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Nutanix’s Mirani: The Real Scaling Will Happen Through Partners

Nutanix NEXT
Lorna Garey

Lorna Garey

Since going public in August, Nutanix has topped the 6,000-customer mark, including 57 of the Forbes Global 100, and is closing in on $1 billion in billing. As a reference point, when SVP of engineering Rajiv Mirani joined the company four years ago, he says it was driving, on an annualized basis, about $5 million in business. At the recent Nutanix NEXT conference, we sat down with Mirani to discuss how the company plans to increase adoption of its Acropolis hypervisor, as well as how it’s empowering CSPs and customers to move to an end-to-end cloud architecture.

The NEXT conference itself has grown during his tenure, from 900 at the first event in Miami to 2,200 last year in Vegas (we were there) to just about 4,000 last month. The conference was heavy on product and partnership announcements, most of them well-received by attendees. Highlights include an alliance with Google Cloud, announced by SVP Diane Greene, to enable a unified, full-stack cloud infrastructure; new Calm automation and life-cycle management software, based on Nutanix’s 2016 acquisition of Calm.io; Xi Cloud Services, which the company says will deliver a turnkey cloud service built from the same infrastructure stack with the same tooling and SLAs as the core Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform; and expanded partnerships with Veeam, HPE and other technology partners.

Nutanix's Rijav Mirani

Nutanix’s Rijav Mirani

Of course, it’s easy to lay out an aggressive road map. Delivering is another matter.

“We are big believers in strategy — of course you need to have a strategy, and it needs to be coherent, and it needs to make sense,” said Mirani. “But then it’s going to all come down to execution, right? The world, at the end, is not an intellectual exercise.”

Here’s our Q&A with Mirani, edited for length and clarity.

Channel Partners: Out of all the announcements, which one excites you the most?

Rijav Mirani: There are some things that are definitely more strategic to the company, that from a customer standpoint, it gives them reassurance that when they look at Nutanix, it’s not a company whose technology they use just as point products; it’s a company they can really use to re-platform and rethink their infrastructure.

We have a lot of performance and availability improvements — these are things that customers will use literally tomorrow, as soon as the release goes out.

If you look at Calm, that’s a big piece, because they’ve been saying, “Look, you’ve simplified the infrastructure, but I need to get that last cloud infrastructure layer for automation and provisioning and then life-cycle management.”

We expect a lot of customers very quickly to start playing with it and then, depending on what they think, actually deploy it in production. And then when you look at …

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