VMware Broadcom Licensing and Subscription Changes Explained

Overview VMware Licensing Changes

Towards the end of December 2023, VMware announced a significant shift in its licensing model, moving from perpetual licensing to a subscription-based framework.

This decision to streamline its product offerings has led to substantial changes in how customers access and utilise VMware products. 

The below information highlights concerns and potential impacts on customers.

The Shift to Subscription-Based Offerings

VMware’s transition to a subscription model is centred around two primary offerings:

  • VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 
  • VMware vSphere Foundation (VVF)

This move aligns with a growing industry trend but raises concerns about the increased long-term costs for customers.

Furthermore, the option for lighter requirements, such as vSphere Standard and vSphere Essentials Plus Kit, appears limited in scope, potentially leaving small to medium-sized businesses at a disadvantage.

Add-On Services: An Additional Expense?

The introduction of advanced add-on services for VCF and VVF suggests an incremental cost for customers who require specific functionalities.

This approach could lead to an increased financial burden for customers who previously enjoyed a more comprehensive set of features in standalone products.

End of Availability (EOA) Products

The transition to subscription-based offerings has rendered many standalone VMware solutions EOA.

This change could be disruptive for customers accustomed to these products, forcing them to adapt to new platforms or incur additional costs for replacement products.

The EOA Impact: A Table Overview

The following table illustrates the stark reality of VMware’s EOA products, revealing the limited replacement options within the new VMware portfolio:

EOA ProductIncluded in VCF/VVF/Add-on?Replacement Product or Add-On
VMware vSphere Enterprise PlusYesVCF, VVF
VMware vSphere+No
VMware vSphere EnterpriseNo
VMware vSphere Standard (excluding subscription)YesNew vSphere Standard
VMware vSphere ROBONo
VMware vSphere Scale OutNo
VMware vSphere DesktopNo
VMware vSphere Acceleration KitsNo
VMware vSphere Essentials KitNo
VMware vSphere Essentials Plus (excluding subscription)YesvSphere Essentials Plus Kit
VMware vSphere Starter/FoundationNo
VMware vSphere with Operations ManagementNo
VMware vSphere BasicNo
VMware vSphere AdvancedNo
VMware vSphere Storage ApplianceNo
VMware vSphere Hypervisor (free edition)No
VMware Cloud Foundation (excluding new VCF subscription)No
VMware Cloud Foundation for VDINo
VMware Cloud Foundation for ROBONo
VMware SDDC ManagerYesVCF
VMware vCenter StandardYesVCF, VVF, and vSphere STD
VMware vCenter FoundationNo
VMware vSANYesVCF, VVF, vSAN add-on
VMware vSAN DesktopNo
VMware vSAN+No
VMware HCI KitNo
VMware Site Recovery ManagerYesAdd-On Service
VMware Cloud Editions/Cloud PacksNoReplaced with VCF, VVF
VMware vCloud SuiteNoReplaced with VCF, VVF
VMware Aria Suite (formerly vRealize Suite)YesVCF, VVF
VMware Aria Universal Suite (formerly vRealize Cloud Universal)No
VMware Aria Suite TermYesVCF, VVF
VMware Aria Operations for Networks (formerly vRealize Network Insight)YesVCF
VMware Aria Operations for Networks Universal (formerly vRealize Network Insight Universal)No
VMware vRealize Network Insight ROBONo
VMware Aria Operations for Logs (formerly vRealize Log Insight)YesVVF, VCF
VMware vRealize Operations 8 Application Monitoring Add-OnNo
VMware Aria OperationsYesVVF, VCF
VMware Aria AutomationYesVCF
VMware Aria Suite Cloud for US Public SectorNo
VMware Aria Automation for Secure Hosts add-on (formerly SaltStack SecOps)YesTanzu Guardrails Add-On
VMware vRealize Automation SaltStack SecOps add-onYesTanzu Guardrails Add-On
VMware Aria Operations for Integrations (formerly vRealize True Visibility Suite)YesVCF, VVF
VMware Cloud DirectorYesVCF (CSP only)
VMware Cloud Director ServiceNo
VMware NSXYesVCF and VMware Firewall (with ATP)
VMware NSX for DesktopNo
VMware NSX Distributed FirewallYesVCF and VMware Firewall
VMware NSX Gateway FirewallYesVCF and VMware Firewall
VMware NSX Threat Prevention to Distributed FirewallYesVCF and VMware Firewall (with ATP)
VMware NSX Threat Prevention to Gateway FirewallYesVCF and VMware Firewall (with ATP)
VMware NSX Advanced Threat Prevention to Distributed FirewallYesVCF and VMware Firewall (with ATP)
VMware NSX Advanced Threat Prevention to Gateway FirewallYesVCF and VMware Firewall (with ATP)
VMware AVI Load Balancer (excluding Subscription, SaaS)YesVMware Avi Load Balancer Add-On (also standalone)
VMware Container Networking Enterprise with AntreaYesVCF and VMware Firewall
VMware HCX+No


As you will see, this represents a significant shift in VMware’s product strategy, aligning with the company’s focus on simplifying its offerings and enhancing customer value through its subscription-based models.

