Ramaswami, who joins Nutanix from arch-competitor VMware, says discipline and execution will be the key as Nutanix transforms from the hyperconverged infrastructure provider that made it a billion dollar company, to the hybrid cloud infrastructure provider that will take it from one billion to two billion.
Nutanix has announced the appointment of Rajiv Ramaswami as President, CEO and a member of the Board of Directors. He succeeds co-founder and CEO Dheeraj Pandey, who had announced in August he would retire once a successor was named.
Ramaswami joins Nutanix from arch-competitor VMware, where he spent almost five years, most of it as Chief Operating Officer, Products and Cloud Services. In this role, he co-led all the business units developing products, cloud services and cloud operations, and played a key role in transitioning VMware toward a subscription and SaaS model. This is his first CEO position. Before VMware, he spent six years as EVP of Broadcom’s Infrastructure and Networking Group. Earlier he had tenures at Cisco, Nortel and IBM, in a career that spans over 30 years. He has a technical background, with an original focus on optical networking.
Ramaswami told ChannelBuzz that while he doesn’t see a need to change Nutanix’s strategy, he does see a need for strong discipline and execution as the company continues its evolution and growth.
“I was brought in to accelerate the next stage of Nutanix’s growth,” he said. “That next stage of growing from 1 to 2 billion is different from growing from zero to 1 billion. I don’t see a need to change the strategy, but I do see a need to execute. We need to drive top line growth. We need to drive the subscription model. We need to continue execution on cloud strategy. It’s not a complete change of strategy but it is a focus on discipline to execute well on the strategy.”
Nutanix started out as the pioneer in hyperconverged infrastructure [HCI], but that HCI is not the key to its future, a decision that Pandey had already made.
“We are in the process of transitioning from HCI to HCI, meaning hybrid cloud infrastructure,” Ramaswami said. “Our position is based on the hyperconverged infrastructure foundation. That’s what got us to 1 billion, and we deeply appreciate the customer loyalty that did that. But we all know that the future vision spans on-prem, edge locations and the public cloud.”
Unsurprisingly, coming in cold from a competitor, Ramaswami said that he would make listening to all Nutanix’s stakeholders before doing anything that might upset the apple cart his top priority.
“I’m going to spend my time listening to all the constituents – customers, investors, employees – before making decisions, to get ideas about how best to create bottom line opportunities and execute on cloud strategy,” he stated.
Nutanix has always been a 100% channel company, although how the channel has worked has evolved over time, and the company has had different strategies about how to make its channel most productive. Ramaswami said the channel-centricity won’t change.
“Nutanix will rely heavily on our partners,” he said. We are counting on them to help us win in the marketplace as we move from HCI Nutanix to the hybrid cloud. We are committed to the role of the partner, but we want a blend of partners bringing business to us as well as partners playing a key role in our Go-to-Market.”
“It’s a transformative time for the company the industry and our partners,”” Ramaswami summed up. “I look forward to their support.”