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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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What's VMware's go-to-market strategy against Nutanix?

What we want to say to a customer who is a greenfield opportunity is, 'We're going to show you that vSAN or an engineered system like VxRail is the better alternative to Nutanix XC.' The market share and the number of customers seem to indicate that we're winning that game, but if a customer has already bought Nutanix or we lose that opportunity to Nutanix, we're still going to support them. What we want to do is put VMware vSphere underneath Nutanix storage—it's a much better option than Nutanix AHV Acropolis. Then put NSX on the side of it for networking—it's a much better component than Nutanix's software-defined networking capabilities. Then put in things like Horizon VDI because most often a Nutanix customer uses [Citrix] for VDI, and we have a much better story than Citrix. So if a customer has picked Nutanix for storage, just think of VMware surrounding it: So underneath it is vSphere, around it is NSX and on top of it is Horizon. But if it's a greenfield opportunity, you bet your mother that we're going to compete hard and we should.

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