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Broadcom/VMware: Joining the dots to migrate off VMware


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Broadcom/VMware: Joining the dots to migrate off VMware

This week, there have been a few product announcements that illustrate the opportunity some IT firms see in targeting existing VMware users who are not happy with how the product is changing under Broadcom.

The acquisition of VMware by Broadcom completed at the end of 2023. Broadcom has a strategy to move companies from perpetual licence to software subscriptions. It has also changed licensing, and introduced software bundles that have made the VMware platform more expensive for some customers. As Computer Weekly has reported, academic licenses appear to have been dropped from the price list, which has seen VMware users in education seeing a significant increase in their licence fees.

While it’s unclear how Broadcom’s long-term plans for VMware will evolve, what is clear is that some IT firms see a chance to use the changes the company has made as a way to lure customers away to alternative technology and services.

During the Next 2024 conference in Barcelona, Nutanix announced it would be offering flexibility and a choice of ecosystem with the introduction of Nutanix Cloud Platform for Dell PowerFlex. This combines the Nutanix Cloud Platform, powered by its Acropolis hypervisor (AHV), for compute along with Dell PowerFlex for storage. This represents the first time the hyperconverged infrastructure company has offered the ability to separate network attached storage from the HCI infrastructure, which bundles compute, storage and networking into a single product. “Enterprise customers with a need to scale compute and storage independently will be able to seamlessly extend Dell’s linearly scalable storage to Nutanix software,” Nutanix said.

In March, Nutanix CEO Rajiv Ramaswami discussed the challenges of migrating from VMware to AHV, which requires an IT architectural change. “Our strategy has been to convert customers entirely over to a modern infrastructure using HCI. And as part of that, they can decide if they want to migrate from ESXi to our own AHV.”

However, just a few months later, the company is now offering support for storage – albeit just Dell PowerEdge network attached storage. This shows Nutanix has changed tact to maximise the opportunity presented by Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware.

Switching virtual machine hypervisors is not something that can be done easily. Some applications can be migrated using virtual machine to virtual machine migration but, as Computer Weekly has previously reported, some applications are not certified to run on AVH; others, like database servers, may need to be reinstalled and the data then needs to be synchronised. IT admins will also need retraining.

Rady Children’s Hospital runs a picture archive and communication system (PACS), which is not certified to run on the Nutanix hypervisor. However, the PACS software provider supports VMware and the KVM hypervisor.

The hospital’s chief technology officer, Scott Voigts, said that after being told the Acropolis hypervisor is based on KVM, the software provider could understand that Acropolis is similar to it, which has helped them work on certification.

Bas Dijkhuizen, head of competence centre infrastructure at consumer food manufacturer Hero Group, an existing Nutanix customer, said the company is in the process of migrating from VMware to AHV. Discussing the changes IT admins may experience, he said: “Everyone is used to VMware vCenter, and they’ve been using this tool forever. Now, all of a sudden, you get Nutanix AHV, which has an HTML5 user interface which looks strange. But while it looks strange, it does the same job.” 

According to Dijkhuizen, 95% of the tasks an IT admin would use for virtual machine management actually work better in Nutanix user interface than in vCenter.

The fact that it will take many months, if not years, to migrate from VMware is an opportunity Rimini Street wants to capitalise on.

Migrating to hyperconverged infrastructure

David Rowe, executive vice-president of global transformation at Rimini Street, said organisations that run VMware on-premise are considering migrating to hyperconverged infrastructure. But such a migration may take between 18 moths to five years to complete.

Rimini Street has identified an opportunity to offer third-party support to VMware customers who have perpetual licences and are paying large maintenance fees. “We supported Oracle database and middleware products for well over a decade,” he said. “We have a method to support compiled code, not source code, and we have already been supporting some of those customers where VMware is part of their tech stacks.”

JSR Corporation, a Japan-based, global chemical manufacturer for semiconductors, is a Rimini Street customer that sees the new service as a good opportunity. Kentaro Yamamoto, general manager of the IT strategy department at JSR Corporation, said: “Rimini Street delivers exceptional support for our current enterprise software platform. We are excited that we now have the option to extend the lifespan of our existing VMware products for years, and get exceptional support for our VMware infrastructure through Rimini Street.”





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