Building Things That People Like: An Encore

by Dheeraj Pandey

| min

Exactly 4 years ago to this day, I wrote a blog called “Building things that people like”. That blog was about portability, about customer choice, about a contrarian view that professed building apps and platforms that were not tightly coupled with each other. Back in 2015, we had 2 “apps” — AOS and Prism — which floated on top of hypervisors, virtualized compute and storage, and made hypervisors invisible. AHV, our very own hypervisor, was still an audacious distant dream, a somewhat preposterous idea of 2015 that made industry observers question a tiny little company’s ambition.


Today, after 4 years of building AHV, and a beautiful enterprise cloud portfolio that makes our customers realize a multi-phase journey with Nutanix Core (HCI), Essentials (Private Cloud), and Enterprise (Multi Cloud), this race is being considered a duopoly between Nutanix and VMware. And yet, we are not forcing our customers to pay any “strategy tax” of AHV or our full product stack.

Our apps work on AHV and vSphere (Nutanix Core and Essentials), on private cloud and public cloud (Nutanix Enterprise), and on our appliances (NX) and customer’s favorite servers: Dell, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Huawei, Cisco, and now… HPE. Our multi-cloud products — Frame, Beam, and Calm in particular — are making our “private cloud core” sweat and compete hard with the public cloud. And that is bold and contrarian.

But that’s what Main Street expects from us: to continue to wage a war on behalf of the underserved customer, as they continue to find a balance between frictionless IT and IT governance. And this immense respect for the market is what will make all our products better, without the crutch of a full stack strategy tax. That’s how consumer companies have survived and thrived. That contrarian view is how enterprise companies, such as Microsoft, have become relevant again.

HPE Greenlake and the Consumer-Grade Enterprise

With our announcement today, the two companies are becoming authentic (read: vulnerable) yet again. Despite HPE’s existing portfolio of (sometimes competing) products, its server platform will now run Nutanix apps and its operating system software. Nutanix itself has never delivered an opex-biased hybrid cloud offering. This partnership makes us take an unexplored journey towards monthly subscription and usage-based billing, leveraging the HPE Greenlake program. The market expects the private cloud to behave like the public cloud with fractional consumer-grade consumption facilities.

An even more consumer-grade innovation here is how Nutanix’s sellers and our channel partners can now quote and price an offering that “late binds” a server type to the market’s taste. In 2018, we became an asset-lite private cloud company that did not carry hardware on its books, and yet if a customer wanted end-to-end support from us because of our NPS, we delivered that experience in entirety to them. Our sales force and our channel partners can now quote HPE servers on-the-fly in a couple of clicks. Such a level of automation makes it possible for this partnership to flourish without the friction of deal-by-deal hardware price negotiation and short-term greed per transaction. The spirit of the partnership is to dramatically improve customer and channel experience during the buying and selling process.

Short-termism and strategy taxes are dead in the consumer-grade enterprise.

This unique partnership — and our contrarian approach to portability — exemplify my favorite 3 words in trust-building with consumers: long term greed.

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