Why Nutanix’s Cisco HCI, Hybrid Cloud Partnership Is Huge: CEO
‘We have 25,000 customers. Cisco has hundreds of thousands of customers. So there are just so many customers that we don’t have that we could go get and accelerate our reach just thanks to Cisco’s presence,’ says Nutanix CEO Rajiv Ramaswami.
Nutanix CEO Rajiv Ramaswami said his company’s new partnership with the world’s leading networking company is a game-changer for the hyperconverged infrastructure and hybrid cloud markets as Cisco plans to transition its HyperFlex customers over to Nutanix.
“We all know this: Cisco has a ton of loyal customers out there that would like to buy everything from Cisco. And now U.S. partners can fulfill that,” said Ramaswami in a Q&A session with CRN at the 2023 XChange Best of Breed conference this week, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.
“Partners have a fully integrated portfolio—not only can you sell networking, security and UCS for Cisco when you sell this—this is their ticket to the hybrid cloud,” he said. “It’s a ticket to running on AWS and Azure. So there’s a lot of potential here to be tapped into.”
The Nutanix CEO said there are endless possibilities for capturing more market share around hybrid cloud and HCI, especially against rival VMware, thanks to Cisco’s massive global footprint of loyal customers.
“The hypervisor footprint we have is second to only VMware,” said Ramaswami. “We have 25,000 customers. Cisco has hundreds of thousands of customers. So there are just so many customers that we don’t have that we could go get and accelerate our reach just thanks to Cisco’s presence.”
CEO On Cisco HyperFlex End-Of-Life
In September, Cisco issued end-of-life and end-of-sale dates for its HyperFlex hyperconverged portfolio as the networking powerhouse said it would lean on its new partnership with Nutanix.
Ramaswami said Cisco prefers to be either No. 1 or No. 2 in whatever market it is in. However, HyperFlex didn’t make into the top two market positions in a competitive market that includes Dell Technologies, VMware, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Nutanix.
“I have to commend Cisco for finally making that bold decision [to end-of-life HyperFlex]. It’s not an easy decision to make to stop your product and partner with somebody else,” said Ramaswami.
Launched in 2016, HyperFlex combined Cisco UCS compute and networking technology with its own HCI software and storage nodes as an integrated package. The new joint offering, Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix, integrates Cisco’s SaaS-managed compute and networking infrastructure with Nutanix’s flagship Cloud Platform.
“I commend them on their partnering mindset. We have just seen phenomenal engagement from Cisco sellers over the last several weeks,” said Ramaswami. “The offering is now GA as of last week. We have seen a huge incoming set of opportunities starting to happen out in the field between Cisco sellers and Nutanix sellers.”
Cisco And Nutanix Partners Weigh-In
Manak Ahluwalia, president and CEO of Aqueduct Technologies, said Nutanix has a “tremendous technology stack” that can provide hypervisor-agnostic solutions, while also extending its capabilities to the public cloud.
“To take what we consider to be some of the best-of-breed compute stacks in the marketplace, and now add the best-of-breed hyperconverged software stack on top—it’s an exciting opportunity for us,” said Ahluwalia, whose company partners with Cisco and Nutanix.
“So for our current HyperFlex customer base, we’re working with them on understanding the features and benefits that they would get from including the Nutanix stack on that,” he said. “There’s a lot more willingness on the Cisco front now to truly partner with a best-of-breed [company] in that space like Nutanix, as opposed to trying to make HyperFlex a one-size-fits-all.”
The Cisco Gold partner is currently having conversations with customers about the Nutanix and Cisco partnership, with big Nutanix investment plans ahead.
“We see Nutanix as a growth and investment area in 2024,” said John Teltsch, CRO at Converged Technology Solutions. “Nutanix is one of those partners we see from a revenue, margin and go-to-market that there’s a lot more we can do jointly.”
New HyperFlex Partner Incentives On The Way
Ramaswami said he will make sure Nutanix and Cisco partners will make rich margins for selling the new joint HCI offering, including new promotions on driving HyperFlex sales.
“We are working on channel programs for HyperFlex in terms of promotions that will last for some period of time that partners can make use of,” he said.
He reiterated that Nutanix and Cisco partners can still reap the benefits of Cisco’s channel incentives and partner programs.
“U.S. channel partners get the benefit of all the Cisco channel programs that you’re used to. … Cisco is good at making sure you make money in the channel,” said Ramaswami. “We also continue to provide more margin for when you register deals with us and when you have new logos for us.”
Cisco’s A ‘Phenomenal’ Go-To-Market ‘Machine’
Nutanix is projecting to grow from a $2 billion annual recurring revenue company into a $3 billion ARR company by fiscal year 2027.
Cisco will play a major part in boosting the company’s revenue over the next few years thanks to the new partnership, according to Ramaswami.
“For us, Cisco is this phenomenal enterprise go-to-market machine. It’s just net incremental business for us that we’re looking to drive through this and we are very happy with how this is starting to shape,” said Ramaswami.
Overall, Ramaswami said the Cisco partnership is “a significant win” for everyone. “It’s a win for customers. It’s a win for partners. It’s a win for Cisco. And it’s a win for Nutanix,” he said.