VMware plans two Cloud Foundation releases, can they do it? CISPE complaint filed

[German]There are innovations from the VMware by Broadcom front. The company plans to publish two new releases of its VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) in 2024 and 2025. These should be better tailored to "customer needs" and simplify their virtualization job. Can these plans stop VMware customers from migrating to other platforms? The statements made by Broadcom/VMware executives to The Register certainly sound like a mockery to me (customers haven't yet understood how good we are for them). The European CISPE has probably lodged something of a competition complaint with EU policy makers.


Who is still using VMware?

I have described the drama that VMware by Broadcom customers have been experiencing since the end of 2023 in numerous blog posts (see article links at the end of the post). Since Broadcom bought the virtualization provider VMware and took it over at the end of 2023, everything and anything has been shaken up. There are no more on-premises products, as these have been discontinued. Customers have to switch to subscription solutions and cloud contracts with VMware (Broadcom ends perpetual licenses for VMware products – End of the free ESXi server?).

Some VMware customers are complaining about drastic price increases for the new VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) contracts. I had prepared an example in the German blog post Der Fluch der neuen Broadcom/VMware VCF-Lizenzierung in der Praxis.

In the meantime, there has been news that former VMware partners who have been terminated could hope for a "white label" lifeline – I took this up in the blog post VMware by Broadcom: (Vain) hope of the partners for a White Label "lifeline"? However, many customers are facing economic collapse because the costs of the new licenses are causing their business models to collapse.

In the blog post Is Broadcom going downhill with its VMware measures? Silent layoffs and CISPE calls for EU measures about the European cloud provider CISPE's call for political action. In this article, I addressed a ticking time bomb: Due to expiring work visas, up to 40% of the US VMware workforce is potentially facing the end at this employer. So much for an outline of what is known so far and for the classification of the following information.

VMware's new strategy for 2024/2025

I came across the post VMware by Broadcom plots pair of Cloud Foundation releases that will show off its strategy, which gives some perspective on what VMware by Broadcom is planning in terms of product refreshes/releases for the coming months. According to The Register, VMware by Broadcom is planning a major update for its VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) package in mid-2024. And another major update is set to follow in early 2025.


Paul Turner, Vice President of Product Management and head of the VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) team, states that the release of a new version is planned for July 2024. The new VCF version will

  • enable the use of a single license key for all Cloud Foundation components
  • improve OAuth support as a step towards single sign-on for the entire VMware product range
  • and add an NSX overlay that enables the implementation of software-defined networks without the need to change IP addresses.

With these measures, Broadcom plans to make the entire package easier for customers to implement and operate. According to Tuner, another major update is planned for early 2025. This version should better integrate VCF. Today, VMware customers who have implemented vSphere and the Aria management suite still need separate storage for both products. The Register writes: "Future versions of VCF will increasingly unify the products so that silos are no longer necessary."

Prashanth Shenoy, vice president for VMware by Broadcom's cloud platform, infrastructure and solutions marketing, told The Register that the product version will be launched as VCF 9 and will then clean up the seams between the aforementioned products. Buyers of VCF 9 can also expect improved log file analysis, the ability to purchase templates from a marketplace and adopt them as PaaS, and much more, they say.

VMware strategists Turner and Shenoy emphasized to The Register the value of the new VCF 9 and the integration it will bring. In its article, however, The Register raises the question of whether this simplification can somehow make up for the additional price that customers will now have to pay.

Sylvain Cazard, president of Broadcom Software for Asia Pacific, told The Register that complaints about price increases at VMware by Broadcom are "unfounded". Customers using two or more components from VCF today will pay less under the new arrangements, Sylvain Cazard says. If there is still "a disbelieving Judas among the customers who is sitting stunned in front of the higher bill", Cazard has an explanation ready for them. VMware used to sell support separately, but now this support is included in the price. Customers simply "didn't understand that", The Register quotes Cazard as saying. So it's a win-win situation for Broadcom and VMware.

Broadcom's three musketeers, Cazard, Turner and Shenoy, may have another insight to share with The Register. Customers who feel the end of perpetual licenses is unfair simply didn't realize that VMware was a proponent of such agreements, even when subscriptions were commonplace in the industry. Those days are over, it seems. But it's not really clear to me whether VMware customers are now happily returning to the bosom of VMware by Broadcom.

The Register reports that some in the industry have probably taken advantage of Broadcom's move. SoftIron is launching its own server-virt stack, joining the "Let's get VMware" group. XenServer is also back on the market with a renamed Citrix Hypervisor and a free offer for three hosts. The rumor circulated by The Register in the article that Citrix has doubled the price of monthly partner licenses is rather unpalatable.

Competition complaint in the EU?

The Register has also learned that the European cloud consortium CISPE sent a letter on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, to high-ranking politicians in the European Commission responsible for monopoly policy. The letter, which was signed by the French Cigref, the Belgian Beltug, the German Voice group and the Dutch CIO Connect, contains harsh statements against Broadcom.

The Register quotes from the letter: "Broadcom's contempt and brutality towards its customers is unprecedented in the recent history of the digital economy in Europe. This is an issue whose economic and political dimensions need to be fully understood and which cannot be left solely to the mechanisms of competition law."

The letter describes Broadcom's behavior as "unfair" and anti-competitive, as it strengthens the position of hyperscale clouds. According to The Register, this is the opposite of what Broadcom announced to the approving competition authorities after the acquisition of VMware. The Register states that the news service already wrote last week that the European competition authorities had contacted Broadcom about its VMware licenses. So the last word has not yet been spoken and it remains exciting to see how small and large VMware customers will get out of this mess.

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