Nutanix CCO: VMware ‘Makes Us Better, Not Bitter;’ HPE Partnership Hits ‘Warp Speed’

Nutanix Chief Commercial Officer Tarkan Maner talks to CRN about competition with VMware and how Nutanix will eventually offer all of its emerging products on HPE GreenLake.

Tarkan Maner On VMware Competition And Nutanix’s HPE Partnership Hitting ‘Warp Speed’

Nutanix’s chief commercial officer, Tarkan Maner, is bullish about his company’s future thanks to its innovation road map and growing strategic partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise aimed at giving customers more hybrid cloud choice over competitors like VMware.

“What is very important is our flexibility and choice,” said Maner, who leads Nutanix’s global business development and corporate development efforts as well as strategic partnerships, in an interview with CRN. “We are hypervisor-agnostic. We have our own hypervisor with AHV, but we still support [VMware] ESXi as well as [Microsoft] Hyper-V. So customers and channel partners have multiple choices.”

The San Jose, Calif.-based hyperconverged and hybrid cloud software star unveiled a new Database-as-a-Service offering alongside HPE GreenLake’s consumption-based as-a-service offering this week. Furthermore, Maner told CRN that all of Nutanix’s emerging products on HPE hardware will eventually become available on HPE GreenLake.

“Every single emerging product is going to be available [on HPE GreenLake] as we move forward—that’s the plan,” said Maner.

Nutanix’s Maner talks to CRN about his company’s growing partnership with HPE, competition with VMware and the channel partner opportunities around Nutanix’s new Database-as-a-Service offering.

How is your HPE partnership helping Nutanix in terms of market competition against VMware?

First of all, competition makes us better, not bitter. It’s good for customers and it’s good for channel partners. We also partner in some ways with VMware.

What is very important is our flexibility and choice. We are hypervisor-agnostic. We have our own hypervisor with AHV, but we still support ESXi as well as Hyper-V. So customers and channel partners have multiple choices. For example, our new announcement with Era is a multi-database offering.

This world is changing super-fast with legacy applications and cloud-native applications with cloud services, micro-services for the next era, etc. In that context, customers are now deploying various databases to manage those mission-critical applications and develop new applications—from Oracle to SQL Server on one side, to PostGresSQL, MariaDB, MongoDB and SAP HANA on the other side. So this offering now not only gives you choice in the hypervisor as a platform, but also for the developers, which is key.

Why is giving developers choice another market differentiator for Nutanix?

Because when developers come in and start developing, and database administrators are building applications and optimizing those—more people will come in. So this creates opportunity for our channel, tons of opportunity for our customers, and tons of opportunity for our developers to build more applications on our hybrid, multi-cloud platform here combined with HPE through this partnership.

That multi-database capability is hugely important. We partner with Oracle. We partner with SQL Server and Microsoft. We partner with open-source communities. There are huge emerging open-source communities for databases with PostGresQL—the numbers are increasing at a rate you’ve never seen before with all these new digitization businesses.

So this now provides a hybrid, multi-cloud platform in a consumption model and gives choice to all those users on the Nutanix and HPE platform here as a service. From a competitive landscape perspective, we’re just giving choice to the users. That’s a big benefit here as we move forward into the next fiscal year. … The HPE partnership is great for so many reasons. We have a truly multi-channel, multi-cloud vision and give customers a choice. This partnership is uniquely the proof point for that around choice, flexibility in a multi-cloud fashion.

Do you expect to have more of Nutanix’s emerging products like Era on HPE hardware sold via HPE GreenLake? Is this trend going to continue?

Absolutely. Every single emerging product is going to be available as we move forward—that’s the plan. Our emerging products are like Lego pieces—they’re modular, but integrated. So it’s up to you how you want to play with them on top of our hybrid cloud platform. We have a horizonal platform where these emerging products sit—from data center, to DevOps, to end-user computing. So all those pieces on top of that platform are going to be available on HPE GreenLake, for sure.

So why should channel partners start selling this new Era Database as a Service with HPE ProLiant servers?

Cloud is not a destination, it’s an operating model. We want to make sure we give choice and flexibility to the customers. I’m not just saying these words to be cute about it. Literally with the HPE GreenLake offering, with this database management offering, you have something unique that did not exist in the market before. There are a lot of on-premises deployments of databases, some public cloud deployments on databases, but something like this—given its choice and flexibility—is unique. The channel, we believe, sees this as a big opportunity. This is one of our fastest-growing segments.

Through our Elevate Partner Program, we are giving a lot of different tools to the channel partners. We are all in on the channel because they’re a very key part of Nutanix go-to-market as well as for HPE. Overall, there’s a big focus on these emerging products. We categorize them in three categories: data centers, DevOps for developers, as well as end-user computing. Era is a shining star among these products around the application and mission-critical database management space. This space is moving heavily into a hybrid, multi-cloud delivery model.

Databases are key to new application development—both open source and non-open source. So this Platform as a Service now on GreenLake gives the channel choice, simplicity, flexibility and also a better cost performance in how you deliver it to customers both on-premises and off-premises.

Why is Nutanix’s partnership with HPE working so well?

Simplicity, choice and flexibility are key. We had other partnerships with other platform vendors in that context and in that spirit, but at the end of the day from a strategic perspective, this HPE partnership has been phenomenal for us.

This partnership isn’t new. We really got into the partnership, however, in the past 12 months in a bigger way. The HPE GreenLake piece is a big and new dimension for us. The original partnership was around ProLiant servers, the DX platform—which is very popular with our channel partners, customers, and has been growing almost double year over year—but now the GreenLake opportunity of delivering this as a consumption model, as a cloud service, creates an additional level of excitement and value for the customers and opportunities for the channel to do more. The GreenLake piece has been a new additional warp speed for the partnership.

Is there anything else that pushed this Nutanix-HPE partnership toward ‘warp speed’?

The partnership was already going well over the past 12-plus months, but also with Keith White [HPE’s senior vice president and general manager for HPE GreenLake] coming in, he brought in a tremendous amount of energy. He’s a great partner to us. The team is super energetic. We’re starting to win big accounts together and also we’re seeing great success in the midmarket. This solution now delivers additional value both for midmarket and global 200 accounts.

At the end of the day, application developers, DevOps folks, and applications and workloads basically drive value. As they drive more energy ,there’s going to be more Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service to be sold. This new announcement—database management, application management on GreenLake—delivers huge value to customers and through that, to the channel partners with all the elements in our Elevate program. I see a tremendous opportunity as we move forward with HPE in the database and application space.