VMware Has Evolved

Over the years, most of the Fortune 500 standardized on VMware technologies. Once Broadcom announced its intent to acquire VMware, however, many of the tech leaders at these firms, concerned with the acquisition, began exploring options. Based on Broadcom’s history with prior acquisitions, tech leaders should develop strategies to minimize future risk. Forrester predicted last fall that 20% of large VMware enterprise clients will begin to leave the VMware stack in 2024. I clearly see that happening already. In fact, Broadcom/VMware has implemented changes that we didn’t anticipate — changes that are disrupting and alienating clients, including:

  • Multiple times cost increases. VMware has shocked tech execs with significant price increases. This impacts all organizations, but there are some, such as nonprofits, those in the education field, and government agencies, that are simply unable to budget for these price increases.
  • New product packaging and bundling. Tech leaders going through refresh and renewals are realizing that VMware’s new packaging is one major reason behind price hikes. VMware has condensed all its products into two bundles. Even if you use one product, you must pay for the bundle.
  • A forced shift to subscription-based pricing. Tech executives understand that a subscription-based model makes financial sense for Broadcom but are not necessarily convinced that this change favors them.
  • A shuffled partner ecosystem. Broadcom has reshuffled the reseller and hosted cloud provider partner ecosystem. Most VMware partners, though invited to Broadcom’s partner program, don’t qualify. Your trusted VMware partners can no longer resell VMware products. If you want to continue to use VMware, your procurement group must find new partners.

Your Next Steps

Client inquiries about VMware have skyrocketed. To answer many of their questions, I published a new report, Map Out Your VMware Options, Post-Broadcom, that helps tech leaders understand what VMware changes mean to them and how to navigate the VMware situation post-Broadcom. At a high level, here are three things that tech leaders should consider:

  • Assess your VMware exposure. This is the foundational step. Collect details about the VMware licenses you procured in the past. It is easier said than done, as different teams — server, storage, network, security, cloud — buy different products for their needs at different moments. Discover installations — production and nonproduction — to know what you are using and how much.
  • Map your existing licenses to new license bundles. This should be based on the licenses you have procured and the current usage to the new license package. VMware sells few non-core products (like NSX Load Balancer or Tanzu) as add-ons and does not include them as part of the package. For example, Aria cloud cost management is an add-on to VMware Cloud Foundation.
  • Assess the usefulness of the bundle and its components. To assess the new license model, identify whether you’re using all products and/or all licenses in the bundle. Find opportunities to optimize licenses and software in use.

These are the first steps that will help you decide whether or not to explore VMware alternatives. If you decide to go this route, you should assess alternatives for each product and migrate away from all products in the package, as using any one product means paying for the package.

As always, I’m here to help. If you’re a Forrester client, request a guidance session with me to review your current state, future plans, and overall strategy.

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