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Sanjay Poonen on 'Copycat' Nutanix And VMware's Independent Status With Dell EMC

VMware COO Sanjay Poonen talks to CRN about VMware versus Nutanix, his competitive drive, and VMware's strategy to stay independent from Dell EMC.

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Talk about your recent Tweet accusing Nutanix of 'copycatting' VMware. How so?

I have tremendous respect for Dheeraj [Pandey, pictured]; he's a friend. Although I have a public presence and I Tweet, out of my 7,000 Tweets there's probably one or two that are punchy. I don’t hold back because to the VMware loyalist, who are 20,000 of us and our partners, they want to see somebody who's defending their turf. I have to do that and I'll do that occasionally. I'm not constantly belittling people; it's strictly business, it's not personal.

When Nutanix has gone down stack to try to build their own hypervisor, across stack to build their own networking, and now going up stack to compete against [VMware] Horizon—we view it as sort of a copycat, wannabe VMware move. But that's OK; they choose their strategy. We think the bulk of their customers have chosen compute and storage, and we're going to support those customers. I would say the vast majority of their 7,000 or 8,000 customers run on top of VMware vSphere, and those customers are going to be unequivocally supported. We're going to give them vSphere, make it best of breed, surround it with NSX, put Horizon on top of it—and I know who those customers are. But there's 15,000 others who have picked vSAN and there's 500,000 customers of vSphere, some of whom have never made a choice. So it's the first inning.

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