Nutanix CEO sees options as VMware sells

Rajiv Ramaswami joined Nutanix from rival VMware and now is keenly observing the sale of his ex-employer.

Headshot of Rajiv Ramaswami, CEO at Nutanix
Nutanix

Like most of us, Nutanix CEO Rajiv Ramaswami is just getting used to international travel. He took the hotseat of the datacentre disruptor in December 2020 but, when we meet recently in central London, he tells me this is his first trip out here. A soft spoken and courteous man, he still has plenty to share and for me to catch up on, so we jump straight in…

First is the fairly recent news that Broadcom agreed to buy virtualisation behemoth VMware, Ramaswami’s former employer and now his competitor. Was this a surprise and might this open up new opportunities, especially given public statements and the template example of Symantec, where Broadcom doubled-down on its largest customers?

“I hadn’t necessarily anticipated [the sale],” he says, “but VMware is a great company with great products and a great customer base. I do think that over time there will be more customers looking at alternatives. When a company goes through an acquisition, customers ask ‘what does that mean for me?’ Broadcom has indicated it is going to be more focused on profitability. It’s a different model [to VMware’s previous direction].”

Ramaswami’s exit from VMware led to a legal spat but adds that he is optimistic that the pair can work together sensibly, given the crossover in their respective customer bases and need to integrate and interact.

Dealing with the Great Resignation

Another opportunity could be to recruit from VMware’s numbers at a time when many in the tech sector (and outside it) are weighing their career options. Nutanix recently cited issues with retaining sales staff as having a disruptive effect on its performance as some saw greener pastures among pre-IPO companies.

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