Published: August 18th, 2016

The leading hyperconvergence vendor has expanded its third-party hardware partnerships to another vendor. Following recent partnerships with Dell and Lenovo, Nutanix has expanded its partnerships to include Cisco Systems.

Now, joint partners of both Nutanix and Cisco have the option to sell Nutanix hyperconvergence software on top of Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). The announcement follows months after Cisco tried to buy Nutanix to build out its own hyperconvergence portfolio. Nutanix turned down a reported US$4 billion acquisition offer, resulting in Cisco changing gears and striking a partnership with SpringPath to bring its HyperFlex hyperconvergence system to market.

HyperFlex is built on top of Cisco UCS, but appears to have yet to gain significant traction — certainly not compared to Nutanix’s hyperconvergence platform, which is the dominant product in the market. Partners either not convinced of HyperFlex’s capabilities or those simply looking for an alternative while also continuing to sell UCS now have another option.

“What Nutanix has done over the last 12 to 18 months is really evolved from being a product company to much more of a platform company,” said Greg Smith, senior director of product and technical marketing at Nutanix, in an interview with CDN. “Evidence of that is our ability to run our enterprise cloud platform software on a variety of hardware appliances and servers. Today, we give customers enormous choice. They can run on a Nutanix-branded appliance, and we also have OEM relationships with Dell and Lenovo.”

Smith added: “After independently verifying our solution, we now hope to work with Cisco to get the official certification to address the significant market demand to benefit both the companies.”

Add Cisco into the mix, and Nutanix has a strong lineup of third-party vendor partners to further expand its presence in the hyperconvergence space. When asked about other potential future partnerships, Smith wouldn’t confirm any were in the works, but he noted Nutanix would be open to considering other hardware platforms for its hyperconvergence software.

Cisco UCS’s strong position in the convergence space makes it a potentially lucrative partnership for partners of both vendors. According to Smith, the relationship with Cisco was struck mostly because of customer demand.

I would consider this a meet in the channel partnership. Nutanix is the leading hyperconverged brand today and many Cisco UCS customers are interested in running Nutanix on their UCS infrastructure,” said Matthew Eastwood, senior vice president of IDC’s enterprise infrastructure and data centre group.

With the Cisco partnership, Nutanix’s 100 per cent channel go-to-market strategy doesn’t change, but it provides more flexibility in how its hyperconvergence platform is delivered. Smith noted that it also offers Cisco partners increased sales opportunities while increasing the value of UCS.


“It provides the expanded opportunity for Cisco UCS partners to sell UCS by offering the most popular hyperconverged software in the market,” Smith said.

Both companies will provide support separately — Nutanix for its software and Cisco for its hardware. The two vendors will provide joint support through TSANet.

While Nutanix won’t be a Cisco certified ISV (at least for now) Nutanix can provide Nutanix on UCS with the hope that a growing pipeline will pressure Cisco to formalize a joint go-to-market and support relationship,” Eastwood said. “Cisco has made their own bet with HyperFlex, which will continue to have favoured nation status from Cisco at least for now. But in the end, ecosystems follow customer demand, and if the demand is there, Cisco will respond in due time.”