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I received a text from a former colleague and friend out of the blue today that read “I guess VMware is officially dead now that they’re just part of the Broadcom portfolio”. I had already started to write this article, but his sentiments really hit home with what I was feeling throughout the process of working through things; I felt a little like I was writing an obituary for a friend. Not that VMware is dead, but after the Broadcom acquisition there is certainly a sense that the company and technology that I have been passionate about for the last 15+ years will be changing in the very near future.
I started working with VMware technologies in the mid-2000’s and instantly knew that virtualization is where I wanted to focus my efforts in the IT industry. I’ve passed at least 7 VMware certifications (3 of which were VCAPs), I attended 4 VMworlds, and was recognized as a vExpert for 3 years. I’ve worked with most of their Datacenter-centric products and some of the End User Computing (EUC) technologies. I’ve spent long hours in the middle of the night with VMware support to resolve critical outages, and I’ve had the privilege of being employed at a software company that competes with VMware in some areas, and augments them in others for the past 5 years. It has been an exciting ride, and anyone else who’s taken a similar journey can probably relate. But with the latest news (now a few weeks old) out of Palo Alto, change is very likely on the horizon.
In this article I am attempting to summarize what I’ve heard from my customers who are leveraging VMware and concerned with the recent Broadcom acquisition. Migration with VMware can be a complex problem, and I hope to offer some guidance for customers who are wondering if this is something that they should be considering, as well as address some best practices on what a migration might look like. The challenge with attempting to tackle something like this is that the answer (as with so many other things in IT) is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each organization has its own processes, procedures, requirements, and personnel that are uniquely its own and all of these will play into the decision for migration as well as the path towards any such efforts.
A Cause for Concern?
Over the past 6-12 months I’ve spoken with customers all over the spectrum as far as what their priorities would be if and then when the Broadcom acquisition closed. Some customers were ready to jump ship altogether, others on the opposite end of the spectrum were indifferent to the acquisition and considered things to be business as usual. Most customers, however, at least wanted to understand what their alternatives were so that they could take a measured approach to migration should the need arise.
From the customers that I have spoken with, their concerns with the acquisition are usually centered around three pain points. None of these have actually come to fruition yet. Nonetheless, we are already starting to read the tea leaves by way of layoffs, office closures, and product line spinoffs, which will all have an impact on customers in both the short and long term. The bottom line is that Broadcom is following a playbook that has been very familiar to them across previous acquisitions – they are seeking to capitalize on their investment by increasing revenues and cutting costs. The typical concerns that I am hearing include:
- Broadcom price increases: Broadcom has a history of increasing prices post-acquisition with other products. In previous instances, they knew customers were reliant on solutions that Broadcom purchased and had no other option than to accept steep price hikes upon their next renewal. All indications are that this is happening again now.
- Product discontinuation: Customers are also wondering which products may find themselves being discontinued. If these decisions impact their critical workloads they want to be better prepared for the road ahead.
- Future roadmap/investment: Will there continue to be investment in the products under Broadcom leadership? In previous acquisitions, the pace and depth of innovation waned significantly; in some cases it stopped altogether.
Discovery Phase – Should we Migrate?
With VMware, the migration question comes with a very complex answer due to the nature of VMware technologies potentially being embedded in a majority of all IT systems in the datacenter, and at times the public cloud as well. These days, the VMware technologies stack encompasses far more than their original breadwinner of vSphere for server virtualization. A lot of customers have bought into the entire VMware ecosystem – VMware technologies are hosting all of their compute workloads, running their virtual desktops and remote access systems, providing security, networking, disaster recovery, storage, identity management and application access just to name a few.
If you are happy with the VMware technologies that are in use today, and have zero concern surrounding the Broadcom acquisition, I would say that this is a pretty straightforward answer. You are in a good position to continue with your current investment in VMware. VMware has been a leader in the industry for a long time for a good reason; hopefully, under Broadcom leadership, this trend continues and you can expect the same innovation and service levels that you are accustomed to as a VMware customer.
Discovery Phase Considerations
For the rest of us, here are some good steps and questions to consider when making this determination:
- Take inventory: What VMware solutions are we licensed for/using? How mission-critical are these technologies? Who are the stakeholders for each system? Identify dependencies for each solution in use.
- Assess the organization’s ongoing need for each solution: Can we do without any of these solutions? Which products are not being actively used and have transitioned to being shelfware (you might be surprised at this answer when asked of the stakeholders)?
