Nutanix Hires Former Citrix Exec To Unify Product Management, Engineering

Nutanix's Sunil Potti

Hyper-converged infrastructure leader Nutanix has hired a former Citrix Systems executive in a move to unify its product management and product engineering teams in preparation for the next phase of its growth.

Sunil Potti was this month brought on as Nutanix's senior vice president of engineering and product management. Potti for the prior five years led Citrix's NetScaler application delivery controller business.

"NetScaler is the hidden jewel in the Citrix product line," Potti told CRN. "That business grew five times in the last four and a half years."

[Related: Hyper-Converged Infrastructure: So Many New Solutions Coming]

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Citrix, meanwhile, is also developing a hyper-converged infrastructure strategy. The company this month acquired longtime storage partner Sanbolic and plans to use that company's storage technology as part of a hyper-converged infrastructure play to combat VMware's EVO: Rail.

Potti said he comes to Nutanix at a time when it is ready to grow on the success it has enjoyed over the past few years.

"We know what we need to do in the next few years to make headway," he said. "Now we're scaling the organization to move to the enterprise customer level. We're trying to blend product strategy tightly to move hand-in-hand with product life-cycle engineering."

That required Nutanix to create the new position of senior vice president of engineering and product management, Potti said. "This is a new role created to bring the product management side together with product engineering," he said. "Before, they were silos. Now both sides report to me."

That will be important as Nutanix moves beyond the consolidation of compute, storage and networking offered by hyper-converged infrastructure, Potti said.

"We've done a good job of consolidating compute and storage," he said. "We're starting to look at what companies like Amazon and Google have in their infrastructure building blocks. Why can't we wrap the software around our blocks like Amazon and Google do for management. Part of my role is to scale up operations in 'Act One' of the company while getting things ready to scale out to 'Act Two.' "

The move to bring on Potti to manage Nutanix's product management and product engineering makes sense, said Jeff Guenthner, director for solutions architecture at CMI, a Mill Valley, Calif.-based solution provider and Nutanix partner.

Guenthner, who responded via email to CRN, wrote that he is personally not familiar with Potti.

"But this sounds like a wise hire that will position them for the next phase of growth in 2015 and beyond," he wrote. "Take this as a sign of a company that is maturing as it grows rapidly. Fifty-two percent market share is impressive. We have a partnership with Nutanix that is second to none."

Potti is not the lone former Citrix NetScaler executive at Nutanix. The company has over the past two years hired Citrix NetScaler's head engineer and a NetScaler marketing executive, he said.

Nutanix two years ago also hired Steve Kaplan, formerly Citrix's top solution provider, to develop the company's channel program.