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Nutanix reassures channel in transition to software company

Nutanix launches partners services programme and pushes OEM relationships

Nutanix has again committed to transitioning to a subscription-based, software company.

While the vendor previously announced its plans to transition to a software-only company, it placed its relationships with appliance vendors like HPE front and centre during its annual NEXT conference in Copenhagen last week.

Nutanix EMEA channel & OEM lead Cyril VanAgt also highlighted the service opportunity available to partners with the move, announcing a new dedicated services programme, “where we will transfer our knowledge on everything that can be done around a new Nutanix project. So it’s not only the physical installation but the migration, the consulting that the partner can provide around digital transformation. It’s much more than the simple plug and play.”

The partner reaction appeared generally optimistic about the transition, saying that they appreciate the efforts by the vendor to smooth the way for the channel.

“I think they’re trying to help bring the channel with them in that move to subscriptions, to try and make sure that we’re comfortable with those changes,” Andrew Boyce, managing director of Nutanix partner, Eurotech, told Microscope.

Elsewhere, Tim Jeans, head of specialist sales at Softcat said while the changes have created some challenges for Nutanix with shareholders, “it’s been a really smooth transition, being able to articulate and help customers use the technology…they haven’t pushed it down anyone’s throat, they created the capability, and then gone to market and talked about it.”

Justyn Leonard, head of cloud transformation at Nutanix distributor Exclusive Networks told Microscope that Nutanix is positioning itself well “to ensure it remains relevant in a complex and dynamic cloud market.”

He said: “Moving to a subscription based model will provide customers with a greater level of choice and flexibility as their needs evolve. However, as it is a completely different model, the customer conversation is different – moving from having large chunks of revenue booked in a single hit, to it being recognised over a longer period. That has implications for revenue recognition as well as areas like compensation plans for staff within both Nutanix and their partner community.

“Whilst there will likely be some bumps in the road for Nutanix to get to where it wants to be with its subscription based model, ultimately I believe it’s the right thing for it to do.”

Partners also cautiously welcomed the partnership with HPE, although Jonathan Rump, Infrastructure Manager, Computer Service Centre said the company would be sticking with Nutanix’s own appliances for as long as possible.

“We have always been a fan of the hardware. Just because it’s a single vendor with a single contact for support if something goes wrong,” he told Microscope, adding the firm would likely move to the Dell EMC XC series should Nutanix phase out their own appliances, although the firm says it has no plans to do so at the moment.

Softcat’s Jeans also said that while “choice is great from a customer perspective”, Nutanix must learn lessons from its partnership with Dell.

“Dell wasn’t seamless from a customer perspective. You had competitive messages into a customer for a single project, which for a partner is difficult because you don’t feel like you should be mediating. We talk a lot about being vendor independent – understanding the success criteria and then identifying the right technology. But it's based on a plethora of options.”

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