IPO-Bound Nutanix Casts Wider Net For Customers With New Xpress Hyper-Convergence Appliance

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Hyper-convergence startup Nutanix on Tuesday unveiled an appliance with scaled-down functionality intended for small and medium-size organizations in a bid to lure new customers ahead of its planned initial public offering.

The appliance, called Nutanix Xpress, comes with a simplified version of the startup's hyper-convergence software that doesn't include complex enterprise features. Nutanix has set up dedicated teams to engineer, sell and market Xpress, Howard Ting, chief marketing officer at Nutanix, told CRN in an interview.

Hyper-convergence, which refers to the combination of compute, storage, networking and virtualization running on x86 hardware, is a hot space at the moment. Nutanix and SimpliVity have raised nearly $600 million in funding between them, but Cisco Systems and Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently launched competing offerings.

[Related: Nutanix Appears To Once Again Be Headed For IPO After Updated SEC Filing]

Nutanix Xpress will be priced as low as $25,000 for a three-node configuration with three years of support when it hits the market in July. "In this landscape, that's a very aggressive price point," Ting told CRN.

Nutanix doesn't publish product pricing, but as a point of comparison, its popular midrange Nutanix NX-3460 appliance had a list price of $201,501 for hardware, software and three years of support as of last summer.

Cisco's entry to the market, called HyperFlex, starts at $59,000 for a three-node cluster including one year of 24x7x4 on-site support. SimpliVity's entry-level OmniStack Solution with Cisco Unified Communication System (UCS) servers, including three years of business-critical support, costs less than $20,000. HPE hasn't yet shared pricing for its ProLiant Easy Connect EC200a appliance. 

Nutanix has OEM agreements with Dell and Lenovo, with which the startup works to jointly sell and market hyper-convergence products. But as of now, only Lenovo has agreed to sell Nutanix Xpress, although conversations with Dell are under way, said Ting.

A Dell spokesman told CRN the company is "in discussions with Nutanix on Xpress" but declined further comment.

Ting acknowledged that Xpress is in some ways a response to mounting competition, but insisted Nutanix has been planning to roll out an SMB-focused offering for quite some time now.

"This is not all driven from the competitive environment. We always felt we were building a premium product, and this was always in our game plan," Ting said.

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