Partners Cheer New HPE Virtualization Capability Being Showcased At HPE Discover

Partners say HPE’s entry into the virtualization market gives customers a new “choice” for those grappling with changes in pricing in the wake of Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware.

Partners are applauding Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s entry into the virtualization market as a new “choice” for customers that are grappling with changes in pricing and go to market in the wake of Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware.

“This is another example of HPE giving customers choice especially those customers who would like to consider an alternative to VMware with all of the changes because of the Broadcom acquisition of VMware,” said Dan Molina, co-president and chief technology officer of San Diego-based Nth Generation, No. 278 on the CRN SP500. “I think this is going to be positively received because customers don’t like to feel locked in. With the changes from Broadcom customers are feeling locked in and some of the price increases are not ordinary. They are extraordinary. That has customers thinking twice about their VMware-centric strategies and there are other alternatives in the market.”

[RELATED: CTO Fidelma Russo On Customer Choice, Trust And Why HPE Now Has Its Own Virtualization Capability]

HPE Executive Vice President and CTO Fidelma Russo’s formal announcement of the new KVM-based hypervisor capability at the HPE Partner Summit on Tuesday was greeted with a hearty round of applause from partners.

Molina said he was heartened to hear that HPE does not intend to use the per-core pricing model that VMware adopted after the Broadcom acquisition. That has led to sharp price increases for many customers. “Not using per-core or per-processor (pricing) is going to be more fair because people will pay for what they are using,” said Molina. “It is going to save a lot of overhead because many customers are overpaying because they have licenses to cover processors that are not really being utilized.”

The new KVM hypervisor virtualization capability is being previewed at HPE Discover this week and will be available as a beta program in the summer with the release scheduled first as part of HPE Private Cloud Business Edition in the second half of 2024.

The new HPE KVM hypervisor virtualization capability comes down to providing customers and partners with a “choice” in the virtualization market, said Russo.

“We have a new OEM agreement for those customers that want VMware from us,” she said. “It is all about choice. But we do believe that with our virtual machine technology that it will be a good play for the channel and a good play for our customers.”

Russo told CRN that HPE’s new KVM-based hypervisor is a response to partner and customer demand for a virtualization partner that is “consistent,” “trustworthy,” and that they can have a “relationship” with going forward. “We would never have done this if we were not being pushed by customers,” said Russo.

Neil Anderson, vice president of cloud infrastructure and AI for World Wide Technology, the $20 billion St. Louis-headquartered solution provider behemoth, said many customers are looking for an alternative to VMware in the wake of the changes that have come with the Broadcom acquisition.

In fact, he said, he recently did an analysis of the requests year to date for consulting help from WWT with the result being a tie for AI strategy engagements and VMware alternative engagements.

“There are just as many engagements with our customers around strategy for virtualization as AI,” he said. “It’s a huge frustration point…Customers are definitely actively looking for alternatives. It’s not easy, not at all. HPE going down this path is going to help customers.”

Ultimately, customers are looking for help in making the move off VMware from a trusted partner, said Anderson. “They are looking for help on the migration from very credible suppliers that want a relationship with them and are going to stand behind those products and work through the challenges with them,” he said. “Certainly HPE is one of those. They are trusted in the data center and have that tremendous customer focus just like we do. I certainly think that customers are going to take a serious look at it just because of that.”

Stan Wysocki, president of Houston-based Mark III Systems, one of HPE’s top partners, said he welcomed HPE’s entry into the virtualization market in the wake of Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware.

“I expected someone to come up with options to help people move away from VMware,” he said. “Customers feel like they are being held hostage. This is another valid option for customers to look at.”

Russo, for her part, said there is a big opportunity for partners to help customers rearchitect their virtualization path with the advent of GenAI and to help customers refresh their IT estate to make their VMs more efficient.

“That is a huge refresh opportunity for everybody,” she said. “You know when the price goes up for everything people look at it and they go, ‘How do I refresh? How do I consolidate my estate? How am I going to refresh?’ That’s a huge opportunity for partners if we work together.”