- Discover product overlap: What other technology investments has the organization made that have overlapping capability sets? Do these solutions meet the requirements that we have for the corresponding VMware capability?
- Evaluate alternatives for each solution: Are there best-of-breed alternatives in the market that meet our organizations requirements for the challenge that this technology is being used to solve? Do these technologies offer a migration path? Do some of these alternatives better position us for migration away from other VMware technologies in the future?
- Account for the cost of migration: The cost to migrate IT systems can often be drastically underestimated. How much work is needed to migrate? How much will ramp-up time on a new technology cost the organization?
Discovery Phase Outputs
When the discovery phase is complete, you should understand at least the following about the task at hand:
- All VMware Products currently licensed, dependencies and the stakeholders for each
- VMware Products that aren’t actively in use (shelfware)
- Existing (competitive solutions) investments with overlapping capabilities
- Viable alternative solutions
- Estimated costs for migration
- VMware products that are essential to the organization’s strategy that cannot be initially migrated either due to criticality of the system or lack of viable alternative solutions
The Decision Point
Armed with your outputs from discovery, you should be in a position to determine whether to move away from VMware or not. There are really only three outcomes here, but I suspect that most customers will probably fall into the third bucket
- No migration:
- We are happy with all of our current investments
- The cost to migrate is too great; we are willing to accept potential price increases and risks
- Migrate everything
- Migrate the surrounding solutions that we identified where good alternatives have been identified:
- Stop paying for shelfware.
- Reduce overall VMware licensing cost by investing in third-party solutions where it makes sense.
- Leave core critical VMware solutions alone but migrate the add-on solutions.
Quite a few of the customers that I’ve spoken with who have already completed their discovery phase here are planning on paring back to just the core VMware SDDC services (Compute (vSphere), Networking (NSX), and Storage (vSAN/others)). Others are planning on doing away with things like the Aria suite and other solutions for which they’ve identified good alternatives.
Planning – Migration Strategy
Now that the decision has been made to migrate – just remember a few key adages :
- “Manage the migration like a product”
- Gather and manage ideas
- Determine specs
- Create a product roadmap
- Can some products be migrated in parallel?
- Are there any dependencies on other migrations?
- Prioritize work
- Gather feedback: involve end-users early and often – close the feedback loop
- “Leverage existing investments first”
You already have the skillsets to manage these solutions.
- “Not everything needs to migrate right away”
Start in areas with the greatest cost impact. Just remember that there is no need to boil the ocean.
Hopefully this article has been thought-provoking and has further helped set a framework to navigate what could be a daunting task. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that here at CloudBolt offer solutions that are great options – ones I honestly believe are better – for key components of the VMware suite of products should you decide that migration is a path that you are considering. Please reach out to our team with any additional questions, or if you would like to set up a demonstration to discuss your needs.
CloudBolt Cloud Management Platform – Directly replaces the Aria Automation and Aria Orchestration capabilities. Easy Python (the language of automation) backed extensibility. We have a migration path for Aria Automation customers that helps to minimize any burden of migration to CloudBolt and allows you to continue to leverage the development work you and your team did in vRA/vRO specifically. Be on the lookout for additional demonstrations and posts surrounding this migration capability in the coming weeks. (Spoiler alert: CloudBolt makes it easy. Seriously)
CloudBolt Cloud Cost Management – directly replaces the VMware Aria Cost powered by CloudHealth capabilities and offers an innovation pace and path that Broadcom will never keep up with post-acquisition. Stay tuned for some amazing announcements in the coming weeks on this, as well.
The finalization of Broadcom’s $61 billion acquisition of VMware on November 22, 2023, marks a significant shift in the FinOps and cloud management sector. Given the history of workforce and investment reductions following such large-scale tech mergers, VMware users, particularly those reliant on tools like Aria and Tanzu CloudHealth, are justifiably concerned about potential disruptions.
Know the History and Prepare for the Future
VMware has been a large player in virtualization and cloud infrastructure management, playing a pivotal role in cost optimization and resource efficiency. Its suite was an instrumental first-generation solution adopted by many FinOps professionals for monitoring cloud spending and beginning to ensure financial effectiveness. However, this acquisition introduces uncertainties that require proactive strategies.
The Road Ahead for VMware Customers: Monitoring Upcoming Changes
As the Broadcom-VMware saga unfolds, customers are understandably apprehensive about what lies ahead. This acquisition, while bringing potential for integration of diverse technologies, also raises concerns about the future of VMware’s offerings and how they will fit into Broadcom’s broader strategy.
