Nutanix and the deal with the Dell-vil – a personal view

First of all kudos to Nutanix for their internal decision to inform the channel prior to the press release, which meant I could make this article timely rather than days after the event. Few vendors consider their channel is anything to do with their internal decision making, and while we may have no veto or input to a business decision, acknowledging we have a part to play is very important. We may only be the size of tug boats compared to a supertanker, but supertankers can’t dock without tug boats. If you have read my recent post you would have seen me live through my experiences with Dell equipment, how I supported the requirement of a Nutanix appliance to run their product, and why I thought it made sense. So hearing that Dell were going to OEM the Nutanix software in an appliance of their own caused more than a little trepidation for me. After all going from a heavily tried and tested platform tuned by a software vendor to one where software was applied to hardware with different components and firmware certainly dilutes my primary message in defence of the Nutanix appliance. However, taking a step back, it is important to reinforce that Nutanix is a software company, and indeed has been criticised for being ‘proprietary’ because it required a purchase of their appliance and there was no software only SKU. Starting to expand the range of hardware that runs the Nutanix software re-emphasises the “software-defined on commodity hardware” message of Nutanix – at the end of the day you will always need hardware, and it needs to...
Nutanix – defending the hardware appliance in a “software defined” world

Nutanix – defending the hardware appliance in a “software defined” world

  Article updated June 10th 2014 – scroll to Update section below for updated comments:   Software defined seems to be the latest buzz phrase doing the rounds recently; software defined storage, networking, datacentres, hitting the marketing feeds and opinion pieces as terms like Cloud are now considered mainstream, and not leading edge enough for the technology writers and vendors looking for the next paradigm. Because Nutanix supply their hyperconverged compute and software solution with hardware there have been many comments that their product isn’t truly software defined; but it is, despite the hardware, and this is why. In everything that they do Nutanix are a software company. Their product is the Nutanix Operating System (NOS), which forms part of the Virtual Computing Platform. They do not produce any custom hardware, everything that NOS runs on is commodity x86 hardware, no custom ASICs, drives, NICs, boards, etc. The reason they provide hardware with their software solution is very simple – supportability and customer service. I run a modest hosting company and being extremely budget conscious (as in, I didn’t have any!) I looked for the cheapest route to market that I can, while still feeling somewhat secure about the service I provide. The problem is that this is a lot harder than you may think, and in the complex world of virtualisation hardware compatibility is still very much there; it may be abstracted away from the guest VMs, but the poor old infrastructure manager has it in spades. Last year I had two problems that showed this in high relief: The first was a BIOS issue we encountered soon after buying...