too long if you are cashing out options going into the merger. Best of luck, I know that there are still plenty of good people there, but those of you on the inside will have to decide if you can hold the roof up by yourselves.

    2. Mayday Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Nonsense

      "tiny percentage" = 98%

      PS, Can see why you're anonymous.

  2. sreynolds Silver badge

    Most of them are speaking to their lawyers

    They're not that stupid. Sure they'll promise anything to get a good settlement from a broadcom divorce.

  3. ThatOne Silver badge
    Devil

    Subscription Simplified

    > vSphere+ Subscription Simplified

    The writing is on the wall: No more choice, clients only have one, the most expensive option, best suited for the type clients who make you the most money. The others either pay through the nose for features they don't need, or just go roll up and die.

    One really wonders why VMware clients are "anxious" (ie. screaming running for the lifeboats)...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Subscription Simplified

      Broadcom is following the 80/20 rule. 80% of profits come from 20% of customers, and somewhere around half of your customers don't generate significant revenue yet consume most of your customer service. So you discourage those hangers on unless you assess them as have realistic potential of growing into a large customer.

      If you want to make it in management, you have to remember, it's all about the money.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Subscription Simplified

        If you want to make it in management, you have to remember, it's all about the money.

        Many don't seem to understand where that money comes from.

        A happy customer is a returning one.

  4. Mr_Flibble

    We are actively looking into alternate systems.

    We have even already deployed the MS version to a customer in the wake of this and any future products and contracts have broadcom merger listed as a major risk of failure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You know they have to know right?

      That most their customers are either already paying for Windows Server licenses and have access to HyperV or a brace of open source alternatives for non-windows workloads?

      There only value literally is the value add. If that will now include paying more for tools we don't use to subsidize Broadcom's acquisition, that is less value added, not more. Worse, they have clearly signaled they plan to combine VMware with Symantec and CA. That's more trash I will never allow on my network that they will probably "bundle".

      In reality, this probably won't come to the worst possible outcome, Broadcom will eventually realize that their strategy isn't working and reverse course to some degree. The problem is that the tools VMware makes aren't toys, they are line of business critical. This acquisition is a threat to any customer with uptime or service requirements, and the people wrangling these systems are understandably risk averse. I'd be just as nervous if it was my storage array vendor, and for vSAN customers it literally is.

  5. YetAnotherXyzzy

    VMware president Sumit Dhawan admits that some of the company's customers are anxious about its acquisition by Broadcom, but insists only a "tiny minority" have offered that response to the deal.

    Well of course the president of VMware hasn't heard from us. We are too busy with something more important: reviewing alternatives to VMware.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A brand turn around, or the place good companies go to die?

    This feels like a management acquisition along with a technology acquisition. Broadcom's plan to put CA & Symantec under the VMWare banner is a hint. The ejection of Tom Krause is another.

    The problem is their reputation has already been sullied with two self-inflicted black eyes. They will need to weather the repercussions of those decisions and still do everything right with VMWare. Only that will earn them some measure of trust for their next acquisition.

    Kind of their last chance though. If they self-inflict a bloody nose with VMWare, their brand may be irreparably damaged in the software industry and the only thing they could do is sell the business to someone else for rebuilding.

    Time will tell, and it will be interesting to read El Reg's byline a few years from now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A brand turn around, or the place good companies go to die?

      I'm sure there will be no shortage of hopeful C-levels in the chunk of Silicon Valley that is living of their former glory and the pile of cash left from booms that happened decades ago.

      Broadcom has already cemented it's reputation as a company that will pay to much for a lemon. Symantec has been passed around for years, and no one has been able to overcome it's internal inertia or toxic culture. CA hadn't been relevant in years when they bought it. Perhaps their next acquisition could be lifeless corpse of SCO just to round things out, or maybe HP can get them a deal on Accenture?

      Or maybe Elon will have to sell Twitter on the cheap?

      1. Marty McFly Silver badge

        Re: A brand turn around, or the place good companies go to die?

        You are confusing Symantec with McAfee. Symantec was purchased only once - by Broadcom. McAfee has been the industry hot-potato.

  7. Rgen

    Time to move

    Time to move to another platform. It ain’t worth sticking around.

  8. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    How many

    How many Frito’s are there in this world LOL

    “I Like Money”

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    meh, just dump it and get over it.

    ESXi versions prior to 7.0.x can run for more than 60 days without a license.

    ESXi versions from 7.0.x onwards need a licence if you want to run it past 60 days.

    That plus the fact of the Kafkaesque situation of obtaining a license update on the Boredcom portal is a couple of red flags telling you to dump it for something else, as well as the poor QA test processes causing issues with critical VM's.

    Surely nobody in their right mind would want to keep on restoring from backup or rebuilding a VM just because the hypervisor had a hissy fit and refuse to roll back (or do something) in order to fix an issue with an existing VM?

    1. O RLY

      Re: meh, just dump it and get over it.

      ESXi free is still a thing. The 60-day is the evaluation, which is not the same thing as the free "license".

      https://customerconnect.vmware.com/en/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=free-esxi7

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good old Broadcom

    Around 10 years ago, the mobile chipset company I was working for at the time got acquired by Broadcom. One of the Henrys flew in by private jet and told us all how amazing it was going to be. Very shortly after this they made the vast majority of their existing mobile chipset employees redundant as they didn't need two mobile chipset departments - so we effectively stole their jobs (something I still feel bad about even though it was way out of our control). Then within about 2 years, they kicked us to kerb too and our whole department also got made redundant. Since then I'm always very wary any time I see Broadcom's name crop up.

    1. Platinum blond(e)

      Re: Good old Broadcom

      That was under the original Broadcom. The wolf in sheep's clothing that is AVGO is much more intent on feeding its meat grinder. Good for shareholders I guess. But not good for anyone else.

  11. StinkyMcStinkFace

    Let's just cut right to the chase, ok?

    VMWare is dead. It was dead the day announced the broadcom cancer infected it.

    Some people haven't admitted to themselves yet, but they will.

    Some of us who have decades of experience in this, and major gov contracts, already know it's dead and we are pissed off, but working on a migration plan.

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