Nutanix’s Goffi: ‘We’re Not Just Partner-First, We Are Partner-Only'

Nutanix Vice President of Americas Channel Sales Christian Goffi says the company has seen more opportunities as a result of Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware and touts the partner program advantages he says Nutanix offers.

Even Yoda—at least an artificial intelligence version of him—has something to say about the changes at VMware.

As part of a presentation to a room of solution providers Tuesday, Christian Goffi, vice president of Americas channel sales at VMware infrastructure rival Nutanix, showed a response from generative AI tool ChatGPT in the voice of the popular “Star Wars” character to the query, “Why are customers so upset at Broadcom?”

“Good customer service, they do not,” was part of ChatGPT’s written reply, emulating Yoda’s speaking style. “Perpetual licensing, they do not. Subscription pricing, they raised. Product lines, they drop. Go direct, they do.”

[RELATED: Nutanix CEO Says Partner Opportunity For GenAI Lies On-Prem, Edge]

Nutanix Exec On VMware, Broadcom

CRN has reached out to Broadcom for comment.

Goffi told the audience—gathered in Orlando, Fla., for XChange 2024, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company—that Nutanix has seen more opportunities as a result of VMware’s November acquisition by chipmaker Broadcom and changes to how VMware works with partners. And he made the case for his vendor’s partner program.

“VMware—great company, great products, great people,” Goffi said. “Broadcom, probably the same thing. They are both phenomenal at what they do. But they’re very different companies, right? You could argue Broadcom is not really a technology company, right? But they are a company that is very good at bringing shareholders value. … We’re not just partner-first, we are partner-only.”

Ron Zapar, founder and CEO of Naperville, Ill.-based Re-Quest—a member of CRN’s 2024 MSP 500—told CRN that he is not a Nutanix partner but came to the talk to learn more about what the vendor can do for his customers with VMware products in place.

He said he will investigate how easily Nutanix enables the movement of the cloud workloads he encounters. A lot of his customers are comfortable with VMware and don’t want to leave, Zapar said, but he wants to be ready should better tools and offerings come up.

“VMware is pretty much 100 percent of our on-prem clients in some way, shape or form,” Zapar said. “Our reference architecture, generally—put the database on bare metal. But applications? Every one of our customers has some level of virtualization at that layer. … We’ve become trusted advisers to our customers. We see a lot of things outside of their four walls they generally don’t.”

Partners don’t have to worry about Nutanix taking the biggest clients direct, Goffi said.

“For those of you that are resellers, you got to experience the fact that your contract was eliminated,” he said. “I mean, rightfully so. They went from one company to another. So VMware no longer exists. That partner contract is now done. Then there was the period of waiting two to three weeks to see who was invited back. … And then when you did get invited back, it was for other very different circumstances and rebates and conditions, and especially in the service provider world.”

Goffi said that disruption from a rival vendor isn’t solely what is fueling interest in Nutanix. The vendor’s investment in AI—including a GPT-in-a-Box offering—is positioning its infrastructure offerings as supportive of AI workloads.

“AI is just a workload,” Goffi said. “Could a customer run AI right now with infrastructure they already have? Yeah. It’s just not going to perform well. Right? So that’s why they need your help.”

The rate of cloud repatriation and listings in the marketplaces of cloud giants including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are other positive steps Nutanix has taken.

Nutanix partners also have an opportunity in working with customers around the end of life for Cisco HyperFlex.

“We’re much more than just private data center stuff,” Goffi said. “We are the player for hybrid, multi-cloud management.”