Why We Drink Our Own Champagne


By Wendy M. Pfeiffer
| min
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When I joined Nutanix 8 months ago, one of my first objectives was to audit the sprawl of applications and infrastructure typically found in a fast-growing startup, and to standardize and streamline IT operations around the globe. Naturally, being in the infrastructure business, it made a lot of sense to “eat our own dog food” — move all on-prem and hybrid workloads to Nutanix — and be the first customer of everything that comes out of engineering into production.

I loved everything I’d seen in the product, but full disclosure: I was skeptical. Like many IT pros, I bear the scars of inflated and unfulfilled promises by vendors. That’s why I’ve learned to schedule every major implementation or upgrade for holiday weekends–the longer the better. I’ve got Thanksgiving dinner photos with almost every IT team I’ve ever led–almost like spending the holiday with family, right?

To be clear, the Nutanix IT organization is not part of R&D. We are the operational backbone of a close to billion-dollar, publicly-traded company. While we support the operational needs of our engineering department, our duty to our shareholders and employees is to keep the business moving.

So even with my very rational concerns, I knew it was time to embrace our own enterprise cloud journey. Within a few short weeks, we moved everything that was not running on our own product, and I mean everything — 100% of our on-prem data and applications, including mission critical workloads, our collaboration apps, VOIP, cybersecurity, and the sea of data that comes with it all— to Nutanix. And everything just worked. Without any disruptions, fire drills, or downtime. None. I realized that this product was far from dog food; it was Dom Perignon – and I do love champagne.

When our engineering group releases new products or updates, we immediately begin consuming the product across our entire on-prem and cloud footprint. And we’re not finding bugs, but rather nuanced operational challenges, which become the fodder for creating a better product for other customers. We’re constantly asking ourselves, “could we do this better?” and then nimbly refining our product based on our own experiences. More importantly, we trust the product with our entire business, supporting business-critical applications for nearly 3,000 employees in 125 locations across the globe.

While others in the industry aren’t quite as confident their products can handle mission critical workloads, my team is leveraging Nutanix as an enterprise cloud platform to do just that — and just like our customers, we are reaping the benefits:

Nutanix enables us to have a leaner, meaner team

Because we make use of the management capabilities inherent in our technology, we’re able to operate optimally with a lean-sized team. We have 6 IT pros who run our worldwide infrastructure operations in 6 datacenters, supporting all of our global offices and functions, which service customers in more than 125 locations.

The business benefits are tangible

  • Efficient Operations: Our ratio of IT costs to total SG&A costs is consistently near 2%–among the best in the business, even as we’re growing! This is because our operating system allows us to save on monitoring and management labor at every stage of our operational lifecycle.
  • Optimal Expenses: Our data center holds a mix of Cisco®, Dell®, HPE®, Lenovo®, and Supermicro® gear; our strong operational results span all of these vendors. We’re not “locked-in” to one hardware vendor, so we’re free to negotiate with multiple vendors to ensure optimal price points.
  • Productive People: Our IT professionals are engaged in the business of helping our employees and our company to thrive. Since the hardware and operating system just work, we can focus on delivering business value and functionality directly to our users.

One-click simplicity is real

Nutanix enables one-click upgrades while running core, mission-critical apps. The pace of innovation enabled by the cloud and our design around those one-click upgrades allows us to consume innovations easily, with comparatively low risk. Pure and simple: we would struggle to maintain our competitive advantage if we were stuck in the legacy days of 3-year tech refreshes and endlessly waiting for service pack 1.

Unlike other IT leaders, I don’t have to schedule maintenance windows, downtimes, CRs, or wait months to use key features and functionality–these are inherent in the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS. I might even get a chance to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family this year! This powerful simplicity is what all IT teams dream about.

And to that, I say “cheers!”

© 2017 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. Nutanix and the Nutanix logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Nutanix, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s) and Nutanix may not be associated with, or sponsored or endorsed by such holder(s).