Data center News

Nutanix Exec: Cisco, HPE, VMware Can't Provide AWS-Like Experience For Hyper-Converged Market

Michael Novinson

One of Nutanix's top executives said Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and VMware cannot provide a best-in-class experience for their hyper-converged products since they don't own the entire software stack.

"Everybody and their dog is in this space right now," said Sunil Potti, Nutanix's chief product and development officer. "But unless you are owning most of the stack, you can't provide that full experience with a single click."

Potti told attendees of the Raymond James Technology Investors Conference on Monday that up until 18 months ago, much of the market felt that hyper-converged infrastructure – which combines compute, storage, networking and virtualization on server hardware - could be a good product, but questioned whether it would support all use cases.

[RELATED: Major Nutanix Software Update Expands Hyper-Converged Infrastructure With New SDN, Security Capabilities]

But as end users became more adamant about having hyper-converged architectures deployed for their new workloads, Potti said the space has gone from being the exclusive domain of smaller IT vendors to attracting some of the biggest names in IT.

And while Potti said the big guys bring a lot of go-to-market muscle to the table, some of them don't seem to grasp the importance of providing totally seamless functionality.

"Some of them are very formidable, but some of them are also sleeping giants because they are growing old," Potti said at the conference at the Westin New York Grand Central. "You can't just take a Nokia phone, slap on Windows and say 'I won the smartphone war.' There's a reason why those things didn't work."

Potti pointed to the example of Cisco's hyper-converged offering, which he said competes with VMware's products, but is also dependent on VMware to properly function.

"None of them have their own virtualization experience," Potti said. "When you go to Amazon, you don't go buy VMWare for Amazon. It's built in."

A Cisco spokesman said its customers prefer having a hyperconverged product that integrates with existing converged infrastructure and traditional storage rather than having to create another infrastructure silo. More than 600 organizations have adopted Cisco's HyperFlex since it was launched a few months ago, the spokesman said.

Paul Miller, VP of marketing for HPE's converged data center infrastructure group, said HPE's new hyperconverged offering is as easy as public cloud, allowing users adjust VMs from their cell phones with just a few clicks. And unlike the hyperconverged-only vendors, Miller said HPE's hyperconverged offering won't become and IT island since it can be managed across a large footprint of infrastructure.

VMware did not respond to a request for comment.

Potti said Nutanix, in contrast, evolved beyond simply being a storage technology company four years ago when it started building its own hypervisor and virtualization tools. As a result, Potti said, Nutanix has completely re-imagined how the software stack is built from the ground up.

"Nutanix is a platform player," Potti said. "It's not a product player … If you don't provide the full stack, you can't provide that Amazon-like experience."

Nutanix's prime objective is providing an AWS-like experience in the data center, Potti said, and the company isn't trying to replicate the hyper-converged offerings Cisco and VMware are bringing to market.

The rising adoption of AWS and other public cloud services over the past five or six years has been tremendously helpful for Nutanix since many end users have already worked through departmental feuds and have grown accustomed to consuming a one-click service across the entire company, Potti said.

"It has emotionally built a cognitive bias toward an architecture like this," Potti said. "We are looking to provide an Amazon-like experience for the global enterprise."

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