Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Blockbuster: Dell To OEM Nutanix Software

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Having Dell out there pushing the technology will raise awareness," he said. "But if it's a Dell shop, and the customer asks about Nutanix, the sale will not go to the Nutanix partner. It will go to the Dell partner. It will not go to a boutique VAR like ours which focus on selling new technology."

Whenever two entities come to market with partners, there will be issues, said Davenport's Clifford.

"That's just the way it is," he said. "I'm confident that Dell's approach will help. Dell has worked hard to resolve channel issues. Does that mean no bumps out there? No. There may be a case where Dell and Nutanix both talk to customers about the solution. I'm sure there will be some cases. But Dell's approach has been to deal with these issues. Dell has been good to its word."

Tanenhaus said he expects the Dell-Nutanix solution to conflict at some level with the Dell DS (Desktop Virtualization Solution) reference architecture for virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI for short.

"DS is packaged with Citrix VDI or VMware View for VDI," he said. "This is a sweet spot for Nutanix. Whether the Nutanix relationship will impact DS sales is a good question. For customers who already use DS or the Dell Gale automation infrastructure, maybe not. But for customers with certain workloads, they will have a choice."

Steve Kaplan, vice president of channels and strategic sales at Nutanix, said the Dell-Nutanix relationship was designed to minimize channel conflicts.

Dell, as one of Nutanix's many reseller partners, will not get a price that would allow it to sell the appliances for less than what other Nutanix partners pay, Kaplan told CRN. "And Dell will have to register every deal for both Dell-branded and Nutanix-branded sales," he said. "Just like any partner."

Greg Smith, senior director of product marketing for Nutanix, told CRN that Dell approached Nutanix about such a relationship, and that Nutanix insisted on very stringent rules to ensure parity between the two companies' channels.

"We didn't want to set Dell up as a competing partner," he said. "If a deal is registered by another partner, Dell will not be able to register it."

Kaplan declined to state whether Nutanix might offer an OEM agreement to other vendors, but did say that the Dell-Nutanix relationship was not an exclusive one. "But both companies are committed to this partnership," he said.

NEXT: Dell Takes Multiple Approaches To The Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Market

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