Restructuring and Streamlining: VMware customers should prepare for shifts in product focus and support structures. Historically, Broadcom’s acquisitions have led to changes in branding, support quality, and investment in innovation. VMware’s strong footprint in enterprise IT and cloud infrastructure could see alterations in its roadmap to align with Broadcom’s business model. In fact, since the merger, Broadcom has already divided VMware into four divisions: the Tanzu Platform Division, the VMware Cloud Foundation, the Application Networking and Security Division, and the Software-Defined Edge Unit.
Price Stability and Negotiations: Broadcom’s CEO, Hock Tan, has assured stakeholders that there will be no price increases on VMware products. However, with what we know of past acquisitions, it’d be prudent to stay skeptical. Negotiating favorable terms and ensuring price stability in a post-acquisition environment will be paramount for users tasked with managing budgets and optimizing costs.
Strategic Partnerships and Ecosystem: The integration of VMware into Broadcom will likely impact its existing partnerships and the broader ecosystem. Customers should closely monitor any changes in strategic alliances that could affect their current deployments and future technology choices.
Backing up these concerns, a recent Forrester Research blog post “WMware Customers: Brace for Impact” has sounded a clarion call: “Don’t hold your breath on a true success story in which VMware remains unaltered and its own independent entity. Do expect price hikes, degraded support, and a VMware with a more diluted value prop.”
VMware in the Broadcom Era: Building a Proactive Response Plan
As we continue to monitor the developments of this acquisition, understanding its impact on the FinOps landscape and preparing for a range of outcomes will be key for VMware customers. The future might hold challenges, but with proactive planning and strategic thinking, businesses can navigate this transition effectively. Below are some key items to get you started:
Proactivity with a Migration Blueprint: Prepare for potential transitions by developing a robust migration plan. This should include:
- Involvement of Cross-Functional Teams: Engage stakeholders from various departments to ensure a well-rounded perspective.
- Thorough Assessment of Features and Dependencies: Understand the full scope of your reliance on VMware products and identify critical functionalities that must be preserved in any transition.
- Risk Assessment and Resource Planning: Evaluate the potential risks and the technical, time, and financial resources required for a smooth transition.
- Phased Migration Approach: Implement the transition in stages, allowing for adjustments and minimizing disruptions.
Scouting for Stable Alternatives: In light of the uncertainties surrounding Broadcom’s future plans for VMware, it’s wise to explore other vendors. Prioritize those who demonstrate a commitment to innovation and customer-centric development, like CloudBolt, which offers next-generation capabilities, robust innovation, stability and agility in an evolving market.
Open Communication and Vigilance: Keeping an open line of communication with Broadcom and staying informed about their plans for VMware will be essential. Customers should engage in discussions about product roadmaps, support commitments, and how their specific needs will be addressed post-acquisition.
Adapting to Market Dynamics: Stay abreast of the developments in the FinOps and cloud management space. Be prepared to adjust your strategies in response to Broadcom’s management decisions and the evolving technological landscape.
Align with Visionaries: Align with partners who share your vision and commitment to cloud financial management. CloudBolt, for instance, stands out as a partner offering consistent, agile, and innovative solutions, well-suited to navigate the uncertainties of post-acquisition market shifts.
Looking Ahead with CloudBolt
As the cloud financial management realm undergoes these significant changes, remember that forewarned is forearmed. By being proactive, staying informed, and partnering with reliable vendors like CloudBolt, you can ensure that your cloud strategy remains resilient and adaptable in the face of industry upheavals.
In these uncertain times, CloudBolt emerges as a steadfast ally in the FinOps domain. We offer unwavering consistency in focusing on customer-centric, agile development to stay ahead of market demands. If you’re contemplating a shift from your current solutions, CloudBolt promises an uninterrupted, stable partnership in navigating the dynamic cloud strategy landscape.
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CloudBolt enables organizations to gain financial clarity, eliminate wasteful spending, and deploy preventive controls so that they can find true FinOps success. The results speak for themselves – our customers report reducing manual financial processes by 50% or more and actualizing substantial savings within 3-6 months of deployment.
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(And after seeing what CloudBolt can do, you might just conclude that “Life’s too short for Broadcom.”)
