South Korea approves Broadcom's VMware buy

Virtzilla's final releases as an indepdent company might be biggish upgrades to its desktop hypervisors

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has conditionally approved Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware, leaving China as the holdout ahead of the forecast October 30 closing day for the mammoth deal.

The Commission on Monday published its decision, which expresses concern that Broadcom's ownership of VMware could reduce competition for fiber channel host bus adapters (HBAs). The regulator has therefore required Broadcom to license drivers for the adapters and make the source code for its drivers available.

Broadcom's also required to support HBAs from rivals for ten years, and has been given 60 days to explain how it will ensure the Commission's terms are met.

This widely expected decision means China remains the only jurisdiction not to have approved the deal yet. Beijing's lack of a decision has led to speculation Middle Kingdom regulators could cancel or stall the deal in retaliation for US sanctions.

But the Korean Commission's decision makes clear it worked with regulators – including China's – to reach its decision.

The ruling doesn't offer any insight into the decision-making processes at China's State Administration for Market Regulation. But it does reveal the Chinese org was privy to deliberations at other regulators that have approved the deal.

Perhaps that means Beijing will approve the deal?

If that's the case, VMware's last big product release as an independent company may have happened late last week, with the delivery of upgrades to its Workstation Pro and Fusion desktop hypervisors.

Fusion, which runs on macOS, reached version 13.5 late last Thursday. The product has added a feature that allows users to download and install Windows 11 as a guest operating system from the Fusion user interface on a Mac powered by Apple silicon, rather than hunting for a .ISO file to download.

VMware's product line manager for desktop hypervisor products, Michael Roy, rated an upgrade to VMware Tools as the "star" of the release, as it adds full 3D support for emulated 32-bit, 64-bit and arm64-native graphics.

"In addition, the new VMware Tools installer adds ultra-fast file transfers via drag-and-drop as well as copy-paste for quickly getting files and data between Windows and your Mac," he enthused.

The upgrade also adds the ability to import or export virtual machines with a vTPM device enabled. That'll be handy, given Windows 11 requires a TPM-equipped machine.

Fusion 13.5 also adds support for up to 256 NVMe devices, with four controllers and 64 devices per controller. That's a seriously sized VM!

The upgrade also replaces cipher-block chaining encryption for VMs with the XEX Tweakable Block Ciphertext Stealing that's recommended for full—disk encoding.

Fusion 13.5 is a free upgrade for those who hold licenses for version 13.

In February 2023, Microsoft changed its licensing policy to allow Windows-on-Arm VMs. For what it's worth, The Register understands that Apple now sees Mac-using developers – a key market for desktop hypervisors – as being more interested in running Windows in containers.

VMware's Workstation Pro, its desktop Hypervisor for Windows and Linux, has also had a bump to release 17.5. The same encryption, TPM, and hardware support updates have reached Workstation.

Unique to Workstation is the ability to control virtual machines using the VMRUN command line utility. "You can use commands to perform various guest operations such as power on or off, capture snapshots for data backup, manage network adapters, run an executable program, manage files and directories, manage processes running on the operating system, and so on," explains VMware's release documentation.

The VMrest API has been tweaked to allow power on/off, suspension, pause, or unpause, or state retrieval, of encrypted VMs.

Users of virtual printers may not appreciate this release, as that feature has reached end of life and been removed from Workstation Pro. ®

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