Nutanix has teamed up with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to make its hyperconverged software available as a managed private cloud service and on HPE-branded appliances.
Analysts say the partnership, announced today, benefits both companies in their effort to broaden their appeal to enterprise customers that want to take advantage of hyperconverged infrastructure, which integrates servers, storage and virtualization into small form-factor appliances and is considered more cost-effective and easier to deploy and manage than traditional approaches.
Nutanix, which still sells its own HCI appliances but now focuses on selling its software for managing HCI environments, is making its Enterprise Cloud OS software available to enterprises as a pay-as-you-go private cloud service through HPE GreenLake.
The managed private cloud service will allow enterprises to take advantage of a hyperconverged environment in-house without having to manage the infrastructure themselves. More specifically, HPE GreenLake will install and manage the private cloud infrastructure using HPE hardware and Nutanix software on customers’ data centers or colocation facilities.
The two companies also announced that HPE and Nutanix are jointly developing HPE-branded appliances that integrate with Nutanix’s software.
“As our joint customers have been successful running our software on HPE servers, both companies realized that there was increasing demand for integration between HPE hardware and our software, so now we are bringing to market two different solutions to meet those demands,” Greg Smith, Nutanix’s VP of product marketing, told Data Center Knowledge.
Nutanix executives said the move expands the market for its Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software, which allows enterprises to run their applications and build infrastructure services in their own private clouds. It includes free virtualization software, software-defined networking and database management, and allows enterprises to manage their compute, storage, virtualization, and networking through a single pane of glass.
As for HPE, company executives said the partnership is important because it provides their enterprise customers with more choices as those customers pursue hybrid cloud strategies.
Both companies are currently among market share leaders in the fast-growing HCI market, which reached $1.9 billion in revenue during the 2018 fourth quarter according to IDC, a 57.2 percent increase from a year ago.
While Dell EMC ranks first in branded hyperconverged systems with a 28.6 percent market share, Nutanix ranks second with 14.8 percent of the market, followed by HPE with 5.4 percent. Nutanix is also a leader in HCI software with a 29.8 percent market share, ranking second behind VMWare’s 38.1 percent. HPE ranks third in HCI software sales with 5.4 percent.
Eric Sheppard, research vice president of IDC’s infrastructure systems, platforms, and technologies group, told us the partnership is a win-win for both companies.
“HPE talks about managing a considerable amount of infrastructure and that they do well when they give GreenLake customers a lot of choices. And having Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS as an option for customers is a powerful option,” Sheppard said. “Nutanix has done a great job making sure their software is working on as many server platforms as possible, and HPE brings a massive installed base of server users.”
Nutanix and HPE’s Coopetition
The two new offerings from the partnership – HPE GreenLake’s private cloud service running Nutanix software and the HPE-branded appliances integrated with Nutanix software – are expected to be available during the 2019 third quarter, the companies said.
HPE sells its own SimpliVity HCI products, so it does compete against Nutanix in the HCI market. But executives from both companies said the partnership is mutually beneficial.
Paul Miller, VP of HPE software defined marketing, told Data Center Knowledge that HPE will not cannibalize sales of its own products through the Nutanix partnership.
While HPE is developing new HPE-branded ProLiant and Apollo appliances integrated with Nutanix software, HPE will not be selling those products directly to its customers, Miller said. Nutanix and its partners will be selling the new HPE-branded appliances and HPE will focus its sales efforts on its own SimpliVity products, he said.
“We are an open company, both with GreenLake and our servers. (But) we think we have the best product with SimpliVity,” Miller added.
The partnership with Nutanix is about giving customers as many choices as possible, Pradeep Kumar, SVP and GM of HPE Pointnext, told us.
For example, HPE GreenLake makes multiple cloud offerings available to its customers, including virtualized environments from VMware and Microsoft as well as containerized environments. By partnering with Nutanix, HPE is making Nutanix’s free Acropolis hypervisor available to its customers, HPE executives said.
“Our experience has been to give choices to our customers,” Kumar said. “We are not caught up with any single player. We are very much agnostic to technology, and this definitely extends what we offer to our customers.”
As for Nutanix, the partnership with HPE is the latest in its efforts to get its software in as many hardware platforms as possible. The company has previously struck partnership agreements with Dell EMC, Lenovo, IBM, and Fujitsu to have its software preinstalled in their hardware, said Nutanix’s Smith.
“This new family of (HPE) appliances will appeal to customers that want Nutanix in an appliance format but want hardware to be HPE,” Smith said.