I'm exiting Broadcom - Staying with Salt Project forever

It seems like a long time ago, and feels like yesterday, all at the same time. In October of 2020, The pandemic was raging, businesses in every industry were scrambling to survive, and SaltStack was no different. Ultimately, SaltStack leadership, myself included, made a choice to be acquired by VMware. I had pushed hard for the acquisition of SaltStack, and felt that it would not only ensure the future of the open source Salt Project, but also the future of so many of the technologies I had helped create and develop.

One requirement of the VMware acquisition was that I would stay on board with the company for a specific period of time. If I am honest, I was not entirely thrilled with the idea of obligating myself to a new organization for several years, but I was a fan of VMware, and I viewed it as an opportunity. I’m so glad I did. VMware treated myself, and the entire SaltStack team like we were old friends. It was indeed an incredible opportunity and a wonderful experience.

We don’t do this in a professional setting anymore. Regardless, I want to emphasize one of my longstanding and firmest beliefs. I believe very strongly that there is a God who is a loving creator who does all things for our betterment and progression. While this can be a very difficult pill to swallow sometimes, I also feel that this is the fundamental nature of faith, that all difficulties in life are given to us so that we can grow and improve, in this life and in the life to come. For each of us, change is one of those difficulties, no matter how amazing the outcome may be.

As such, I strive to view every difficulty as an opportunity, and while I have not always been successful at this endeavor, I do feel that I have improved at it over time.

For those who have heard me talk about it before, it is this belief that helped keep me strong when I had cancer, then later when I had a brain tumor, which required me to learn how to walk and talk again.

One of my most core beliefs is this very thing. The greatest blessings in life are, quite literally, our greatest trials.

Friends, it’s with mixed emotions that I announce the time has come for me to say goodbye, and move on to the next chapter in my life.

VMware was acquired by Broadcom late last year, and now that this process is complete, it makes sense for me to exit Broadcom at this time. Despite my efforts I’ve been struggling to contribute in a way that I feel is rewarding for myself, my team and also Broadcom. Because of this, I have welcomed the opportunity to receive what had been promised to me from the acquisition of SaltStack and be able to leave Broadcom a few months early.

It’s no secret that Broadcom’s management of VMware has not always been viewed by some as a positive thing. Yes, Broadcom is very different culturally from what we knew at VMware. With that said, I do think that Broadcom has, for the most part, made excellent management decisions for VMware. During my brief time inside Broadcom I have become a great admirer of Broadcom’s CEO, Hock Tan. I feel that he has repeatedly done the right things in the management of VMware and pushed it forward in ways that will ensure the longevity and profitability of VMware products for years to come.

The leadership team in the Broadcom Tanzu division where Salt resides, has assured the teams repeatedly that Salt is critical to the future of VMware and Broadcom. Despite the fact that the Salt teams have been cut, along with many more teams in VMware, I believe that this sentiment is the truth. In the last 3 and a half years, Salt has become a critical component of VMware and Salt is driving many products inside VMware forward in a powerful way. I’m very proud of that.

I passionately feel that this is the strongest path to ensuring the long term sustainability of open source software, while at the same time making sure that it drives profitability. Where there is financial profit, there are resources to drive open source forward. This has been my goal for Salt for a very long time, and I feel that Salt is in good hands, I feel that Salt is in a position to continue to grow and thrive in the years to come.

I will continue to be involved in the Salt Project community and innovate with our amazing community members! I’ll also continue to host The Hacks podcast with my good friend Jimmy Chunga. I’ve thought about this moment for a long time. Over the last few years I have worked hard to ensure that Salt can thrive without me, and while I feel that Salt has come to that point, I will not simply vanish into the dark. I am still here, and I am still dedicated to pushing the Salt Project forward.

In my post at SaltStack/VMware/Broadcom life, I am excited to say that I will keep working and innovating. I have many new ideas, and I think that my newfound freedom will give me the opportunity to keep pushing forward to invent new things, push new ideas about datacenter infrastructure and automation and create new opportunities for the broader community.

I am here to push Salt Project forward! I believe in the newer technologies that the Saltstack team has developed that underpin so much of the SaltStack technology, like Plugin Oriented Programming.

Finally, I want to say thank you. Thank you to all of you, who worked so hard to make Salt what it is today. Thank you for years of laughs, late nights, freakouts, lessons learned, and priceless memories that we all get to keep with us-forever. Cheers to many more!

Tom Hatch is here to stay, and I plan to push forward in new ways!