You’re probably already aware that Dell and Nutanix have signed an OEM agreement, and from now on Dell will be able to build hyper-converged solutions leveraging Nutanix’s software. This comes with consequences and implications, especially because I have a hunch this is the first of a series of moves we’ll be seeing in the coming months.

The deal

Long story short, Nutanix produces a really efficient VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance) with dedupe, snaps, remote replica, and many other features. It can be used in conjunction with ESXi, HyperV or KVM. The product is packaged with servers and sold as a hyper-converged appliance/infrastructure: 100% scale-out without the need for a physical shared storage. Lately, if I’m not mistaken, Nutanix has already been using Dell servers instead of SuperMicro (but don’t take my word for it).
From now on, Nutanix appliances will also be sold through Dell’s channel under the Dell XC brand. That’s it.

Implications and consequences

This is actually a tactical move or, if you prefer, a short term strategy.

Compellent SC8000 Storage Controller - DetailDell needs to stay relevant in the infrastructure business and doesn’t have a solution for the converged/hyperconverged space. Not just a SKU, but something really integrated and with a management software worthy of this name. Nutanix is perfect for them. Dell already has the right boxes, a world wide sales channel and support services.
The Nutanix product is perfect for Dell also because it can be sold by unskilled people too: The reseller needs only to ask simple questions like “how many VMs do you need in your infrastructure?” and the configuration comes as a consequence. (something like what I proposed last year in my paper about HP StoreVirtual VSA).
With the right configurations/bundles the Dell XC could be sold to a very large range of customers and Dell also has all the components to complete the offer: Networking, backup solutions, traditional storage, professional services and so on.

nutanix-logo-transparent-hirez300On the other hand, Nutanix wants to become relevant as soon as possible (before it’s too late, I might add) and this deal will help them do it very quickly. A greater number of resellers, international presence (both on sales, professional services and support)… in one word: Credibility (with a capital C).
They want to attack the high end (the larger enterprises), where hyper convergence isn’t present yet and where companies like VCE are doing very well at the moment. This is the fastest way to do just that.

There will be several potential consequences to this deal.
First of all, there are already rumors about HP and Simplivity talking about a similar pact (or an acquisition?)… and CISCO could be part of this game too (they made a strategic investment in Atlantis, and USX products has already proven to be a great product).

In any case, if companies like Dell (and HP, and CISCO?) play hard in the hyperconverged space it will be a rough going for the vBlocks, FlexPods and all similar solutions. Not because of the tech itself, but just because the number of solutions will rise and customers will be looking at them too.

More to come (soon)

iStock_000015040874LargeThere is another way to look at the Nutanix/Dell deal. There are rumors about VMware and/or EMC working on their hardware platform (based on VSAN, NSX, etc.). If this is true, and only time will tell, it is going to be a major threat for both traditional and hyperconverged infrastructure players… and you know, attack is the best defense!

Bottom line

This is an exciting period, isn’t it?
I’m sure that from now until VMworld (end of August) we will be getting a lot of news like this one. And VMworld will be the right occasion for VMware/EMC to announce its hardware product/architecture/whatever (if it exists)…

There are no doubts that hyper-converged infrastructures are in the spotlight and they are ready for prime-time. They are set to be an important part of any Software-Defined Data Center strategy for both end users and vendors.
Kudos to Nutanix and Dell for being the first movers in this race!