Nutanix data centre in-a-box targets Canadian channel

TORONTO – Nutanix is causing quite a stir in the Canadian marketplace with its data centre in-a-box solution.

The San Jose, Calif.-based hyper-convergence and virtual platform vendor was in Toronto at the Citrix conference. The company recently released a first of a kind all-flash hyper-converged platform called the NX-9000 with Metro Availability.

Nutanix NX-9000
Nutanix NX-9000

Nutanix’ go to market business model is 100 per cent channel friendly. Nutanix Canada’s senior director Anton Granic told CDN that his company refuses to take deals direct.

Nutanix has approximately 15 solution provider partners in Canada, but they have signed on with Ingram Micro Canada, Arrow and Avnet Canada to build out its channel partner network.

The company came to light recently when it announced a significant partnership with Dell Inc. Granic said that Nutanix would be considering working with Dell’s channel partners in Canada, but added that the partnership proves to be a validation of Nutanix’s offering and its data centre in-a-box solution.

CDN sat down with Granic to discuss Nutanix’s plans for the channel, the Canadian market and its partnership with Dell.

The following is an edited transcript.

CDN Now: Nutanix was founded in 2009 by ex-Google and Amazon executives, but you are new to the Canadian market. What makes Nutanix different?

Anton Granic: We are a purpose built organization for virtualization. We are not like the traditional players or legacy vendor as a lot of them retrofit or Frankenstein their products in a way to maximize the benefits of virtualization. We are at our core a software company and that differentiates us over the main hardware players.

CDN Now: How does Nutanix fit with the new consumption trends we are seeing in the marketplace?

A.G.: We fit into both Opex and Capex scenarios. We are compelling because we eliminate the bulk of the infrastructure. We eliminate the SAN from the architecture and that reduces the footprint so people can start with Nutanix on a minimal investment instead of configuring servers, networks and SANs from other vendors. Sometimes it’s difficult to roll out projects because of funding. Nutanix starts as low as $50,000 for a turnkey data centre in-a-box. It’s up and running in a few hours. So the value is high because there is no complexity with configuring SANs or the network. Everything is turnkey with Nutanix.

CDN Now: How does Nutanix intend to work with Canadian channel partners?

A.G.: From a channel perspective I think it’s fantastic for solution providers because Nutanix can accelerate deals. Solution providers can propose a solution and in 10 business days have it to the client. For the client they will be able to deliver workloads faster because it reduces time, effort, and costs that goes along with traditional servers. For the channel they can concentrate on delivering higher end services that have more margins attached to it.

CDN Now: What is your channel program strategy?

A.G.: What we are looking to do is go to market with thought leaders in the partner community; those who add value. We are not interested in signing up hundreds and thousands of partners. Our focus will be to have channel partners who are national, regional and local, who will help us hit that small, medium and large customer base in Canada. We want them to have expertise in virtualization, servers and storage. We currently have 15 to 20 channel partners in Canada. We are looking to expand that and find partners where there is the right fit to improve our channel coverage for Canada. We are an innovative company and we need solution providers who are thought leaders so they can transform the data centre and leverage the benefits of the cloud providers.

CDN Now: What elements of the Nutanix channel program should channel partners who are interested in your solutions focus on?

A.G.: Nutanix offers a unique and effective deal registration program that rewards partners who proactively uncover net new opportunities. We avoid the typical channel scenario of taking deals direct but what we also do is we do not allow other resellers to make bids on these registered deals. That makes margins drop to mid-to-low single digits and prices everyone out of the opportunity.

Our partners get healthy margins and we do not have any professional services team for standard engagements. We leverage the partner’s bench for implementation and rollout. We want to incent them and motivate them to lead with Nutanix and it works especially for customers who are looking for a change.

CDN Now: Why did you decided to partner with Dell?

A.G.: It’s a mutual relationship. To us we are partnering with a well-respected global brand. This allows us to expand the footprint into verticals. For Dell, it allows them to catapult into the hyper-converged space and they had choices but determined that the best partnership was with Nutanix. This partnership validates us. There are multiple vendors in hyper-converged, but we are going after the traditional vendors and we believe that we are fundamentally different. For example, we are fully hypervisor agnostic, while others are not.

CDN Now: What is Nutanix’ perception in the market place?

A.G.: I would say it is an interesting time in the market place now. I think we are at an inflection point and it’s similar to when VMware came to market more than 10 years ago and proposed virtualization. We have people today rethinking the way they build out there data centre. We do spend a lot of time evangelizing. We do have people asking us if this is ‘too good to be true’. They have heard similar type stories from other vendors in the past with VBlock and FlexPod on convergence, but they are not purpose built and therefore customers have challenges deploying it.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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