Bring Your Own License Capability: A Complex Solution?

VMware’s proposed BYOL option, allowing customers to deploy subscriptions flexibly, seems to add a layer of complexity rather than simplifying the licensing landscape.

This could lead to further confusion and potential management challenges for customers.

Aria SaaS Services: Limited Future Support

The announcement of the end of Aria SaaS services, though still supporting existing customers, hints at a gradual withdrawal of support.

This might leave customers in a lurch, having to transition to VCF or VVF, potentially disrupting their operations and incurring unforeseen expenses.

Licensing Coverage: An Overwhelming Change

The encompassing nature of this shift, covering all licensing options and product editions, presents a massive overhaul that might be challenging for customers to navigate.

This sweeping change could lead to uncertainties, especially for those heavily invested in VMware’s ecosystem.

Next Steps for Customers: A Forced Alignment

Customers not immediately affected by these changes will eventually need to align with VMware’s updated portfolio.

This inevitability will have its challenges for customers, as it pushes them towards a predetermined path without considering individual preferences or needs.


FAQs based on the recent changes in VMware’s portfolio:

1) What are VMware’s new subscription-based offerings?

VMware now offers two primary subscription-based solutions: VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) and VMware vSphere Foundation (VVF).

2) Will VMware still offer perpetual licenses?

No, VMware is transitioning away from perpetual licenses to a subscription-based model.

3) What is VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF)?

VCF is a comprehensive solution that includes vSphere, vSAN, NSX, and the Aria management suite, available only as a subscription.

4) What does VMware vSphere Foundation (VVF) include?

VVF is designed for data centre optimization and includes Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, Aria Operations, and Aria Operations for Logs.

5) Are there any subscription options for small-scale requirements?

Yes, VMware offers subscriptions to vSphere Standard and vSphere Essentials Plus Kit for smaller requirements.

6) What happens to existing standalone VMware products?

Many standalone VMware products are now End of Availability (EOA) and have been integrated into VCF or VVF as part of the subscription model.

7) Can I still use my EOA product?

If you are an existing customer, you can continue using your EOA product until the end of your current support contract.

8) What is the ‘Bring Your Own License’ (BYOL) option?

BYOL allows customers to purchase VCF subscriptions and deploy them flexibly to VMware-validated hybrid cloud endpoints and on-prem data centres.

9) What will happen to Aria SaaS services?

VMware announced the End of Availability for Aria SaaS services but will continue supporting existing customers until their subscription ends.

10) Do these changes affect all VMware licensing options?

Yes, this transition impacts all licensing options, including Perpetual, Support & Subscription (SnS), SaaS/hosted, and other subscriptions.

11) What if I’m not up for renewal yet?

There’s no immediate action required for customers not up for renewal. VMware will continue support through the duration of your contract.

12) Will there be any new features for Aria SaaS services?

Aria SaaS Services are in maintenance mode, meaning no new features will be added, but security and critical updates will continue.

13) How will these changes impact long-term costs?

Transitioning to a subscription-based model may result in increased long-term costs, depending on your specific requirements and usage.

14) Are advanced add-ons mandatory with the new subscriptions?

No, advanced add-ons are optional but offer enhanced functionalities for VCF and VVF.

15) What if my EOA product isn’t listed in the replacement options?

If your product isn’t listed, it may no longer be supported, and you may need to transition to a new solution within the VCF or VVF framework.

16) How can I determine the best replacement for my EOA product?

Consult the replacement table or contact the team at Academia to understand the best fit for your needs within the new offerings.

17) What should I do at the time of renewal with EOA products?

Work with your VMware partner to align your requirements with VMware’s updated portfolio.

18) How will these changes affect VMware’s product support?

Support for products will continue as usual until the end of current contracts, after which customers will need to transition to the new model.


If any of these changes have a direct impact on your IT landscape and you need some guidance and support, please get in touch on VMware@academia.co.uk to organise a session with one of our technical solutions team.

Click here to book some time for a chat

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