back to article Broadcom has willingly dug its VMware hole, says cloud CEO

Broadcom has faced a lot of heat for the direction it's taken VMware after acquiring it – and much of what has happened has confirmed the fears Virtzilla customers expressed well before that deal closed.  Mark Boost, CEO of UK-based cloud firm Civo, told The Register in an interview that Broadcom's strategy seems to be one of …

  1. Johnny Applecore

    Joke's on them

    The larger customers tend to have people in them that know all about Broadcom and have been working on moving off of VMWare for months now.

    The problem is trust.

    Broadcom's value proposition with VMWare presupposes that the customer trusts VMWare enough to put their entire virtualization stack in their product suite.

    What will keep Broadcom from jacking up the price during the next renewal after you have fully migrated to their stack?

    What will keep Broadcom from cutting resources used to maintain their product after enough people migrate fully to their stack?

    I could keep going but you get the idea. Broadcom destroys software vendors. They did this with Symantec and will do it again here. In about 5 years maybe 10% of people currently using VMWare will be doing so.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Joke's on them

      Having a small number of very lucrative customers probably makes sense to the very clever MBA types, but it does rather change the supplier:customer power balance doesn’t it?

      1. mpi Silver badge

        Re: Joke's on them

        The logic flaw in those very "clever" MBA types thinking: Large customers also want to pay as little as possible, and have the resources to move their stack if the calculation is no longer in BCs favor.

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Joke's on them

          Exactly. And the other flaw that was uppermost in my mind - you can lose a lot of "little" customers before there's a material impact on the financials. Whereas if you get 20% of your revenue from BigCustomer PLC, and they take umbrage at something on your roadmap...

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            I disagree.

            That may be how today's MBA types think, but there is a saying in French : ce sont les rivières qui font les fleuves, which can be loosely translated as it's the little streams that makes great rivers.

            if you are willing to cut off all the little streams, your greate river is going to fail.

            I don't know how to to teach that to the business suits, though.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              You can't.

              The vast majority of suits are narcissist psychopaths thanks to the requirements of operating companies favouring their ability to stomp all over anyone who isn't and climb to the top

      2. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Joke's on them

        VMWare: We're raising your ESXi fees by 400%.

        Average CIO: Waaaaaaaaaaa! We're moving to ProxMox!

        VMWare: No wait, here's our "Special Pricing" just for you, at only 125%.

        Average CIO: Whew, that was close.

        You're still getting hosed, but now it feels like a bargain.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Joke's on them

          It's a bit like BT Inet offering Cisco kit "at a fantastic 85% discount" that's still more expensive than buying it from Insight without any discounts applied

          Yes, I've had to deal with manglement who see the "85%" and ignore the actual end figure (it matters because support contract costs are based on the "non-discounted" price)

    2. Aitor 1

      Re: Joke's on them

      Increasing prices this much and removing training and certification will probably give them the benefits of 20+ years in a couple of years.

      Of course it will seriously damage the long term value of vmware, but they are essentially strip mining the value of the asset they bought.

      It is immoral, as it breaks the assumed agreement between partners (vmware and clients), but probably legal in most parts of the world.

      Overall I find it quite damaging for IT and the world in general, but sadly this was to be expected.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Joke's on them

        I think you may well be right but I also think that any move away could happen faster than they hope. Any decisions about VMWare will be taken in the data centre only and, as soon as someone comes up with a reasonable alternative for the stack and migration tools, then it's likely to get talked about, scheduled and done.

    3. mhoneywell

      Re: Joke's on them

      I will hope upon hope that this royally fucks Broadcom

    4. Rgen

      Re: Joke's on them

      Broadcom will become next CA. it is where software goes to die. they will keep milking those large customers until they are gone.

    5. Fred Daggy Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Joke's on them

      There is also the Non-Broadcom side of the value as well.

      Where is that pool of VMWare experienced administrators? They can make it and break it in their sleep. Right now it exists. In 2 to 3 years time? Well, they are no longer up to date on latest developments. Where is the pool of easily Google-able articles for problems and procedures, for a quick and easy fix? Behind a paywall.

      Then actually running VMWare becomes like running a mainframe with lots of legacy Cobol - you're at the mercy of the of the greybeard "Elders of the Internet". Have you tried getting support from Oracle without a support login? Our org is supported but it then becomes a cabal of guarded knowledge with few having the login, which only hurts IT and in the longer term, the business. That's what it will be like.

      Lessons from the past:

      Windows became very well known because it came with every bit of tin and some spinning rust (Legal or illegal tactic, your call, just stating a fact)

      Linux became popular because it is free and just happened to be there at the time the Internet took off.

