Celebrating 1000 Nutanix Ready Validations

By Saptarshi Biswas

May 16, 2024 | min

The Nutanix Ready program recently completed its 1000th technology partner validation with Palo Alto Networks, a milestone over eight years in the making

In this article, Nutanix Ready Manager Saptarshi Biswas reflects on the inception of this program, its evolution over time and how it continues to play a key role in supporting the rapid growth of AHV to ensure that Nutanix customers have access to a robust, fully validated ecosystem.

The Journey to 1,000: Reflections on the Past, Present and Future of Nutanix Ready

I first joined the Nutanix Technology Alliance team in January 2016, just a few months after Nutanix Ready launched in late 2015. It was an exciting time in my life: The Ready program was still in its infancy and I would soon be welcoming a new infant daughter as well. It is always easy to recall precisely how many years I have been involved with the Ready program, since it is just a few months older than my now eight-year-old daughter.

I have watched this program grow alongside my own family and it is incredible to think that we have now validated 1,000 different solutions – and counting.

I was the first hire for the Technology Alliance group in the Nutanix Bangalore office. In these early days, the global Technology Alliance team was no more than eight or nine people. Nutanix continued to grow and other teams throughout the organization were getting larger by the day. 

As our own team worked to keep pace and grow the broader ecosystem, we worked hard to scale without “throwing bodies at the problem.” This strategy sometimes meant doing more with less, but I believe it has proven its worth over time. Today, our team remains fairly small, yet we have managed to scale up our validation work to accommodate 1,000+ partner compatibility validations.

The key to doing so was establishing the right foundation from the outset. Starting from a truly blank slate, our team hustled to develop coherent best practices even as we scrambled to define our approach for our first few dozen validations. But these processes have proven their value.

Scaling up the Nutanix Ready program also meant building awareness among our external technology partners and within the Nutanix organization. When our work started, we were virtually unknown within the company. It was not unusual to receive a reply to an email inquiry along the lines of “What does your team do again?” 

Today, our work is widely recognized across Nutanix and everyone from executives to our field organizations know when we can help and how to reach us. I am incredibly proud of the reputation our team has earned since its inception.

Nutanix-Ready Grew in Concert with our Partners

When I first joined the Nutanix Ready team, we were still testing the waters and only about 10 partners had been validated for compatibility with Nutanix. We wanted to start small as we worked to verify and refine our approach and many of these partners were themselves in their early days.

As the validation program proved its value to an expanding customer base, we found that it organically extended to larger partners. As customers continued to mature and tap into the value of our Nutanix, they would increasingly request more joint solutions with key vendors and our program needed to evolve accordingly. 

The introduction and adoption of the Nutanix AHV hypervisor proved to be a powerful accelerant for the growth of Nutanix Ready. Disruption in the virtualization market led to incredible demand for AHV and its supporting ecosystem. Today, 100% of new validations are on AHV. Nutanix AHV has earned the reputation of being a compelling choice for virtualization infrastructure and workloads.

Our relationships with many of our technology partners have become far deeper than I ever could have imagined. At the outset of the Ready program, we were primarily focused on validating solutions that work on Nutanix.

Over time, we pursued deeper integrations that enable a broader array of solutions to truly work with Nutanix. Our APIs allow partners to develop deeper integrations, which open up new use cases and drive significantly more value for our customers. Many of our AI and database compatibility validations also include specific testing to work with our software platform.

When onboarding new partners, we still seek to start out small and pluck low-hanging fruit by validating basic functionality first and foremost. As the partnership grows, we have more opportunities to leverage our APIs to simplify and automate the most complex applications.

A significant percentage of our validated partners remain truly engaged long-term from a technical standpoint and we are happy to support their product roadmaps by staying responsive to requests to revalidate new versions and use cases.

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Partner Milestone: In 2017, HYCU rolled out a purpose-built backup solution for Nutanix and has gone on to pursue a variety of additional integrations.

Building a Roadmap to Value-Based Partnerships

While the basic charter of the Nutanix Ready team has remained unchanged since I joined eight years ago, our strategic emphasis has shifted.

When we started, our primary directive was to validate new technologies, expand the ecosystem and add logos to a partnerships list that was very short at the time. We were eager simply to get new partners in the door, introduce our no-fee validation program and begin developing joint solution briefs.

We succeeded at dramatically scaling out the ecosystem of Nutanix partners and this success allowed us to shift our focus to value-based partnerships. We began to elevate and prioritize the development of partnerships with the greatest potential to bring new customers to our platform and deliver value in new markets.

My job is essentially the same as when I joined the team but the focus changed as the company matured. My work expanded to include engaging with market research to proactively identify the top players in established and emerging markets as candidates for validation. I was no longer solely focused on finding and validating new partners and started thinking more holistically about enhancing the long-term value of the Nutanix ecosystem.

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Partner Milestone: Peer Software, a key enabler for Nutanix Files since its early inception, won the Nutanix Elevate Partner of the Year award in 2018.

A Program Built on Mutual Trust

Our Nutanix-Ready team has worked hard to foster partner relationships rooted in mutual trust. Influencing product teams is never an easy job and our role is to do it within external organizations.

Success in this endeavor does not happen overnight and in my experience taking the time and effort to nurture these relationships over time is well worth the effort. Just as I provide a voice for partnerships within Nutanix, our most trusted external collaborators have become advocates for Nutanix within their own organizations.

On our own team, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best alliance managers Nutanix has hired, all of whom have made incredible contributions to growing the ecosystem. Their jobs are far from easy and their hard-won knowledge has taught me invaluable lessons about how to think long-term, navigate complex differences and focus on ultimate customer benefits.

The past eight years have been incredibly rewarding. Working up to 500+ technology alliances and 1000+ compatibility validations has been an unrivaled learning opportunity. I continue to find that I learn more in every new conversion with a knowledgeable partner than I do reading 10 different technical briefs on the same topic.

Having watched this program grow from its infancy, I’m still passionate about the work we do and proud of what it means to award the Nutanix Ready badge to every partner. I am grateful for the people I have met along the way and it is personally important to me that new team members continue to learn from our hard-won values as we continue to work toward building a broader and more deeply integrated ecosystem for Nutanix customers.

As I look back on 1,000 validations, I couldn’t be more excited to continue this journey with the Nutanix-Ready team as well as our current and future technology partners. If you are interested in learning more, please check out the Nutanix Technology Alliance and our Nutanix Ready partners.