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Data Center & Storage Solutions

Dell Leads as Giants Cosy Up To New Datacentre Upstarts

The news that Dell will sell Nutanix’s software on a new line of servers underlines how the incumbents of server rooms are having to adapt rapidly for the new age of converged compute, storage and networking.

Nutanix currently sells its own server appliances, aimed at organisations that need to keep their data ‘hot’. That is, those that rely on shuttling changing information around at speed rather than having it reside in archives for years on end. And, although the model has provenance in the needs of internet companies like Google, these days that means a lot of companies across vertical sectors.

Dell started out as a low-cost PC maker that sold direct to buyers but over the years it has built up an arsenal of enterprise equipment and has increasingly competed with the likes of EMC, IBM, HP, NetApp and Hitachi in storage. Getting cosy with Nutanix is a way for Dell to have it both ways, retaining its traditional storage business but also offering the modern approach and on its own hardware too.

For Nutanix, which competes with VCE, SimpliVity (a company HP reportedly looked into buying), Pure Storage, Nimble Storage and others, the Dell deal will be a hot-key to more corporate acceptance because new buyers will have faith in the Dell brand and because Dell already has the channels and geographic spread only a mature company can muster.

“People love the [Nutanix] product but the procurement people are getting in the way,” said Nutanix’s Howard Ting when we spoke by phone. “We didn’t hit a wall but this is a way to capture a bigger market. Dell sees the market is really shifting and it’s a great moment for them in their turnaround story.”

Ting expects Dell to tout the new line, which will go under the XC name, for companies deploying virtual desktops, linking up remote branch offices, test/development and other tasks. Then, when proven, taking on the biggest workloads such as Microsoft Exchange messaging systems and databases.

The new wave of companies are growing at a remarkable rate, collecting huge sums from investors along the way and targeting early IPOs based on fat valuations. As business stagnates for the datacentre incumbents, expect more of these alliances —and some acquisitions too.

 

Martin Veitch is Editorial Director at IDG Connect

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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