Broadcom is acquiring VMware for $61 billion

Broadcom is acquiring VMware in a $61 billion cash-and-stock deal. It’s one of the biggest tech acquisitions ever, behind Dell’s $67 billion EMC deal and Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Broadcom is known for its chip business, designing and manufacturing semiconductors for modems, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth chips across multiple devices.

This giant acquisition for VMware is designed to boost Broadcom’s software business. VMware, which was owned by Dell until it was spun off last year, focuses on cloud computing and virtualization technology. If you’ve used a virtual machine at work over the past decade, the chances are it was powered by VMware or its competitor Citrix. Devices from Apple, Google, and more use Broadcom chips, and it’s likely that the devices you’ve used Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on were probably powered by Broadcom chips at some part of the networking chain.

A Broadcom networking chip.
Image: Broadcom

The combination of VMware and Broadcom could be a powerful one, focused on enterprise infrastructure and cloud computing. Broadcom previously acquired CA Technologies, makers of security and database software, for $18.9 billion in 2018, and it even acquired Symantec’s enterprise security unit for $10.7 billion in 2019. Less than 12 months later, it sold the Symantec business to Accenture for an undisclosed sum.

Broadcom is now planning to rebrand its Broadcom Software Group to VMware and incorporate its existing infrastructure and security software offerings as part of VMware. “Combining our assets and talented team with Broadcom’s existing enterprise software portfolio, all housed under the VMware brand, creates a remarkable enterprise software player,” says Raghu Raghuram, CEO of VMware.

The deal, which is expected to close in Broadcom’s fiscal year 2023, has the backing of Michael Dell who together with Silver Lake owns around 50 percent of VMware. If the deal closes, it will be one of the largest tech deals of all time. Broadcom previously failed to buy rival chipmaker Qualcomm for more than $100 billion after the Trump administration blocked the deal, citing national security concerns.

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Meta is acquiring the maker of VR workout app ‘Supernatural’

Facebook made it pretty clear that it’s focusing on the metaverse when it rebranded itself as Meta, and its latest acquisition is part of that effort. Jason Rubin, the company’s VP of Metaverse Content has revealed that Meta is acquiring Within, the creator of immersive virtual reality workout app Supernatural for Oculus Quest headsets. A rep for Within previously described Supernatural to Engadget as “part Beat Saber, part Dance Dance Revolution, part Guitar Hero with your whole body.

In a separate announcement (via TechCrunch), Within CEO Chris Milk and Head of fitness Leanne Pedante said that its coaches, choreographers and managers will continue being part of the team. They’ll work on VR fitness experiences for Supernatural independently under Meta’s Reality Labs. While Within will have to answer to its new parent company going forward, Milk’s and Pedante’s statement says the the acquisition will give them access to more resources, including more music, more features and more social experiences.

In Supernatural, you’ll have to hit colored orbs flying at you from its various VR environments using your controllers. The balls will shatter if you hit them with enough force, but they’ll only float away if you don’t — you’ll get scored at the end based on how you do. Supernatural has a 30-day free trial period, after which it’ll cost you $19 a month for continued access. 

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IBM is acquiring Turbonomic to advance AIOps agenda

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IBM announced this week that it is acquiring Turbonomic, provider of application resource management (ARM) and network performance management (NPM) software infused with machine learning algorithms. Terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close this quarter, were not disclosed.

The two companies have a long-standing relationship under which IBM has been reselling Turbonomic’s ARM platform. Cisco also resells tools developed by the company. Turbonomic, which is privately held, claims revenues were up 41% for fiscal 2021 and counts Avon, HauteLook, and Litehouse Foods among its customers.

Applications and systems management

The decision to acquire Turbonomic comes after IBM began revamping its application and systems management portfolio last fall. This push began in earnest with the acquisition of Instana, provider of an application performance management (APM) platform for monitoring and observing applications.

IBM now plans to further integrate the ARM software Turbonomic developed with the APM software from Instana and an IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps platform that employs machine learning algorithms to identify anomalies in real time.

“Turbonomic provides actionable observability,” IBM Automation GM Dinesh Nirmal told VentureBeat in an interview.

IBM is further extending its IT management portfolio via the recent acquisition of WDG Automation, provider of a robotic process automation (RPA) platform, and MyInvenio, which offers process mining tools, he noted.

As IT environments become more complex, Nirmal said it won’t be feasible to manage these environments without augmenting IT staff with capabilities enabled by AI platforms. It’s not likely AI platforms will replace the need for human IT administrators, but the job functions themselves will continue to evolve as lower-level manual tasks become automated, Nirmal added.

IT challenges

Now that companies are becoming more cognizant of the scope of IT management challenges, IT teams are increasingly embracing AI platforms. Organizations are now deploying a new generation of microservices-based applications that are more difficult to manage than the existing monolithic legacy applications, which are not likely to be retired anytime soon, Nirmal said. Those applications make use of cloud-native technologies such as containers, Kubernetes, and serverless computing frameworks that all need to be managed alongside virtual machines. At the same time, the IT environment has become more distributed than ever, thanks to the rise of both cloud and edge computing platforms.

The only way to contain the total cost of managing that extended enterprise is to rely more on automation enabled by AIOps platforms, Nirmal said.

IT teams need to come to terms with the fact that it takes time for machine learning algorithms to learn IT environments that are unique and subject to change. Implementing AI requires patience, Nirmal said, adding, “IT teams need to accept that AI comes with an upfront cost.”

But the return on investment in AIOps becomes apparent as rote tasks are eliminated and more potential issues are addressed before they impact an application, Nirmal noted. IT teams, for example, will be able to predict the impact new code is likely to have on the overall IT environment before it’s deployed.

IBM’s investments in AIOps are a natural extension of the capabilities IBM has developed to automate a wide range of business processes using AI technologies, Nirmal added. IT leaders can’t make a credible case for applying AI to automate business processes if the IT team isn’t using the same technologies to automate IT operations, he noted.

At this juncture, AI is about to become a mainstream component of IT operations. The issue now is determining to what degree. In some cases, AI capabilities will be slipstreamed into existing platforms, while in others, IT teams will decide to move to a new platform. Either way, machine learning algorithms will be present in one form or another.


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