Nutanix, a decade on and going deeper

Nutanix leadership says its people are key to how the infrastructure management player is enabling cloud portability

"You are constantly balancing the paradoxes of humility and fierce resolve towards how you get things done," Dheeraj Pandey, CEO and founder of cloud computing software firm Nutanix told a room of CIOs and CTOs. Speaking at last week's .Next Nutanix summit for its community in Copenhagen, Pandey reflected on the San Jose, California firm's 10th year in business, the challenges and opportunities ahead.

"It is ok not to be a household name, but an up and coming brand," Pandey told IDG Connect when challenged on Nutanix not having strong brand recognition amongst CIOs and CTOs. "The CIO community is just starting to see who we are and how we help them innovate. Our awareness has really gone up this year," he said.

"You would rather have people not know you rather than not try you. So we are in a space of people learning about Nutanix and trying us," Pandey added.

Founded in 2009 Nutanix has become a byword for infrastructure management software as its applications aim to make infrastructure invisible and allow a CIO's teams to manage multi-cloud environments from the datacentre into the enterprise and now increasingly parts of the business and operations far removed from the central headquarters, often dubbed the edge.

Two announcements in Copenhagen added to the focus on integrating infrastructure to the point of invisibility, both of which are in themselves integrations. The Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platform is now integrated into the ServiceNow IT Operations Management solution, allowing ServiceNow using organisations to automate the deployments of private cloud workflows. Notification of incidents within a Nutanix HCI are delivered via the ServiceNow platform as a result. 

Nutanix also used Copenhagen to add more detail to its relationship with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), which was announced in April 2019. In the Danish capital Nutanix revealed that the HPE integrated hybrid cloud-as-a-service HPE GreenLake is available for Nutanix, which the duo believe will offer CIOs and technology partners increased choice in how they build a hybrid cloud deployment.

Talking to analysts and members of the press at .Next Pandey made the analogy that the economy has been disrupted by asset light organisations and referred to the commonly used poster children of Uber and Amazon. Pandey said cloud infrastructure management tools provide CIOs with the same asset light approach to making the most of the cloud assets available to them.

Pandey also used Amazon and its partnership model as a juxtaposition for the announcements of partnerships with HPE and ServiceNow. 

"Amazon grew through its partnerships. What Amazon focused on was the billing, the sale and the logistics, it pioneered these over traditional rivals like Walmart. In the cloud the consumer really cares about upgrades; being able to move from one cloud provider to another cloud," he said of how Nutanix software helps CIOs and CTOs with these key concerns for their organisations.

"You have to take computing to where the demand in, so you will have to disperse the cloud," he says of having an ability to manage multiple cloud environments according to the needs of the business lines requiring compute power.

"Organisations want design elegance and frictionless services as they know what good looks like," he said in the design capital.

"Frictionless is a really important word to me. If we support portability then we will become a platform, because with portability you are highly relevant," the CEO said of being at the forefront of allowing CIOs and CTOs to avoid lock in to cloud providers; an issue regularly raised by the CIO community.

Digital decade

"Our job is to make you successful. No ifs. No buts," Inder Sidhu, EVP of Customer Services at Nutanix told CIOs and CTOs in an exclusive briefing for the CXO community. Referring to Pandey's focus on frictionless portability it was clear that Nutanix sees this offering as a key part in how organisations deliver the all-important and constantly demanded digital transformation.

Pandey added that Nutanix has been on a journey itself and has refocused from being a product-oriented organisation to "a design first culture". That design culture is, as with many peer enterprise application providers, moving Nutanix to help CIOs and CTOs automate IT services.

"Automating the mundane tasks of IT is essential to facilitating and accelerating digital transformation in enterprises. By automating the most requested services and workflows, IT teams can reduce time spent on servicing incidents and issues and focus on offering a public cloud-like experience within the data centre, competitive differentiation and strategic planning."

CIOs in fast moving consumer goods, manufacturing, financial services and the public sector have all begun major automation programmes in order to reduce the time their technologists spend on deploying commodity technology, such as cloud services. As a result, the addition of increased automation in the Nutanix tools looks to be well timed.

No Nutanix gathering or announcement can pass without questions as to whether the organisation is for sale or is about to be acquired. Pandey swept aside such talk and was keen to focus on the cultural core of the business that has seen Nutanix turn 10 and publicly float in 2017. 

"I am most proud of our people, after 10 years we have been able to seep a customer centric focus into everybody at Nutanix," the CEO said.  "We did this by seeing our employees as an internal customer," he added of how Nutanix has ensured it retained talent which has allowed the organisation to remain competitive. Again a common topic of debate and concern amongst CIOs and CTOs. 

Looking to the future Nutanix is not only integrating with the major enterprise platforms form ServiceNow and HPE, but Pandey revealed close ties are being made with specialised technologies such as Epic Systems, the patient management system used by hospital and care providers across the world.  It is reported that 64 percent of patient records in the USA are on the Epic platform.

CEO Pandey said: "We are going deep" of how the Nutanix software toolset is heading into vertical markets, which in themselves are on the cusp of major cloud transformations.