Nutanix 'Moving The Needle' For Partners With First-Ever Software Rebates On New XC Core Hyper-Converged Solution


Nutanix said it is "serious" about revamping its partner strategy and is unleashing software rebates for Dell EMC's new hyper-converged infrastructure XC Core platform.

"This isn't a light-hearted announcement. This isn't fluffy. This moves the needle," said Rodney Foreman, Nutanix's new channel chief, in an interview with CRN. "We're making a strong statement to the partners in the market that we're serious. We want to grow our market share with partners and want to reward them for their growth and investment in us."

The San Jose, Calif. hyper-converged technology pioneer is offering software rebates as well as a net new customer incentive to partners who sell Dell EMC's new XC Core hyper-converged solution, which is part of the Nutanix and Dell Technologies popular XC Series.

[Related: Nutanix CEO On Potential Dell-VMware Merger, Reducing Channel Conflict, And Helping Partners Elevate Their Services]

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The new XC Core, unveiled on Tuesday, uses the same Dell EMC hardware and software as the XC Series appliances, but the software is licensed and supported directly by Nutanix. The solution lets customers buy Nutanix software licenses from partners and then add the licenses to pre-validated XC Core systems that are configured, built and tested by Dell.

Nutanix is offering a three-tiered software rebate based on the size of the XC Core system sold. Partners will receive either $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000 rebates per node when they sell Nutanix software depending on the size of the XC Core.

"These rebates are just the start of what we're going to work on to transform and mature our channel business and grow with our partners as we evolve as transform to more of a software company," said Foreman.

Nutanix is also launching a net new customer rebate where partners can earn up to an additional 5 percent of the software deal when they onboard a new client that hasn't purchased Nutanix in the past. Foreman said the rebate is attacking the "white space" through both Nutanix and Dell partners.

The third rebate Nutanix is unveiling is for the top six partners in each of its main regions: the Americas, Asia-Pacific (APJ) and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Nutanix is giving these 18 partners an additional 2 percent of total software sales if they achieve specific growth goals on a quarterly basis.

"So for each top partner, we're setting a goal to grow off of their current growth rate," said Foreman. "The goal is quarterly growth on top of their run rate. That's 2 percent of their total software sales. You can stack the new customer rebate and this top partner rebate. That's significant. That really shows that we're really making an investment and focused on making our partners successful in the market."

Rob Steele, practice manager for RoundTower Technologies, a Cincinnati-based solution provider and Dell EMC partner, said the hiring of Foreman is revamping Nutanix's channel strategy.

"It's great getting a guy like Rodney in where he's coming in, kicking down the doors and putting the partners first," said Steele. "The rebates are going to get them some extra traction. It helps partners like us take those rebate dollars and reinvest to getting more technical talent to help deploy the [XC Series]."

Steele said the new XC Core is a win-win for both Dell and Nutanix as the hyper-converged market begins to truly "blossom" in 2018. Nutanix, Dell EMC, and VMware were all named leaders in Gartner's first-ever Magic Quadrant For Hyper-Converged Infrastructure report.

The rebate news comes after Nutanix reported solid second fiscal quarter earnings on March 1. The company has now achieved a $1 billion annualized software and services run rate as Nutanix shifts to becoming a software-only vendor.

"As it unties itself from the hardware, Nutanix can become the ultimate software company," said Steele.