      OS/2, not so much - no ecosystem. AS/400 or high end stuff from IBM - niche, expensive knowledge. Apple - aspirational, but still niche - the riff-raff kept out by the price.

      Broadcom: Your product is a dead duck in two, three years max.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Joke's on them

        With you. And all the bug finding and reporting by all those small customers.being lost. Making their product an expensive niche thing can't be good.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Joke's on them

          Redhat has been doing it for the last decade and seem to be doing well regardless

  2. b1k3rdude

    Yep good old corporate greed at its finest. Im just waiting for the day VMware player isnt free for home use anymore, then I will simple move to something else.

    1. Joel Mansford

      Alternative to Player with USB support?

      VMWare player was always my go-to when I needed to pass-through USB devices, mainly when fiddling with car software, OBD cables and the like. These days what's a good alternative with USB pass-through support?

      1. Eecahmap

        Re: Alternative to Player with USB support?

        I've had generally good luck with VirtualBox. Perhaps it'll work for your use case.

        1. Munehaus

          Re: Alternative to Player with USB support?

          Be aware that full USB support in Virtualbox requires the "additions" be installed. These are not open source and not free for commerical use, exposing users to potential legal action by Oracle!

          1. Aitor 1

            Re: Alternative to Player with USB support?

            And even how you install virtualbox used to be a legal issue.

            I mostly used virtualbox to play dos and w95 games, but they removed the dx support, so no more dx passthrough for old games

          2. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: Alternative to Player with USB support?

            Indeed. It's widely believed (known?) that Oracle monitor downloads of the Virtualbox Extensions Pack, and if they see a requesting IP address belonging to a business user, they send out the Bat-Signal to their license compliance audit team.

          3. xenny

            Re: Alternative to Player with USB support?

            I think that's no longer an issue - the release notes for 7.0 include

            "Devices: The EHCI and XHCI USB controller devices are now part of the open source base package"

    2. nijam Silver badge

      > ... just waiting for the day VMware playe risnt free for home use ...

      Why wait?

  3. Curious

    That was also the announced intention for Symantec products.

    Anyone have industry knowledge about whether large customers have remained on those software products?

    There are a lot more rivals with better solutions in that and I don't believe any of the theoretical broadcom hardware optimised or accelerated security products have made it to market.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We got a Vmware contract extension prior to the broadcom deal specifically to buy the time to get off without the massive price hikes. Standard practise here is to ensure plan B whenever Broadcom go sniffing around. We no longer use Symantec for the same reasons.

    Ignoring the ethics you can;t argue with the logic - extract as much as possible as fast as possible from the customer base to cover the purchase and line your pockets. If it goes titsup after you've made your money why would you care? At that point you are onto the next takeover.

    I work for a whale so anon for obvious reasons.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      That's not logic, that's Wall Street quarterlies talking. Logic would dictate a business plan that keeps you actually, well you know, in business - satisfying Wall Street with short-term profits whilst hurting long-term interests is stupid MBA zealotry, but that is what modern capitalism has become.

      1. Aitor 1

        Logic

        I disagree. It is immoral, but quite logical.

        You have hostages (clients) and you buy for day 1 billion. Extract 2 billion in 2 years, and move on.

        Amazing benefit.

        Now move on and extract value from the next company.

        This was done in the 80s repeatedly with terrible consequences for the economy, as it is essentially a hostage situation plus setting a company on fire. Value is overall destroyed and resources (money) plundered.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Logic

          "Greed is good"

          Gordon Gekko

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Logic

          It's been called "enshitification" and the cycle has been repeating in business for centuries.

          With the advent of the Internet it can play out in less than a decade

          Do better than your competitors, for less - until they're out of the picture

          Keep providing decent service to the customers but slowly introduce new tiers at higher rates

          Sweeten the suppliers until they're locked in

          Screw everyone and reap profit, then sell the carcass to asset strippers (often just another tentacle of the same entity)

          Rinse and repeat

  5. haultj

    What are Essentials customers supposed to do?

    Essentials was a great product for companies on a tight budget. You could implement up to 3 hosts for one price. We have many customers who have vCenter Essentials implemented in their environments. Now we need to find, test and implement a replacement before their support contract expires.

    Thank you Broadcom for wreaking havoc on likely hundreds of thousands of formerly happy VMware customers.

    1. Nate Amsden

      Re: What are Essentials customers supposed to do?

      You should be able to upgrade to essentials plus ?

      https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/docs/vmw-datasheet-vsphere-product-line-comparison.pdf

      I came across this PDF a few months ago found it super informative

      https://nandresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/NAND-Impact-of-VMware-Subscription-Changes-1.pdf

      I'm planning not needing to procure any new VMware server licenses for another year or two perhaps the situation will be different then.

