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The Perfect Partnership: A Q&A with Dell and Nutanix

Author: November 5, 2014

Today at Dell World, Dell and Nutanix announced the general availability of the Dell XC Series Web-scale Converged Appliances. The new appliances are the only solution on the market that integrates a Tier 1 Dell hardware platform with the simplicity and scalability of Nutanix web-scale technology.

The GA is a big moment for both companies and we wanted to give you a personal look into how the partnership came about and what it means for Dell and Nutanix. Howard Ting, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Product Management of Nutanix and Travis Vigil, Executive Director Product Management of Dell Storage sat down recently to discuss the partnership, and what follows is their in-depth look at both sides of this partnership.

Could you give an overview of how the partnership between Nutanix and Dell has benefited each company?

Howard Ting: This partnership has been evolving really well since the announcement in June. In record time, our engineering teams have worked hard to ensure Nutanix software is adapted to run well on Dell hardware and our sales teams have pushed forward on driving awareness and interest about the new appliances with customers and partners. We’ve since won a number of accounts that Nutanix had previously struggled to penetrate and the pipeline is building nicely for the XC series in advance of first customer shipment.

Travis Vigil: Things are off to a great start. Everyone involved in the partnership remarks that working together is like ‘looking in a mirror’, with the two companies having a likeminded, start-up-like approach to delivering the best for customers.  Dell has long been a hugely successful provider of data center infrastructure, but we’ve noticed a shift toward customers of all sizes that need solutions that are easier to deploy, easier to manage and easier to grow. These customers are no longer looking at acquisition cost and instead are focused on total cost of ownership to ensure long-term returns.

What benefits would you say this new solution delivers to your customers?

TV: Partnering with Nutanix gives our customers access to a product that integrates storage, servers and software into a workload-centric solution that can be provisioned in hours and scaled in minutes. On top of that, they also get deployment, integration and operational support from Dell, as well as a single integrated point of contact for both Dell and Nutanix support.

As the IT landscape evolves, how does this new solution support the recent challenges that are emerging?

HT: The enterprise datacenter is really at a crossroads. The public cloud has challenged long-held notions about resource planning, time to value and consumption models of IT services. We believe enterprise datacenters must embody the virtues of the public cloud to remain competitive and relevant. The only way to match the agility, simplicity and economics of public cloud services is to fundamentally change the datacenter architecture. Working with Dell, Nutanix will bring web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to companies of all sizes around the world.

TV: We’ve seen this shift ourselves as datacenter managers look toward the cloud in the interest of cutting costs. Legacy infrastructures are under tremendous pressure to mimic the value that the public cloud offers, and that’s where the partnership with Nutanix becomes really special. Nutanix delivers a web-scale solution that provides the best of worlds, bringing simplicity, scale and flexibility to an on-premise infrastructure.

HT: Going forward, a big focus for Nutanix and Dell will be to provide richer analytics that help drive more automation and higher levels of service delivery, and bridge the public with private clouds to deliver seamless hybrid cloud use cases.

Howard, how would you say that this partnership is affecting the business goals for Nutanix?

HT: Beyond everything that’s already been mentioned, Dell provides Nutanix a channel to distribute our game-changing software to nearly every IT buyer in the world. It’s a huge opportunity for Nutanix that forces us to re-evaluate what and how we sell to make sure our solution is as easy to purchase, deploy and operate as possible for the mainstream IT buyer.

HT: We have gone on record saying that as we continue to build our business, we’ll transition to become a public company in the not too distant future. Others are attempting to replicate the Nutanix approach, but as the pioneer in the space, we have the most mature product and most diverse customer deployments in the world. Now with our enhanced routes to market, we’re well positioned to compete for a $50 billion market opportunity.