VMware CEO bats away Broadcom concerns – it’s just ‘the next transition’

And so is vSphere for Arm: CEO tells Reg he’s ‘beating up’ the exec responsible for the port

VMware Explore VMware is working to bring its flagship virtualization stack to all major processor architectures, CEO Raghu Raghuram said at his company’s Explore conference in San Francisco today.

“I am beating up Krish all the time,” Raghuram joked to us, referring to Krish Prasad, senior vice president and general manager of cloud platforms at VMware, who is overseeing the Arm port of vSphere. We took that to mean the CEO is keen to see the technology deployed in the wild rather than a reflection of, say, any open bugs still to fix.

Raghuram and Prasad suggested that VMware’s launch this week of vSphere 8, which can run on Arm-powered CPU cores in SmartNICs, indicates the maturity of the vSphere on Arm port.

Prasad told The Register that VMware prioritized this support for SmartNICs so that customers could boost application performance by offloading network tasks and similar scutwork from server host processors to an attached accelerator.

Running enterprise apps on Arm processors seems to be less of a priority for users, meaning VMware’s efforts to create a product for platforms such as the Arm-compatible Ampere Altra processor that’s been deployed by major public clouds can wait. As can a port for Amazon Web Services’ Graviton CPUs.

Raghuram danced around what the imminent acquisition of VMware by Broadcom will mean for his company and its customers. In his keynote, Raghuram described the proposed takeover as VMware’s “next transition,” though did not elaborate what that means.

During a subsequent Q&A session, the CEO said VMware is “working with the Broadcom team and helping them understand the depth and breadth of our business and product portfolio.”

Broadcom is apparently “super excited.” Raghuram said VMware staff are cracking on with things and customers remain engaged.

But the conclusion of the deal remains distant: Broadcom has said it will close in its fiscal 2023, a window of time that spans calendar November 2022 to October 2023. For now, VMware is operating as it must – as an independent company.

That means Raghuram was unwilling to indulge in even a moment of speculation about how VMware might work within Broadcom and with the behemoth's other companies.

Asked if he saw potential for Broadcom-owned Symantec’s portfolio to enhance VMware’s cloud security portfolio, Raghuram bluntly replied that he simply cannot discuss the possibilities of future product integration and combinations.

VMware is willing to talk about announcements like version 1.3 of its Tanzu Application Platform (TAP), which will add support for Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). Execs said EKS has become the dominant enterprise Kubernetes distribution, so ensuring TAP can apply its lifecycle management smarts to the service is sensible and essential.

TAP can now also run on RedHat’s OpenShift, a nod to its prevalence and also an illustration of the theme VMware is hammering this year: the need for operational consistency.

Our friends over at The Next Platform have more details and analysis of this week's vSphere and vSAN and DPU and accelerator announcements at VMware Explore.

In today’s keynote and other presentations, execs have described multi-cloud operations as inevitable.

VMware’s view of the world is that organizations may find themselves adopting a multi-cloud approach to take advantage of different providers’ standout features. IT departments may also find themselves called in to manage cloud resources that a line of business has acquired without much thought to companywide IT governance and provider choice.

Whatever route an organization takes to using multiple clouds, VMware offers a layer that can apply the same security and networking patterns across multiple clouds. Doing so means ops types don’t end up having to treat each cloud as silos that operate on different rules.

Developers get patterns they can use on any cloud, without having to ask ops to arrange a deployment.

Which sounds great … yet VMware execs have for at least the past three years told The Register that their current customers rely on the company for vSphere and remain less interested in, or aware of, its cloud-focused offerings.

Which is why VMware holds conferences like the one today, to push these multi-cloud features … and why Broadcom’s strategy of buying VMware for $61 billion only to likely slash its marketing expenses looks like folly. ®

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