  6. Dave Null

    pump and dump

    No idea why everyone's acting surprised. They did this before with Symantec. The investors will make out like bandits for the couple of years that customers take to migrate off this dead platform. VMware will die. Shame that such a good platform has been deliberately killed, but this is the business plan of Broadcom.

    All other cloud providers are scrambling to help customers off VMware - for a large org this isn't a quick or easy process though and could easily take a year or two.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: pump and dump

      If ther were some laws against this, that would be good.

    2. lockt-in

      Re: pump and dump

      Yes, they get their investment back in a couple of years, big profit. As it's too complex to maintain for milking the stragglers for a decades, I expect it will be sold on again to another big company so they can prevent it from becoming competition again, even more profit.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIP

    I’m a nobody abandoning the idea of ESXi and iOS killing for xcp-ng

    I won’t be the only one.

    If I were making commercial decisions I’d be ensuring VMware wasn’t on the roadmap. Yet a short time ago I’d be ensuring it was.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: RIP

      There's a simple rule of thumb - and it's not limited to Broadcom

      If VC firms have become involved, it's time to get the hell off whatever software is involved

      Ditto hyped IPOs

  8. Vulture@C64

    Don't make the mistake of thinking that Broadcom won't be making a massive profit from VMware. They have deleted from their responsibility everything that doesn't create profit. They have palmed off the smaller customers to their partners to service. They have retained all the large customers which are unable to change. How long does it take a Bank or an Insurance company or a large hosting business to swap from one hypervisor to another ? It takes years, so most won't bother yet.

    VMware will be worth a lot less after Broadcom have raped it, the key staff will leave, the R&D will be deleted over time, their support team has already been shrunk.

    So every business has to develop a strategy for how they will delete VMware from their business as over the next 5-7 years the quality of the product will deteriorate, the support will get slower and less effective and there wont be anything new released, so it will eventually become a legacy product and you cant run a modern business on legacy systems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yep broadcom investors seem happy with whats going on

  9. PM.

    Robbery in broadcom daylight

    As expected, world becomes shittier place, with every passing day...

  10. NickHolland
    Facepalm

    The lesson coming out of it...

    For every product your business purchases (or uses, in the case of FOSS) there has to be an exit plan -- a way to move to another product when something about the existing product becomes undesirable, or another product becomes more desirable.

    Maybe the Broadcom/VMware fiasco will remind decision makers that getting off of a platform must be part of the implementation plan, and that your vendors/providers are NOT your friends -- it is in their interest to keep you captive as best they can. Currently, it's VMware. Previously, it was Linux distros based on RedHat. Open Source may permit more time for the change, but unless your company is in a position to take over development and maintenance of an FOSS project, you can't assume someone else will step up.

    Side benefit: if you are ready to swap platforms, you will probably be in a better position to maintain your existing platforms.

    I'm dreaming, of course.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: The lesson coming out of it...

      > For every product your business purchases (or uses, in the case of FOSS) there has to be an exit plan

      That's something that almost ALL UK universities forgot in their stampede to adopt "free email" services from Microsoft and Google

      At least one large Russell group university is now being held to ransom by MS, having spent over £5 million migrating to the "free" service and then having had progressively more and more restrictions/charges imposed - and they STILL don't have an exit plan

      That's not quite true, senior manglement are fawning over the idea of "free" offers being floated by other providers with no deeper look into the actual costs - and decrying anyone who dares point out the bad deals these represent. It's still not an actual plan though

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The lesson coming out of it...

        Oh definitely. University IT is a constant parade of shutting down all the local infrastructure and expertise (including some of the people who invented this stuff) and signing everything over to a variety of "cloud" operators who charge a lot more money to offer a much worse service.

  11. mfalcon

    VMware by Broadcom the IT world's Umbrella Corp

    I watched the first Resident Evil movie the other night and was struck by the parallels between its Umbrella Corporation and VMware by Broadcom.

    Some similarities include:

    1. Immoral

    2. Self serving

    3. Oblivious to the damage they do

    4. Believe they are smarter than they really are

    On the positive side Umbrella's cartoonish evil is restricted to a fictional universe while VMware by Broadcom will do real damage in the real world to many an IT infrastructure all in the name of excess profits. How much coke and how many hookers does Broadcom hope to buy before the bulk of its customer base is gone?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: VMware by Broadcom the IT world's Umbrella Corp

      In answer to the last question: See Enron

      (ie: they don't care, as long as C-levels and the board make out like bandits in the meantime)

  12. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Sounds familiar

    As a long term Redhat user, this mirrors their policies. It's been clear for at least 15 years that they really only care about a small group of extremely valuable customers (mostly finance houses) and the rest is flotsam

    Hence what's been happening on the "open" side of that equation

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