Why the Broadcom Announcement Is Good for You


Broadcom has announced it would buy VMware for $60+ billion, sending a shock wave through the vCommunity. After the news broke, based on my social feeds, there were a few positives, but most seemed to question the deal.

As the initial reaction has calmed, it has become more balanced but, obviously, there are still a lot of questions. In speaking with VMUG members, it’s clear most are adopting a wait-and-see attitude, while some are bullish about the future.

Broadcom, a traditional chipmaker, made the move into software starting with the purchase of CA Technologies (CA) in 2018, and Symantec in 2019. VMware will be Broadcom’s largest software move and continue the diversification of its revenue. This purchase would put Broadcom's hardware versus software revenue split to about 50/50. Some point to the history of the CA and Symantec acquisitions as an indication of what may happen with VMware, but VMware is a much bigger purchase, three times the size of CA ($19B) and six times that of Symantec ($11B).

Broadcom recognizes the risk of its current software and hardware not remaining compatible with third-party software. What better way to mitigate this risk than by owning both the hardware and software?

There is opportunity in change and the IT industry continues to transform at an increasing rate. Get comfortable with change! In my career, IT has gone from centralized to decentralized compute. Now it’s changing again with cloud compute.

I started my career in the telco department. This discussion reminds me of when the telecom industry moved to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). The talk of combining departments, using servers, and learning IP was daunting for many telco admins. In hindsight, this was a career defining moment for me that led me to where I am today.

This could be your defining moment.

Yes, like any other merger or acquisition, there will likely be layoffs as the company consolidates departments, and some VMware employees will choose to move on or be part of a reduction in force (RIF). There is uncertainty, and while I choose to acknowledge the challenges, I must also focus on the opportunities.

Here are 3 reasons why this is good news for VMUG members.

Motivation – VMUG members have been telling us they want to change. Almost half, 45% of members recognize they need help learning or building professional development skills and are actively asking for more information in this area. Most know they need to upskill and add to their vSphere skillset. Over two-thirds of members (70%) plan on earning a technical certification this year. Some have done this by adding skills like storage, networking, end-user computing (EUC), and security. When Raghu Raghuram laid out VMware’s third chapter at VMworld last year, that was a signal; if you were only on Chapter 1 (server virtualization), then you were behind. Chapter 2, SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center) is where most are, and Chapter 3, Multi-cloud and Apps are where the industry is going. This announcement is another signal the industry is changing. It’s about the apps, not the servers. You, as a technologist and VMUG member, need to continue your path on learning. The good news is that your VMware skillset is valuable. The concepts of virtualization that you understand can be applied to many vendors in the cloud native landscape.

Opportunity – Some good advice I’ve heard at VMUG is to remember your company is responsible for your job; you are responsible for your career. Take this time to evaluate your career and where you want to go.

Right now, is the best opportunity for you to lift your head up and think about what role you want in five years. This was happening at VMUG even before the Broadcom news. Over the past five years, we have seen the Systems Administrator role decrease (-10%) and the Engineer/Architect role increase (+24%). VMUG members are preparing for their future. This shake-up gives you a reason to talk to your boss about a career path. Coming to them proactively with a plan proves you are not legacy, regardless of what OEM you use.

Community – VMUG is here for you. We are an independent organization and Broadcom is not buying VMUG. We enjoy a strong relationship with VMware that includes financial and non-financial support.

Both formally and informally, we provide a voice back to VMware on a range of topics. The collective voice of VMUG is strong, and any OEM will listen to that voice. VMUG has been through similar things in the past. VMware being purchased by EMC Corp., then Dell, then back to independent. Each time, VMUG saw an increase in activity because we provide a place where technologists can talk about the future of tech and their career and get answers from vendors on how they are navigating this, so you can be prepared.

There are more questions than answers at this point. But with nearly 200,000 members around the globe— you can rest assured that VMUG will provide a variety of insights in addition to direct commentary from VMware and Broadcom.

VMUG UserCons are happening across the globe. Attending these events, talking to vendors and peers, helps you learn what this could mean for your future.

Navigating a fast-paced industry can be challenging. VMUG is here to help.

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