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  • Claire Cobden

Part-2: VMware Customers Are Having a Real Dilemma: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Impact of VMware Acquisition by Broadcom

As mentioned in the blog Part-1: VMware Customers Are Dealing with Fear Uncertainty, and Doubts (FUD), Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware brought a lot of uncertainty and concerns among VMware’s customer base.

The Portworx's report, "The Voice of Kubernetes Experts Report 2024 The Data Trends Driving the Future of the Enterprise shows that 85% are planning to move a majority of their VM workloads to cloud-native – and migration timelines indicate the urgency to do so within the next two years. According to the report, 58% of the respondents are planning to modernize or migrate their VMs, including some of their applications from VM management to Kubernetes. 

Stay or Go?

When it comes to the largest customers, there is Broadcom’s willingness to negotiate pricing. Despite having to face an entirely new operational model imposed by Broadcom to VMware's licensing models, committed VMware customers are renegotiating existing contracts, and embracing the new subscription model

However, Naveen Chhabra, principal analyst at Forrester Research, told SDxCentral that about "20% of the biggest companies worldwide will start to exit the VMware stack" and this means many of them are actively exploring cloud-native options.

There are also VMware customers stuck in the middle, adopting a passive and cautious wait-and-see approach. These companies are uncertain about the long-term suitability of VMware for their needs, yet they persist in dedicating their time and resources to the platform.

As VMware customers grapple with the decision of whether to continue with the VMware/Broadcom offering or explore other options, below are key considerations to take into account.

Things to Think About Before Moving Away from VMware

If you are undecided or in search of a VMware alternative, the following key points can assist you in mitigating the risks associated with migrating away from VMware.

1. Take Action Now: Why Passive is Not an Option

While it may seem like the safest option, IT leaders who choose the "wait-and-see" approach will inevitably have to face the consequences of potentially becoming locked into a limiting and inflexible VMware subscription model. To balance out this cautious (wait-and-see) approach, you can accelerate your search for an alternative solution for VMware. Certainly - without a doubt, this parallel path can be a significant undertaking, but it will enable you to gather sufficient insights quickly to support your decision to either fully commit to VMware or transition from it.

2. You will definitely need to know this

When contemplating moving away from VMware, you will need to consider the answers to these questions:

  • How to migrate or modernize VM stacks when the internal teams lack the skills and budget to do so?  

  • How to manage the costly risks of refactoring VMs to containers, which can be time-consuming?  

  • What to do with sunk costs of VM licensing and support fees?  

  • How to prioritize VM modernization against the existing list of technical debt?

3. VMware migration to cloud-native/Kubernetes is not for amateurs

Archana Venkatraman, a senior research director, cloud data management analyst at IDC said:

"While migrating VM-based applications to Kubernetes remains challenging, robust data services and container platforms are making it possible, enabling accelerated development, seamless management, automation, and optimized IT infrastructure."

Consider engaging a systems integrator (SI) or managed services provider (MSP) to support your VMware modernization efforts. It will be a worthy investment, because you don't be a statistic as research shows that 79% of application modernization projects fail.

Seek a SI/MSP company with expertise in cloud native/open-source technology and best practices. This SI/MSP must be capable of offering a cloud-native solution with an agnostic approach to cloud and Kubernetes. In other words, the solution will/can work in any cloud environment (private, public, hybrid, edge), and with any type of Kubernetes (managed, non-managed). Also, the right SI/MSP will make it easy for you to understand, through a POC or demo, how you will gain cost and operational efficiencies, automation, and support.

4. Get Started Readiness Checklists for VMware Customers

Successful migration is not magic. It requires serious planning and excellent execution. As a starting point, check out the info below, which will help you with your migration planning:  

Business alignment

  • Establish business and operational goals

  • Determine expected migration outcomes

  • Define key timelines and KPIs

Cloud strategy

  • Determine your cloud strategy: Public cloud, private cloud, hybrid, and/or edge

VMware migration readiness assessment

  • Which VMs will remain VMs?

  • Which VMs can be targeted for migration, and how soon? 

  • How much app refactoring is necessary and what needs to be modified for migration? 

  • What is the migration schedule with key milestones? 

  • What are the DevOps/FTE requirements on day-0, day-1, and day-2?

  • What is the documented process for brownfield and greenfield application deployment and operations?

New technologies, frameworks, and integration readiness assessment(s)

  • Which CNCF ecosystem tools and frameworks to use?  

  • What is the golden-path on day-1? 

  • What’s the required skill sets to support CNCF?

  • What does deployment and management look like on day-1 and day-2?

  • What do on-going upgrades/updates look like? 

  • What is the necessary upskilling of staff?  

  • How to manage and operate the centralized dashboard 

  • etc.

The goal of the checklists above is to enable IT leaders to make informed decisions that best serve their needs.

To summarize

Portworx's report says the shifts occurring in virtualization following Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware has prompted many of them to re-think their virtualization strategies. And although the urgency to update VM stacks has increased significantly, it is important for IT leaders to tackle it systematically.

Also, the majority of customers who are committed to moving away from VMware are interested in adopting a hybrid transition strategy. This strategy enables them to shift applications and new initiatives to different, more modern platforms (i.e., Kubernetes/cloud-native), over time.

As an IT leader, you're responsible for carefully evaluating the options to chart a course that not only safeguards your company’s interests but also positions it for long-term success. Decisions made today will shape the trajectory of your company’s technology infrastructure for years to come.


If you have questions, let's talk.


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