Broadcom ends perpetual licenses for VMware products – End of the free ESXi server?

Stop - Pixabay[German]That was it for VMware products that were available via purchase of perpetual licenses. As of January 15, 2024, Broadcom has announced that a whole range of VMware products will no longer be available for purchase with perpetual licenses. I already mentioned a few days ago that resellers will no longer be able to sell such licenses or products and will only be allowed to process a residual order backlog. This is probably also the end of the free ESXi server.


It could have been seen …

I wrote last week in the blog post Order/license chaos for VMware products after Broadcom takeover (Jan. 2024) that customers and resellers of VMware products who want to reorder, extend licenses or simply activate product licenses are being given the cold shoulder by Broadcom. The end customer portal for license activation has been shut down, and OEMs or resellers can no longer process any new orders, support renewals or price inquiries. Inquiries and orders could not be processed by the distributors either. This was revealed in a document I received.

The background to this is the purchase of VMware by Broadcom (see Broadcom acquires VMware for 61 billion US-$) and the announcement by the new owner that they are now focusing on subscription models and the cloud (see Broadcom plans to sell VMware end-user computing and carbon black businesses). All VMware partner contracts had been terminated by Broadcom as of February 2024 (see Contracts for all VMware partners terminated by Broadcom for 2024).

VMware End of Availability

I came across a post on X via the following tweet stating that Broadcom just buried the free VMware ESXi virtualization solution.

VMware End of Availability of perpetual licensing and associated products

This is based on the support articl VMware End of Availability of perpetual licensing and associated products (96168) (URL *ttps:// has been deleted, and the Wayback Machine or Google Cache drops errors), published by VMware on January 15, 2023, which finally brings clarity. Already announced on December 11, 2023, VMware is taking the final step towards "streamlining and simplifying its portfolio!" and is discontinuing all products with "perpetual licensing". In the future, only products with a subscription model will be available from VMware. The support article announces the end of availability (EOA) for all license options for the following VMware products:


  • 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 Standard
  • VMware 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+

These products are no longer available for purchase. The ESXi server for virtualization is now called vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi 7.x and 8.x) For customers for whom no renewal is currently pending, there is no immediate need for action at this time. VMware will continue to provide active support for the duration of the support contract.

VMware has published a fresh security advisory addressing a vulnerability (missing access control) in VMware Aria Automation and VMware Cloud Foundation.

In future, customers will be offered subscription products and models from VMware at the time of renewal of the respective product licenses.

What's with Free ESXi?

It is discussed in the comments of my German blog post – whether ESXi Free will be dropped or not. As far as I can see, is ESXi free license is also dead. ESXi is called now VMware vSphere Hypervisor, and that product is mentioned above. This product will be discontinued in the paid version. I assume that the free version of ESXi will therefore also be discontinued.

What is with VMware Player, Workstation and Fusion?

Not mentioned are VMware Player, VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion for desktop virtualization. I will write a separate article on this, as far as I know these products will live on (for the time being).

Similar articles:
Broadcom acquires VMware for 61 billion US-$
Broadcom plans to sell VMware end-user computing and carbon black businesses
Contracts for all VMware partners terminated by Broadcom for 2024
VMware OEM portal offline, customers cannot activate VMware licenses

Statement from Broadcom on issue after Symantec acquisition
Symantec acquisition by Broadcom ends in license/support chaos

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5 Responses to Broadcom ends perpetual licenses for VMware products – End of the free ESXi server?

  1. G.W. says:

    As far as I know Workstation and Fusion are Products of the End User Computing from VMware, like Horizon and Workspace ONE. This Business Unit is now Independent from VMware and looks like getting sold soon.

    I also coud belive that the free ESXi for Personal Use will stick around for some time.

  2. Thore says:

    What will happens when the new VMware/Broadcom subscription license expires ?
    Will my ESXi stop?
    ..or allow the purchased subscription license, updates and support during a the defined period, but still the hypervisor will run for ever?

    Best Regards

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