Broadcom gave the market, and specifically the channel, an unwelcome New Year’s surprise when it announced plans to end the VMware partner program effective Feb. 5, precisely the sort of action that was predicted by analysts and feared by customers and (now) former resellers, says John Annand, executive councilor practice lead at Info-Tech Research Group.
Annand, who in a former career once sold, installed, and configured VMware, said the VMWare partner program has been around since the company’s inception in 1998 and has long been a darling of the reseller, VAR, and channel communities.
“Almost a rite of passage certification for so many IT professionals, especially early in their career, it was so popular that a scant 12 years later, the unofficial meetups, chatrooms and email lists of practitioners banded together to form VMware User Group (VMUG),” he said.
“An organization independent of VMware that quickly turned into a global organization with a mission to help members connect, collaborate and network with fellow VMware users, VMUG has chapters in most major cities, put on its own conferences, and developed its own training materials, webcasts, and even awards.”
Among those partners severely impacted by Broadcom’s move is Whipcord Edge Data Centers, an infrastructure service provider with data centre facilities in Toronto and Lethbridge that has offered private cloud services for more than 10 years and leverages VMWare’s Cloud Service Provider program.
In addition to receiving the VMware Partner Programs Termination Notice on Dec. 22, said Dan Hamilton, Whipcord Edge’s chief operating officer (COO), the company also received a CSP-specific termination notice.
“The second paragraph starts with ‘effective April 30, 2024, the ability to transact as a VMware Cloud Services Provider, under the VMware Partner Connect Program, will come to an end.’
“This sentence in particular came as a tremendous shock to us. There was no forewarning; no indication at all that this was coming. We knew about the changes to the bundles and pricing on the reseller side, but nothing at all about changes to the CSP program. They mention the Broadcom Expert Advantage Partner Program, but to date we have not received any invitation.”
Hamilton added that the “other piece to this that is shocking is the silence from the aggregators. Under the CSP program, we rely on the aggregators to provide our link with VMware in terms of information and concerns regarding the program. Our aggregator (Ingram Micro) has been completely silent. No communication whatsoever. We have reached out multiple times and received no reply. When reaching out to VMware directly, they point back to the aggregator.”
This is, he said, a “a major component” of Whipcord’s business that is now in limbo: “We have no idea if we will be invited to the Broadcom program, or how that program will be structured. Given the other changes we have seen, I am very concerned that the structure could change from the current consumption-based vRAM model to a core-based model. Or the program could end entirely; we do not know since VMware and Broadcom have not provided any details at all. Either way, this could kill VMware-based private cloud solutions like ours.”
Annand said that VMware was a company that embraced partners both on the sales enablement (resellers, MSPs and consultants) as well as on the technology side (Veeam, Microsoft, etc). It was a company that had collaboration as part of its DNA.
“The result was a product that was comparatively easy for the enterprise to buy and was a sufficiently complete as a solution. And where perhaps there were deficiencies, other OEMs and independent software vendors were encouraged and incentivized to help fill in those gaps. The result was stability and innovation which let whole generations of Infrastructure professional rest easy at night.”
Broadcom, at its heart, he said, “appears to me to be more like a private equity company. Concerned about operational efficiencies over technological upheaval and revolution. They have announced an end to perpetual licensing (which, to be fair, VMware was moving towards already) and promised a simplification of the license model.
“This means bundling fewer subscription-only SKUs at average higher price points. No longer will you just be able to buy the bare necessities of what you need. Fewer partners will mean less competition on price and greater onus for the enterprise to solution design for themselves.”
The acquisition, said Annand, has been a “great move for Broadcom and its shareholders. Broadcom’s ongoing public communications continue to prove that there is little to no – to perhaps negative – upside for former VMware customers.”
Channel Daily News did reach out to VMware Canada for comment, but at press time, had yet to receive a reply.
When contacted about Hamilton’s concerns, a spokesperson for Ingram Micro Canada said, “I have forwarded this to the team, to work with the customer. And at this time, we are unable to provide any comments.”
The post Info-Tech analyst, VMware partner denounce Broadcom’s new channel strategy first appeared on IT World Canada.