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Walking Into the Nutanix Innovation Storm

By Howard Ting
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This is my first blog post and I would like to take this opportunity to extend my warm greetings to all Nutanix customers, resellers, distributors, technology alliance partners, supporters, followers, and even competitors (who I know are reading this). After a terrific 3.5 year run at the highly disruptive and successful network security company Palo Alto Networks, I joined Nutanix as VP of Marketing exactly one month ago with great excitement and optimism about the opportunity we have to help enterprises reinvent their datacenters. The first 30 days on the job have been remarkable in many ways and today I’m going to write about the manifestation of one of those remarkable attributes that make Nutanix such a special company – rapid innovation.

Today we announced the latest release of our software, the Nutanix OS 3.0, and a new hardware line known as the NX-3000 series. We believe the features and capabilities included in these products extend the company’s technology leadership in the converged infrastructure market. Even better, these significant enhancements are built on top of what many people told me during my due diligence of the company was already a ground-breaking product foundation. You can learn more about the new capabilities here.

As you read about the exciting new software and hardware, remember that Nutanix has been in business for a little more than 3 years, which helps put some perspective on the pace of innovation at the company. Many hot and rapidly growing startup companies, particularly those that disrupt an existing market, launch with great fanfare because they’ve delivered some ground-breaking innovation that customers clamor for. But continuing to deliver that pace of innovation is challenging for many reasons, one of which is product maturity. When you sell to early adopters, which startups invariably do, you are picking off “low hanging fruit” and can get away with a few things that don’t quite work as expected. For example, perhaps your UI isn’t polished or the feature set lacks some key features that the incumbent market leaders have. The expectation is that the product will mature and catch up over time. As those startups start selling to the broader masses, those checkboxes start to matter a lot more. This tends to be when the pace of innovation slows.

What I just explained is probably well understood by many of you who have purchased from or worked with disruptive startup companies, but I point it out to contrast the “typical” startup product maturity path with what the Nutanix team has accomplished. Rather than simply playing catch-up to the incumbent vendors, Nutanix has set the bar higher, much higher, in areas such as disaster recovery, compression, manageability, and serviceability. The product team at Nutanix, led by Founder and CTO Dr. Mohit Aron, is simply not satisfied with playing catch-up. They want to set the innovation agenda and look at creative and more effective ways of solving problems, all of which greatly benefits our customers directly and partners indirectly.

I selected the title for my post not because I want to sensationalize recent events but because it’s an appropriate metaphor for the type of innovation we have at Nutanix – it’s intense and violent (in a good way), it is not always predictable, it comes in many forms from all directions, and lastly it should have your attention. One could argue the biggest challenge for a company in this mode of rapid innovation is to market those new capabilities to ensure customers and prospects understand their full value. Well, I’m up for that challenge and look forward to conversing with you more throughout the new year.