Nutanix And HPE Partners Ready To Take On Dell VMware In HCI

‘When a customer’s time is up for a refresh and new systems, Nutanix getting a lot of attention. The rapid pace of innovation really puts them in a class of own,’ says William Fulmer, chief operating officer at Helient Systems.

Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey and Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Phil Davis embraced on stage at the Nutanix .NEXT conference this week as their highly popular new hyper-converged partnership is about to take off.

“The partnership is really about not being locked-in to a single stack – whether it’s public cloud or our competition – but it’s really about offering customers and partners choice,” said Davis, president of Hybrid IT and Chief Sales Officer for HPE, on stage in front of more than 6,000 Nutanix customers and partners. “For customers that are thrilled and excited and want to move forward with Nutanix, you can now consume that and buy that based on the industry’s most reliable, most manageable, most secure server – the HPE ProLiant and Apollo server lines.”

Nutanix and HPE are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in terms of hyper-converged infrastructure market share, trailing Dell EMC and VMware, who are both part of Dell Technologies.

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Last month, Nutanix and HPE announced a blockbuster HCI partnership that integrates Nutanix’s flagship Enterprise Cloud OS software on HPE’s GreenLake’s consumption-based pay-per-use offering. Additionally, the two vendors have created a new joint HCI appliance series, DX Appliances, built with HPE servers and factory-installed Nutanix software. All of the offerings will become available in the third quarter of 2019.

[Related: Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey’s 5 Boldest Remarks At Nutanix .NEXT]

Jack Margossian, president and CEO of Comport Consulting, a longtime HPE Platinum partner who recently partnered with Nutanix, said the new partnership “has legs” and provides his company with a new solutions toolbelt to take on VMware.

“Nutanix is about even with VMware in market share. That’s one of the reasons why we were interested [in Nutanix]. We were looking for a way to deal with that,” said Margossian in an interview with CRN at .NEXT. “We’ve never really made money on VMware licenses, especially in the large customers. It’s been a channel problem, especially if you don’t do a lot with them. If we bought anything from VMware, it always came from HPE. This now gives us the ability to build something without having to have all that baggage and possibly gives us the opportunity to sell licenses ourselves to do that. … There’s opportunity here to take an advantage.”

Margossian spent months investing on getting his company trained and skilled on Nutanix. Ramsey, N.J.-based Comport, who made CRN’s Tech Elite 250, started selling the Nutanix portfolio just a few months ago.

“We started with Nutanix because we thought we were losing business in the hyper-converged space and we needed to find a way to solve that. … We needed something more,” he said. “This is a merger of two industry leaders in what they do. HPE is a great server platform and combining that with Nutanix software-defined to get the application on top of the HPE platforms – that puts us with two great products that we can go to market with and offer the customer a new option.”

Nutanix ranked No. 1 in Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure report, with a slim lead over Dell EMC. Partners said the HCI innovation engine at Nutanix is the company’s biggest advantage against Dell Technologies.

“We’re all in with Nutanix,” said William Fulmer, chief operating officer at Helient Systems, a Philadelphia-based Nutanix, Dell and HPE partner. “It is the HCI solution that we’ve most closely aligned ourselves with. There’s really not much else in the HCI space that we are comfortable in for a lot of the deployments that require tier-one workloads in mission critical and business-critical applications.”

Fulmer said San Jose, Calif.-based Nutanix evolved over the years from solely a storage disrupter, to a hypervisor player, a hyper-converged pioneer, and then jumping into the end user computing (EUC) space with differentiated technology.

“When a customer’s time is up for a refresh and new systems, Nutanix getting a lot of attention. The rapid pace of innovation really puts them in a class of own,” said Fulmer. “They’re constantly introducing features all through software -- performance enhancements, storage efficiency, reductions in latencies. Customers that bought Nutanix five years ago, they’ve got the same gear running today and it’s running better and more efficiency than when they first put it in. New customers see what their peers are doing and the rest of the industry, and a lot of the tides are turning. … HPE throwing their hat in their ring says a lot about HPE’s investment in Nutanix.”

Nutanix’s innovation engine was on full display at Nutanix .NEXT this week in Anaheim, Calif. The company entered the secondary storage market with the launch of Nutanix Mine while also releasing a slew of new features and enhancements to Xi Frame, Xi Leap and Xi Beam.

Nutanix has a market cap of approximately $6.6 billion with shares currently trading at $36.50 shares as of Thursday afternoon.

HPE and Nutanix say they are investing in enhanced resources to enable partners to ramp up the new solutions quickly and held several sessions at .NEXT around training, enablement and engagement.

“It really comes down to going out and winning jointly in the marketplace,” said HPE’s Davis.