Navigating the FinOps M&A Era
Enterprise IT teams rely heavily on technology and vendor relationships to ensure success. These partnerships not only help solve intricate challenges but also provide the essential tools that businesses demand and assist in scaling operations. The sturdy backbone of modern IT operations often finds itself under threat by frequent mergers and acquisitions in the tech realm. Especially for those enterprises who stay ahead of the curve, it becomes evident how swiftly industry giants often rush to acquire rising vendors, seeking to bolster their own relevance. The world of FinOps isn’t exempt from this reality. In fact, recent acquisitions have made waves in the sector, leaving many Apptio customers wondering what’s next and looking for Cloudability alternatives.
For those of us who have watched this play out many times before, here is some advice for Cloudability customers who fear the worst:
Know the History
The cloud landscape, especially in the realm of FinOps, has seen numerous shifts and turns. The most recent spectacle was when IBM acquired Apptio for a staggering $5 billion – setting a new benchmark for CCMO tools. Yet, this isn’t IBM’s first venture into the acquisition spree. It’s worth noting that the tech giant has made several strategic investments in the past. Be it the acquisition of Nordcloud & Klarity Core in 2020 or the purchase of Turbonomic in 2021, IBM has consistently shown its appetite for expansion. Whether there is a broader strategy remains to be seen. It’s not just IBM; giants like VMware, NetApp, and even Cisco have also made their moves in the market. With such a dynamic past, it becomes paramount to stay updated and be proactive rather than reactive.
Recognize the Early Signs of Acquisition Ripples
Mergers and acquisitions, while potentially lucrative for the companies involved, can be challenging for customers. With every acquisition, there is often a whirlwind of uncertainties: Will the product vision change? Will there be a shift in focus? Will the pace of innovation slow (or stop altogether)? Will TCO increase? And perhaps the most daunting of all – will there be key resource exits? History shows us that acquisitions can come with their fair share of turmoil. Whether it’s challenges integrating companies or the exit of strategic leaders and partners, the consequences of hasty acquisitions can emerge months, even years, after the deal is inked. But with knowledge and vigilance, enterprises can avoid being caught off-guard.
Consider Proactivity with a Migration Blueprint
If the writing is on the wall, or even if it’s just a hunch or even a seemingly distant possibility, ensure you have a migration plan ready. Transitioning to another platform is a significant decision and necessitates intricate planning:
- Establish Your Cross-Functional Representatives: Involve key stakeholders from various departments.
- Frame the Project for Stakeholders: Clearly communicate the importance and scope of the migration.
- Build a Team of Internal Experts: Ensure you have technical expertise within the company to guide the transition.
- Take Inventory of Used Features: Understand your requirements and ensure no data loss during migration.
- Create a Risk Assessment Report: Understand and communicate all potential challenges and risks associated.
- Determine Technical, Time, and Financial Requirements: Outline the resources needed for a smooth transition.
- Create Project Management System for All Parties: Ensure transparency and seamless communication throughout the migration.
- Perform the Migration in Phases: Undertake the migration systematically to ensure thoroughness.
- Test Cases After Each Phase: Regular testing ensures that problems are identified and addressed promptly.
Scout the FinOps Landscape and Make Informed Choices
It’s important to identify and vet your options ahead of time so that you’re not starting flat-footed if/when the time comes to bail on your existing solution. Know your options and have a perspective on your top choice(s). While the cloud financial management space is crowded with both small players and established vendors, it’s essential to prioritize the features and functionality that align with your organization’s needs. With potential uncertainties around vendors after major acquisitions, such as in Apptio’s case, you might be inclined to choose among Cloudability alternatives that are committed to agility and innovation. CloudBolt, for instance, offers more than just a solution; it provides a partnership. Their commitment to continuous development, agility, and customer-focused innovation makes them an appealing choice for businesses seeking stability in an ever-evolving market.
Your Next Step Forward:
In the rapidly changing world of cloud financial management, it’s vital to stay informed, be proactive, and ensure your enterprise is partnered with vendors who share your vision and commitment. With the right knowledge, preparation, and partners like CloudBolt, you can navigate the FinOps space confidently, maximizing efficiency, and ensuring success in all your cloud endeav ors.
Ready to explore your options?
CloudBolt’s guarantee is to be a stable, dependable partner in this ever-evolving space. We know that businesses require a cost management partner that remains consistent in their approach and values. That’s CloudBolt. With us, there are no unexpected shifts or strategic surprises—just agile, customer-focused development designed to lead the market and align with your needs.
If you’re ready to proactively start exploring or if you’ve already made up your mind to move away from your existing solution, please consider CloudBolt to ensure your cloud strategy remains uninterrupted in these turbulent times!
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