Cloud Foundation Updates Reflect The New VMware By Broadcom

Broadcom’s $69 billion acquisition of virtualization stalwart VMware was not an easy proposition.

Regulators around the world worried about the effect the deal would have on the IT industry and Broadcom had to make some promises – such as to the European Union, which demanded concessions from the semiconductor giant that would help Marvell Technology – and had to deal with a tougher regulatory environment in the United States under the Biden Administration and a Federal Trade Commission led by chair Lina Khan.

The company also had to navigate the politically treacherous waters of the relationship between the United States and China, which proved to be the last barrier to a Broadcom-VMware courtship that started in 2022, a year after Dell Technologies spun out the company. China eventually agreed to the deal, enabling it to be finalized in November 2023.

Broadcom added VMware to a software portfolio that already includes systems management company CA and security vendor Symantec and, as they did with those two acquisitions, quickly made changes to VMware’s operations and strategy.

It has been a busy six months since the deal closed, according to Prashanth Shenoy, vice president of product marketing for the company’s VMware Cloud Foundation division, with the streamlining the product portfolio, the changing licensing plans, and generally making VMware easier for customers to deal with.

The VMware under Broadcom winnowed down a massive product lineup to two primary offerings in VMware Cloud Foundation and VMware vSphere Foundation, both offering all the key technologies needed for private clouds, from compute, storage, and network to security and application platform services.

“In the name of flexibility and choice for our customers, we made working with us – when we were an independent company – extremely hard for our customers,” Shenoy told journalists and analysts in a briefing about the latest versions of VMware Cloud Foundation and VMware vSphere Foundation. “What that meant was we had 168 different products and bundles and offers and close to 9,000 SKUs for these offers out in the market. Five components, every permutation possible – good, better, best and small, medium, large. While it gave our customers choice, it made it extremely complex to understand what the right choice is for them. That made licensing, pricing, route to market, capabilities across all these offers extremely hard for our customers to truly understand them.”

It also meant that much of the responsibility for integrating these capabilities together was put on the users. Now organizations have to choose among two options, VMware Cloud Foundation for larger enterprises and VMware vSphere Foundation – both housed under the VCF Division – aimed at midsize companies. There was were changes in pricing for VMware Cloud Foundation – from $700 per core per year to $350 – and a shift in how customers are charged.

“What we did was move completely from a perpetual CPU-based model that we had in the previous book to a core-based subscription pricing model,” he said. “This is the industry standard that every other infrastructure and software vendor has brought in for the last several years. VMware, when we were an independent company, was the last one to do still perpetual licensing. This, as we became part of Broadcom, was pretty straightforward. We’ve been talking about this for the last two to three years to help our customers prepare in advance for the shift from CPU to core and from perpetual subscription. We just put that into action. That was the fundamental change that we did.”

The strategy as VMware by Broadcom for VMware Cloud Foundation is giving enterprises a private cloud operating model as a single platform that can be deployed in any way that’s needed, such as on premises and managed by the customer or at the edge as a managed service, and can run either traditional business-critical applications and modern workloads. In addition, the infrastructure needs to be resilient and highly integrated.

“You’re going to see us focus tremendously over the next year on this particular aspect,” Shenoy said. “Our customers have gotten different components of this platform over the last several years, so they haven’t quite gotten that single, consistent experience of making this product look, work, feel, and act like one: The software-defined compute with vSphere, software-defined storage with vSAN, software-defined networking with NSX, and overall operations and automation through Aria. It’s all become a patchwork for our customers. We made them the system integrators. Our job right now is to truly clean up the seams around these products and make them look, feel, act, and behave like a single private cloud platform.”

The latest enhancements in VMware Cloud Foundation 5.2 are the latest steps in that direction. Key among them is the VCF Import feature that allows enterprises to integrate existing vSphere and vSAN into VMware Cloud Foundation. Some organizations have vSphere-only environments or vSAN with VMware File Service or Fibre Channel that they want to bring to VMware Cloud Foundation without having to re-architect the environment. VCF Import does enables this by having functions like lifecycle management, identity and access management, upgrades, patching, and automation done at the platform level rather than through the individual component and then syncs everything, he said.

Another new capability addresses the edge. The VCF Edge is a configuration optimized for the edge, where Shenoy said the much of the IT action is happening.

“Most of the workloads right now are getting deployed at the edge and a lot of data processing and data analytics are happening at the edge, beyond our customers’ large datacenter sites,” he said, adding that the new offering “is designed to extend the capability of our VMware Cloud Foundation to the edge location, but making sure it’s optimized and configured for edge requirements, whether it’s around the scale, whether it’s around the performance, whether it’s around the cost-effectiveness nature and the scalable way of managing large number of remote sites.”

For developers, “VMware by Broadcom,” as the company is being called, will include quick-start templates, simpler network integration, and advanced performance insights, as well as Tanzu Kubernetes Grid – which let developers deploy Tanzu Kubernetes clusters across cloud sites – as an independent service.

“What we have done is make sure that the TKG Service can be aligned more with the upstream Kubernetes updates so they can get the latest and greatest features independent of their vSphere release cycle,” Shenoy said. “It also provides them flexibility in their update timing. It allows for asynchronous updates.”

These and other features in VMware Cloud Foundation 5.2 and VMware vSphere Foundation are emblematic of the combination of VMware and Broadcom, he said. VMware brought with it its infrastructure software, innovation history, and broad ecosystem and partner community.

“What Broadcom provides is an intense focus on truly what the customer wants from us and it has ruthless prioritization so we can have rapid execution,” he said. “It can provide faster time to value to our customers and it brings incremental R&D investment. … There’s intense focus on building high-quality products so that we can retain and sustain our market leadership and not to complicate and bring complexity into our customer environment.”

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