Fun and Games with Cisco®

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Nutanix on Cisco

Cisco® recently removed Nutanix from its Solution Partner Program (SPP). Cisco® Partner Certification is done through this program. The termination surprisingly followed the successful conclusion of working with very cooperative and enthusiastic Cisco® teams (Engineering, Product Management, Technical Marketing, Sales) to help ensure Nutanix was thoroughly tested on Cisco UCS® and performs to our customers’ requirements.

What does this mean for customers? Let’s break it down.

First, Nutanix delivers an enterprise cloud software application. Just as Microsoft, VMware, SAP and Oracle certify hardware, Nutanix has exhaustively tested and qualified Nutanix software on Cisco UCS®. Nutanix and Cisco® channel and SI partners have also successfully tested and validated our software on UCS® in both customer, and partner environments.

Second, support will be handled by Nutanix’s and Cisco®’s industry leading customer support teams. Nutanix touts an NPS score of 90/100. Cisco® has confirmed in its communication to its channel partners* (see email content from Cisco® below) that Cisco® will support its UCS customers irrespective of the software.

Nutanix’s and Cisco’s Support Interoperability Process

Nutanix emphatically supports our software on Cisco UCS®. While partners / customers will typically call Cisco® first for obvious hardware issues and Nutanix for obvious software issues, Nutanix is always ready to take the first call if there is any doubt. Nutanix will handoff Cisco®’s hardware support cases through TSANet which would then handoff to Cisco® for hardware support and replacement. Cisco® and Nutanix both not only have the highest levels of membership in TSANet, but also sit on its Board, ensuring seamless coordination between the respective Support organizations and handoff interoperability. Furthermore, Nutanix’s call home alert notifications are part of the solution – any software or hardware issue evokes a proactive response from Nutanix Support.

So Why Did Cisco® Change its Position on Nutanix?

A recent The Register article, Irritable Cisco kicks Nutanix out of Partner Program, includes what it calls, “the crucial portion of the text” from an email that Cisco® sent to its partners:

The Cisco solution partner program (Cisco Solution Partner Program – SPP) promotes the integration of complementary solutions partners with Cisco architecture and go-to-market initiatives together.

With the introduction of HyperFlex … technology, Nutanix became a direct competitor of Cisco’s own technology. As a result, Nutanix is no longer part of the Solution Partner Program with UCS, not to confuse the channels, field teams and our customers

This stance from Cisco® is more confusing than ever given that it has already certified VMware VSAN on UCS® , along with Maxta, Stratoscale, Simplivity and Pivot3. Do they not compete with Cisco®’s own technology?

So why would the networking leader only kick Nutanix out of the SPP and not any of the other five players?

The Rest of the story

Any manufacturer putting self-interest above that of its customers is clearly shortsighted. VCE president, Chad Sakac, in a recent panel discussion with Nutanix CEO, Dheeraj Pandey, provided some descriptive imagery about why Dell will continue selling and supporting Nutanix after the EMC acquisition: “The first rule of business is that you don’t punch customers in the face!”

Cisco®, of course, didn’t become the largest networking company in the world by punching its customers in the face. Here’s the rest of the email excerpted in The Register article:

* UCS® is an open x86 architecture and customers can deploy whatever software they choose on it. Cisco® will, as always, continue to provide UCS® product support regardless of what software runs on it, as we do for the plethora of software applications that run on UCS®. The software support will come from the respective vendors.

We will continue to evaluate the SPP on an ongoing basis, and change the membership if/as needed.

For customers looking for an end-to-end hyperconverged solution, our ultimate goal is to deliver HyperFlex on UCS®.

This full text of the email confirms Cisco®’s support of Nutanix on UCS.

The Path Forward: Enthusiastic Support from Cisco® Sellers and Partners

While the genesis of the partnership was joint customers asking for this solution, we saw a huge groundswell movement from Cisco®’s closest partners and sales teams. At the recent Cisco® GSX event (global sales kickoff), Cisco® sales teams from across the world enthusiastically attended the Nutanix and Presidio co-sponsored “Nutanix on UCS®” launch party in Las Vegas. We saw 570 attendees, most of which were from Cisco® sales teams, when 250 invitations were extended.

Cisco® field sees the opportunity to partner with Nutanix and unleash opportunities with their customers that have to date been out of bounds. Additionally, leading Cisco® partners across the globe and Cisco® sellers are wanting to provide their customers with best-of-class solutions. Here’s a tweet about the Vegas party by Presidio Chief Technology Officer, Vinu Thomas.

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Given the support from Cisco®’s partners and own sales teams, would Cisco® reverse course and re-engage with Nutanix? For the sake of our joint teams, partners and most importantly for our joint customers, we hope so.

Steve Kaplan (@ROIdude) & Jyoti Kukreja – Striving for Reconciliation of the Dynamic Duo to Ensure Customer Delight

See Also:

© 2016 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. Nutanix™ is a trademark of Nutanix, Inc., registered in the United States and other countries. Cisco® and Cisco UCS® are the registered trademarks of Cisco Technology, Inc. Nutanix is not associated with, sponsored or endorsed by Cisco. All other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s).