Avnet adds VCE competitor Nutanix to line card

Nutanix makes a Virtual Computing Platform which partners can use to design and develop converged compute and storage infrastructure for virtualized data centres.


Scott Look, VP and GM, Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas, Connected and Secured Solutions group

Avnet Technology Solutions has signed a distribution deal with San Jose-based Nutanix, which makes a Virtual Computing Platform which partners can use to design and develop converged compute and storage infrastructure for virtualized data centres. The agreement includes both Canada and the U.S.. Nutanix, which is a relatively new company formed in 2009, goes to market entirely through its channel partners.

“We have been on their radar for six to nine months and the relationship just developed over time,” said Scott Look, vice president and general manager, Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas, Connected and Secured Solutions group. “Traditionally we have partnered with the more established companies, but as the market changed, these smaller startups have changed our strategy a bit. They are really looking for help in managing their channel and growing their channel, and there are some good targets there for what we are doing in terms of their strategic initiatives.”

The Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform’s web-scale architecture offers partners a converged infrastructure option that consolidates the server and storage tiers into a single, integrated appliance. Where it particularly excels is its ability to apply virtualization software effectively to physical devices. Its software reduces the virtual machine I/O blender that emerges when large numbers of virtual machines are placed on a single server, which translates into real compute gains.

“We were also impressed by their maturity for a young company,” Look said. “They seem to have a clear strategy and vision in what they are trying to accomplish.”

Avnet will leverage its strong practice in converged infrastructure solutions to help deepen Nutanix’s channel and enhance its partners’ resources in designing data centre solutions.

“We can give them the scale in helping them manage their channel program and all their reseller partners,” Look said. “First we will stabilize the base of the new partners that transition into the program. Phase two will be recruiting and enabling net-new partners for them. Phase three will be enhancing the value-added stack around verticals and services and accelerating their go to market.”

Avnet will also courage solution providers to leverage the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform to deploy cloud computing capabilities for their customers, facilitated by Avnet’s integrated and packaged cloud solutions.

With its strong focus on converged infrastructure solutions, Avnet is also a strong VCE partner, and while Nutanix is complementary to many solutions and capable of being integrated with them, it is a directly competing product to VCE.

“The role of distribution is to look for products to help customers, as well as not to create conflict with our current partners,” Look said. “VCE is a strong partner of ours, and we will keep the launch of Nutanix away from the VCE business. At the end of the day, VCE understands that while we don’t represent hundreds of lines, and are very strategic about what we pick out, they understand our business is distribution and that involves bringing on new lines that are sometimes competitive.”

Look drew an analogy to Avnet’s work with Nimble Storage, which makes flash-optimized hybrid storage solutions.

“Our recent launch of Nimble over the last year has gone very well,” he said. “We have relationships with competitive suppliers to them but there hasn’t been any conflict over the past year. There is simply a sensitivity to working with the older partners.”

Look thinks Canada is particularly well suited to the Nutanix solution.

“We view the Canadian market as a very good opportunity with Nutanix, simply because of the mid-enterprise type of customer that is across Canada, that is a good fit for this,” he said. “We are excited about the launch.”