Broadcom shuts off free version of VMware's ESXi hypervisor

(Image credit: Ferran Rodenas / Flickr)

In the latest development following Broadcom’s November 2023 acquisition of VMware, the company has decided to kill off the free version of VMware’s ESXi hypervisor.

A knowledge base article posted by the company outlined the move, which comes alongside the termination of perpetual licensing, marking the Free ESXi Hypervisor as End Of General Availability (EOGA).

The announcement reads: “VMware vSphere Hypervisor (free edition) is no longer available on the VMware website,” confirming that ESXi 7.x and 8.x are affected.

Broadcom terminates another VMware service

The free version of ESXi was limited in its capabilities, only able to run on a restricted number of cores and memory, and lacking some advanced management features, but it was a great option for hobbyists and testers.

Despite the discontinuation of the free version, users can still access the hypervisor through VMware User Group ‘advantage’ licensing.

Broadcom confirmed that the company has no immediate plans to replace the free version of its VMware ESXi hypervisor: “Regrettably, there is currently no substitute product offered.”

The news comes as Broadcom adds to its growing list of discontinued services, illustrated in a table on one of the company’s blog posts. Of the 59 products that are no longer available as standalone options, only 32 (or 54%) have had a replacement or add-on product to pick up where the discontinued service left off.

The decision also swiftly follows Broadcom setting a minimum requirement of 3,500 cores running VMware Cloud Foundation for inclusion in its cloud partner program. Other changes implemented by the company since its VMware takeover include the termination of perpetual licenses (in favor of subscriptions).

All of this reflects the company’s aims to boost VMware’s products considerably, however its drastic changes have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many customers, not to mention the fact that the industry continued to watch on as Broadcom shakes up VMware’s portfolio, leading some customers to seek alternative solutions.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!