Nutanix sees massive potential in rollout of Dell XC appliances with Nutanix software

Nutanix, which despite its massive success is still a startup, gets key validation from Dell partnering with them, and also greatly expands their channel and routes to market.

Greg Smith, senior director of product and technical marketing at Nutanix.

Greg Smith, senior director of product marketing at Nutanix.

AUSTIN — The partnership announced last June is about to deliver products. Dell is about to start shipping the Dell XC Series of Web-scale Converged Appliances, powered by Nutanix software and using Dell PowerEdge servers as the hardware component. The deal is a big one for both players, but for Nutanix, the red-hot startup vendor of web-scale converged infrastructure solutions, partnership with the much larger Dell is a very big deal.

“There was a keen level of enthusiasm by both Dell and Nutanix in June when this was announced,” said Greg Smith, senior director of product marketing at Nutanix. “Dell is even more excited because as we embarked on the training of their channel, they have received extremely positive feedback from partners. As a result, the level of enthusiasm at Dell is higher now than in June.”

Nutanix is also extremely excited about the deal, although for different reasons.

“For Nutanix, this partnership is validation from a significant player in the storage industry, that we can handle mainstream workloads with our new approach,” Smith said. “It also provides a massive expansion of the number of channel partners and routes to market for the Nutanix solution.”

Nutanix, which sells its own branded products entirely through channel partners, has been very successful selling its web-scale converged software out of the gate because in addition to providing features enterprises demand such as data dedupe and compression for capacity optimization and data locality for high performance, it handles physical devices better than other virtualization software, minimizing VM blender, and producing real compute gains. It is also managed with what the company calls consumer-grade simplicity.

“We wanted to make sure whether a product is Nutanix-branded or the Dell XC, the user gets the same user experience,” Smith said. “The software is exactly the same. That has not changed. The entire Nutanix experience on the software side is the same. In addition, when we roll our new features out, they will go to Dell customers at the same time.”

At this point, five Dell XC appliances are available.

“They are based upon workloads, from small ROBO environments, through VDI and enterprise applications, all the way up to large databases,” Smith said.

The ROBO model, also suitable for test/dev environments, is the XC720xd-A5. It differs from the more upscale models in its smaller disk capacity (2x 200GB SSDs).

Two models are aimed at VDI and enterprise use cases. The smaller of the two, the XC720xd-B5, has 2×400 GB SSD disks. It differs from the models above it, because, like the XC720xs-A5, it has 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB memory options while the higher up models have 128GB, 256GB, 384GB, 512GB, and 768G. The higher models also have more advanced DIMM options. The other appliance in this class, the XC720xd-B7, has the more advanced memory and DIMM options. It also has 2×400 GB SSD disks, smaller than the two larger models.

The two models for large databases are the XC720xd-C5 and XC720xd-C. The main difference between them is the XC720xd-C5 has 2 x 800GB SSDs while the XC720xd-C has 4 x 800GB.

More appliances are on the way, Smith said.

“Dell has a pipeline of new servers and new technologies, and we will be making new announcements in the months ahead,” he said. At this point in time, he also indicated they have no plans to work with other large OEMs in the same fashion, and are 100 per cent committed to their relationship with Dell.

Both Dell and Nutanix have spent a lot of time on pricing issues, to make sure both companies can sell a competitive product, and are relying on deal registration to make sure the two companies are not competing for the same product.

“The pricing models are consistent across the board,” said Anton Granic, Senior Director, Nutanix Canada. “That’s necessary to make sure the channel can maximize the benefits of the deal reg process, and it also lets existing partners be comfortable moving forward knowing they are protected.”


Anton Granic, Senior Director, Nutanix Canada

Deal registration works through the Nutanix portal. Dell partners will register with Dell and the Dell rep will connect with Nutanix and register the deal there on behalf of the Dell partner.

In Canada, the launch is being accompanied by a five city cross-country road tour.

“As this launches and the momentum starts to build, we will launch a multi-city tour across Canada inviting some of Dell and Nutanix’s key customers,” Granic said. “The five city event will start in Toronto on November 11 and will go on over the next two weeks in Halifax, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver.”