In early 2014, I wrote a blog post about how Devin Henderson, CEO of DH Technologies, was committed to going all in with, what was then, a quite young Nutanix. In the years since, Devin has seen his business rapidly grow along with Nutanix. He has also witnessed the transition of Nutanix from Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) to enterprise cloud – built upon an HCI foundation. I spoke with Devin to get his perspective on Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS.
SK: Clearly business has been good for you these past 4 years – and I see you’ve won some very nice awards.
DH: Yes it has. We were proud to be ranked #1 on the 2016 Fast Growth 150 list with a YoY growth rate of 1,800%. In 2017, we again ranked in the top 25. We also were one of 40 North American solutions providers receiving the 2017 CRN Triple Crown Award which recognizes those solutions providers appearing on the Fast Growth 150 list, the Solution Provider 500 list (the largest North American solutions providers by revenue) and the Tech Elite 250.
SK: What part has Nutanix played in your success?
DH: Let’s just say that we hitched our wagon to the right star. When we first started selling the NX nodes, we spent a lot of time evangelizing the technology to both customers and manufacturers who never had heard of Nutanix or HCI. Of course, now Nutanix is at the center of a booming new market and it includes a great many industry leaders not only supporting Nutanix, but also AHV [the Nutanix hypervisor].
SK: In your opinion, how has the technology evolved over the years?
DH: Nutanix was initially a huge industry disruptor as it displaced storage and servers with (what was then) new HCI appliances. Now, of course, Nutanix has not only transitioned to software-only, but it has also gone far beyond just HCI. The enterprise cloud is something that really, really resonates with our customers, many of whom were heading in that direction anyway.
SK: What are your thoughts on Nutanix’s application lifecyle manager/DevOps tool, Calm?
DH: Calm is an integral part of the Cloud OS effectiveness. We use the Calm blueprint framework to automate a great many tasks including deploying vLANs, creating virtual machines, vulnerability remediation, and so on.
SK: What does a Cloud OS mean to you?
DH: I look at a Cloud OS as including aspects of what Docker does – in other words no need to worry about the underlying hardware or OS, just orchestrate and repeat tasks over and over again. The Cloud OS terminology also signifies the ability for customers to manage instances not only on-prem, but also in AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.
SK: How do you typically position Nutanix today?
DH: First let me contrast with the way we used to position it. Our emphasis was formerly on how Nutanix eliminated the necessity to troubleshoot SAN issues while providing more IOPS and dramatically reducing administrative requirements. Today we are positioning Nutanix as an overarching Cloud OS platform. Customers want the agility of public cloud, but they also like the idea of being able to reach out and touch their data on-prem. Nutanix provides the best of both worlds.
SK: Where do you see things progressing with Nutanix AHV?
DH: Customers really like having virtualization choice. Some may remain a VMware shop, especially for use cases such as Horizon View or really intricate SDN. Others are starting to rethink virtualization not just because of the compelling economics, but also to benefit from capabilities such as Calm orchestration.
SK: Let me conclude with a bit of a controversial question. As both a VMware and Nutanix partner, what’s the biggest thing you hear from customers?
DH: We hear pretty consistently from our Horizon View customers about a desire for VMware to support AHV. Now that the company supports AWS, maybe it will start to come around to other competitors.
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