VMware bungled bundling blurt blaring Bitfusion bringing new GPU-and-AI powers to vSphere

Bitfusion integration will require an add-on licence after all, rather than being tossed into vSphere Enterprise Plus

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VMware has taken the unusual step of retracting and replacing a press release because it got its own licencing details wrong.

The original news concerned the integration of Bitfusion, an GPU virtualiser that VMware acquired in 2019, with the new vSphere 7.

As happily recorded in The Wayback Machine, VMware’s original announcement said the following:

Pricing and availability

The new feature is part of the VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus edition entitlement.

But a replacement announcement issued late last week, yet strangely absent from VMware’s website, says the following:

Pricing and availability

The new feature is an add-on license to the VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus edition. The add-on license will enable VMware to pinpoint customers using the new VMware vSphere Bitfusion capabilities.

The re-published announcement had “CORRECTING and REPLACING” added before its headline.

The change is significant because it effectively establishes an extra licence tier for vSphere, which at the time of writing offers a Standard bundle aimed at basic server virtualisation and an Enterprise Plus tier that adds extra management and resilience features. Until early April 2020 the company also offered a Platinum pack that included security products, but that was discontinued as VMware's security portfolio swelled to include Carbon Black. Excluding Bitfusion is therefore consistent with Enterprise Plus being a bundle of core products, with other bits not related to managing a virtual server fleet sold as extras.

VMware advances Bitfusion’s GPU-virtualising powers as a fine way to adopt AI and ML workloads at lower cost than is possible using dedicated hardware. Users who saw the first announcement about Bitfusion being bundled with the software they already pay for would likely have been quite happy to know they could start to play at no extra cost.

Sadly that offer seems to have been no more than a press release. ®

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