What you need to know about the new Nutanix, HPE partnership:
SHI's infrastructure experts break down what this partnership means for organizations like yours.

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Nutanix and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have teamed up to offer a new hybrid cloud as a service solution. If you haven’t heard the news before now, here’s the quick rundown: The offering will use Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud OS software and HPE GreenLake to provide customers with a fully HPE-managed hybrid cloud.

If this partnership gives you a case of déjà vu, you might be remembering the Nutanix-Dell announcement from a few years ago. Russell Cantwell, Principal Architect – SHI Advanced Solutions Group, imagines that last week’s announcement is a response to the strong competition between Nutanix and Dell EMC’s hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) offerings.

What does the Nutanix-HPE partnership mean for you and the industry as a whole? We asked some of our top experts for their insight on the news.

What have you heard about the Nutanix-HPE partnership so far?

Russell Cantwell: Everything I have seen points to this being an “as a Service” model delivered using HPE’s GreenLake model, which I think is great! When it comes to HCI, I tend to prefer the appliance-based approach, and this partnership is signaling tighter integration between Nutanix and HPE’s products in order to facilitate a true pay-per-use operating expense (opex) model that falls in line with the new FASB standards, effective as of January 1, 2019.

The solution itself seems to be setting up for a VM as a Service offering, leveraging AHV specifically, which tells me that HPE is likely to lead with SimpliVity for its VMware customers. That falls in line with the same approach Dell EMC took with Nutanix and with VxRail in the early days of their merger.

What was your first thought when you heard this news?

Mike Voss, Principal Architect – SHI Advanced Solutions Group: We have customers who are not ready to migrate to the cloud but are asking for cloud-like consumption models. This offering allows Nutanix to compete with public cloud while tapping into HPE’s global customer footprint and supply chain. You see the public cloud vendors competing in the hybrid cloud space with offerings like Azure Stack, AWS Outposts, and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) on premises.

The private cloud vs. public cloud battle is heating up, and ultimately the market is asking for choice.

Russell Cantwell: The news may create some initial confusion, but I think it is a smart move for both companies, as Dell EMC leads both in server and HCI sales. As the tech sector continues consolidating, alliances between competitors will continue to increase in value as we see strengths complementing strengths. Ultimately, this partnership is about choice, and I believe this additional choice and flexibility is a step in the right direction and a win for the customer.

My singular concern is the unknown of what happens to customers if the relationship sours. Only time will tell.

Do you think this partnership will help solve customers’ technology or business problems?

Mike Voss: I think this partnership offers a best-in-class solution for customers who want cloud-like consumption and agility in their private data center. Nutanix software aims to make the infrastructure invisible, just like the public cloud, allowing customers to focus on innovation and automation.

Are you excited to talk with your customers about this?

Russell Cantwell: If it makes sense for a customer to evaluate, then absolutely! I am excited from the standpoint of having another tool or model at my disposal to help my customers solve both technical and business-oriented challenges.

That being said, we always keep customers’ best interests in mind first and foremost, which means working with them to evaluate what makes the most sense for them and their business. They do not expect me to shove offerings in their face because they are new, but instead ensure that they are successful in whatever endeavor their company is embarking on, both now and in the future.

The bottom line on the new Nutanix-HPE partnership

Overall, this new offering is one of many solutions in the market that want to compete with public cloud. There isn’t much more available for us to share right now, but we’re continuing to evaluate how the solution could impact customers, and we’ll provide updates as they become available, both here and via social media.

As Mike Voss mentioned, we can only hope the customer experience and the overall economics of the offering stack up, making it compelling for companies wanting a private cloud solution as well as for companies currently in the public cloud that want an alternative.