Mark Brunstad joins Nutanix

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I am very pleased to add my welcome to @MarkBrunstad who joined Nutanix today as Manager, Curriculum Development, – Educational Services function within Nutanix Global Services. Mark is well-known in the virtualization industry for building VMware’s vaunted VCDX program. I first met Mark at VMworld 2013 in San Francisco, and I spoke with him over the weekend about his new role at Nutanix:

What is it that drew you to Nutanix?

The VCDXs going to Nutanix really caught my attention. I know just about everyone in the program, and the extraordinary skills they have. When they started flocking to the company, I started digging into it. The technology is amazing and there’s world-class engineering talent driving the products. There’s also a lot of transparency, which is refreshing. The leadership really values experience, innovation, and agility. They will listen to your ideas, and they make it clear that people and their passion are the biggest assets.

Nutanix didn’t recruit me. I applied for a job blind via the Web so there were no futures being discussed before the interviews. When I met Mike Fodor [Nutanix Sr. Director, Education Services] and saw what his team was doing with, I was totally blown away. The creativity in their approach is going to shake up education and certification in our industry – it’s really going to be as disruptive as the technology. Meeting Dheeraj Pandey [Nutanix CEO] and seeing his commitment to education and certification as success factors for Nutanix and their partners; well that sealed the deal for me.

You said that the VCDXs, which now number 10, going to Nutanix caught your attention. When VCDXs can pretty much work wherever they’d like, why are so many coming here?

To begin with, Nutanix is the biggest sponsor of the VCDX Program outside of VMware. After that, I think the biggest attractions are the work and the technology. The best solution architects in the world want to do the web-scale projects because they’re challenging. Nutanix is a company that recognizes VCDX skills, provides challenging projects, and its people a really unique toolbox with which to work. The company has a culture of innovation that’s attractive as well – there’s a willingness to let the experts innovate and that’s a huge draw.

Someone queried me via Twitter wondering why, if Nutanix is so simple, do we need VCDXs?  What’s your opinion?

Nutanix is simple – but the solutions you deploy on top to meet a customer’s business needs are still complex and disruptive. There is also the challenge of designing an effective migration from a legacy 3-tier architecture to a web-scale converged infrastructure. You need a real consulting architect with top-notch design and delivery skills to ensure the solutions will be implemented to perform as advertised. This is exactly the alignment between Education Services and Consulting Services within Nutanix Global Services (GSO). Everybody wants the benefits of cloud, but they’re going to want to touch the VCDX before they cut the check.

What’s in store for the Nutanix Platform Professional certification program?

Nutanix will expand the NPP Nutanix Certification program from platform professionals level (NPP) to an expert level. We want to dive deep into the convergence layer where Nutanix is the leader – we want mastery of the platform that supports real web-scale deployments first. You’ll need to really understand availability, management, application performance, BC/DR, automation, and how that’s supported. From there, we’ll build design and delivery skills for a wide range of solutions. That’s going to mean Microsoft, Citrix, Oracle, OpenStack and whatever else our customers need. I’m hoping to be involved in every aspect of this expanded certification program at Nutanix, as I was with the VCDX Program at VMware.

Nutanix partners with VMware on all but one of their many products and technologies, but the overlap with EVO:RAIL is grabbing a lot of media attention. Do you see the new competition spilling over into expert Nutanix certifications and VCDX?

A lot of VMware partners have high-end certifications that are specific to their platforms and stacks, and they sell solutions from VMware’s competitors too. That’s the nature of the business we’re all in right now. I think an awesome (and growing) VCDX bench is going to continue to be a huge asset to Nutanix. The reality is that it’s a huge asset to VMware as well – but we can do more. I think we’ll focus on delivering something really exceptional and giving our customers excellent choices – then we’ll let them decide where they find the best value.

Any other comments?

I’m excited to go beyond VCDX with this team. The VCDX bar is extremely high, but the achievers are already looking to what’s next; they’re looking for that bigger challenge and an opportunity to grow even more. We’ll give them something to shoot for, and we’ll give the industry a new benchmark. With this company it’s going to be really, really fun!

See Also

Farewell VMware! 08/27/2014. Mark Brunstad. TwitLonger.

Why are VCDXs Flocking to Nutanix? 07/28/2014. Steve Kaplan. Nutanix web site.

What is the Value of a VCDX to a VMware Ecosystem Partner?  11/16/2013.  Steve Kaplan.  By The Bell.