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Giving Shape to Nutanix’s Run Anywhere Customer Strategy

Giving Shape to Nutanix’s “Run Anywhere” Customer Strategy

Introduction

At the Nutanix .NEXT Conference in Barcelona, the Company’s Run Anywhere Slogan Was Prominently Displayed

Giving Shape to Nutanix’s Run Anywhere Customer Strategy

Nutanix has been on a certain kind of journey since breaking through in 2012 with version 3.0 of a product it was not originally founded to create, NOS. This storage resource pooling platform, now branded AOS and indelibly married to the easy(er)-to-install-and-manage hyperconverged infrastructure it was delivered with, has defined the company’s value proposition ever since.

But something interesting happened over the past several years as Nutanix navigated the choppy seas of shifting technology alliances, enterprise hardening and solutioning of public cloud services, and the explosion of Kubernetes to monstrous size and influence. The company remembered what it was all for.

Elevating the Benefits Bar

Pooling storage on device-like building blocks drove numerous technical benefits such as resource efficiency, data availability, system resiliency, and more straightforward infrastructure management. These benefits boil down to saving adopters money (or the risk of unexpected costs). But to Nutanix’s credit, the company did not stop there, even as it built and marketed a robust, feature-rich portfolio for software-defined storage (SDS) and adjacent technologies. In the midst of change and market stress, Nutanix asked itself what customers wanted from this resource pool now that it is more efficient, available, resilient, and so on.

The answer was simple and obvious: customers want to get data to their applications easily, instantly, consistently, and securely. But this answer was also hard. Storing data efficiently, availably, etc. is meaningless if the application user experience (UX) is bad. Ease, responsiveness, consistency, and security keep getting harder in our mobile, app-laden, cloud-enabled world.

At the Nutanix .NEXT conference in Barcelona, the company’s Run Anywhere slogan was prominently displayed. At the Day 2 opening keynote, Lee Caswell, the company’s head of product marketing, explained it as Nutanix’s mission to allow customers to “run any application anywhere.”

The application is an outstanding focus for the same technological development that created and grew SDS. Looking at SDS and all its adjacent technologies through the application and UX lens, it is no longer about efficiency on the rack; it is about efficiency across the estate—a globally distributed estate for many customers. It is no longer about availability of read operations to the port; it is about availability of data to the application host. One could go on from target benefit to target benefit, elevating its outcome to the application.

The Moment

Recent changes to VMware’s pricing, licensing, and solution-provider strategies brought about by its new corporate parent Broadcom have given the market pause and infrastructure managers reason to look deeper at independent, cross-platform-oriented Nutanix. So this understanding of Run Anywhere can be very helpful. Nutanix intends to enable customers to store data anywhere in forms suited to the apps, store code and models anywhere, and bring the data and code together to the user while meeting organizational requirements.

Parts of the Nutanix portfolio that don’t seem to fit the SDS mold now make sense. Bringing data, code, and user together means Kubernetes today, not just virtualization. It means hybrid cloud and multi-cloud today. It means any kind of nodes, not just hyperconverged ones.

That is why the .NEXT conference showcased the new Kubernetes service management offer, Nutanix Kubernetes Platform. Containers are the best way to move applications or their services to where they are needed—that is, where the data is—particularly for the raft of stateless services currently under frenzied development. It’s also why, at the other end so to speak, the conference showcased the rather remarkable developments of Nutanix on SAN (Dell Technologies’ PowerFlex) and compute nodes (Cisco UCS) for the first time.

Of course, the conference also showcased artificial intelligence (AI)—embedded in Nutanix products to assist operators and developers as well as enabled by Nutanix solutions with partners. But this is no surprise and is also the deserving subject of other stories. This story is about the pleasant surprise of a vendor tightly defining its customer strategy and then setting about to deliver it piece by piece.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Migrating 800 VMs to Nutanix Was No Problem, Business as Usual

Nutanix Expands Cloud-Native Portfolio with D2iQ’s Kubernetes Platform

Nutanix Introduces New Kubernetes Platform at Nutanix .NEXT

Author Information

Guy is the CTO at Visible Impact, responsible for positioning, GTM, and sales guidance across technologies and markets. He has decades of field experience describing technologies, their business and community value, and how they are evaluated and acquired. Guy’s specialty areas include cloud, DevOps/cloud-native/12-factor, enterprise applications, Big Data, governance-risk-compliance, containerization, virtualization, HPC, CPUs-GPUs, and systems lifecycle management.

Guy started his technology career as a research director for technology media company Ziff Davis, with stints at PC Magazine, eWeek, and CIO Insight. Prior to joining Visible Impact, he worked at Dell, including postings in marketing, product, and technical marketing groups for a wide range of products, including engineered systems, cloud infrastructure, enterprise software, and mission-critical cloud services. He lives and works in Austin, TX

At The Futurum Group, Paul Nashawaty, Practice Leader and Lead Principal Analyst, specializes in application modernization across build, release and operations. With a wealth of expertise in digital transformation initiatives spanning front-end and back-end systems, he also possesses comprehensive knowledge of the underlying infrastructure ecosystem crucial for supporting modernization endeavors. With over 25 years of experience, Paul has a proven track record in implementing effective go-to-market strategies, including the identification of new market channels, the growth and cultivation of partner ecosystems, and the successful execution of strategic plans resulting in positive business outcomes for his clients.

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