Broadcom to end VMware’s channel program, move partners to its own invite-only offering

Suppliers don’t know much about what’s going on. Which leaves users in limbo, too

Broadcom has told VMware partners the virtualization champion’s channel program will end in early 2024.

News of the changes appears to have been shared with partners on December 21 or 22 and was reported shortly thereafter. The Register requested an interview to explore the change. Broadcom responded with a statement to the effect that “effective February 5, 2024, Broadcom will be transitioning VMware’s partner programs to the invitation-only Broadcom Advantage Partner Program.”

“Based on recent discussions with hundreds of partners globally, this transition will help our partners achieve even greater opportunities for profitability through simplified bundled offerings and more opportunities for service revenues,” the statement added.

Broadcom framed the change as showing it “remains committed to creating value within our combined ecosystem, which has been made stronger with the addition of VMware partners.”

VMware’s channel appears to have been taken by surprise. Yves Sandfort, CEO of German consultancy comdivision, posted a video in which he said he’s relying on media reports of the changes and awaits detail.

In a sometimes NSFW Reddit thread one poster wrote: “I‘d happily transition to whatever program Broadcom has to offer if only they would tell us what exactly that program entails and what the requirements are… before canceling the old program,” and added: “You‘d expect with how long it took them to get approval for the takeover at all they‘d be more prepared by now.”

The mention of the “invitation-only” Broadcom program has been interpreted as meaning some current VMware partners could lose their status.

If so, that’s going to be painful for customers who worked with any partners ejected that aren’t invited to join Broadcom’s channel program.

VMware customers are already trying to understand Broadcom’s changes to software licenses that will soon see all VMware products sold on subscriptions and only offered in a handful of product bundles.

Analyst group Futurum applauded the change on grounds that VMware’s product list was “too diverse and confusing for anyone beyond the PhD student level in their licensing constructs, and perpetual licensing is the model of yesteryear and not how software is purchased in 2023.”

However, The Register understands that some of the new bundles include products that were previously sold alone, meaning customers may be required to acquire software they don’t intend to use at the same time they sign up for the core VMware virtualization stack.

Broadcom has asserted that the price for one of its bundles — VMware’s flagship Cloud Foundation suite — has been halved, but the basis of the claim has not been made public. The Register has encountered reports that Broadcom’s licenses are charged by the processor core.

We’ve sought comment from Broadcom on the licenses and have not received a reply.

VMware’s rivals, however, are promoting alternatives to the vStack.

Nutanix has posted analysis of Broadcom’s licenses along with a suggestion it can do better. And Vates, the org that forked Xen Server to create XCP-ng, has teased a forthcoming Virtualization Management Stack the company has advised will include tools comparable to vSphere and data management tools comparable to those offered by Veeam. ®

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