On June 24, 2014, Nutanix released a statement that Dell has entered into an agreement to OEM Nutanix’s product and sell it globally. This is a big deal for Nutanix, as it has expanded its reach exponentially and now potentially could be front and center on Dell deals.

I can understand Nutanix’s marketing team’s going into overdrive on this; however, it is telling that Dell lacks a corresponding statement on the deal. A look at Dell’s newsroom reveals statements about the purchases of Silver Lake and StatSoft, but no mention of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) deal. Delving further, the last link in the “Dell in the News” section is dated June 20, 2014, and relates to the launch of the Dell Inspiron 11 machines. What about under “Press Releases”? Again, nothing about the new OEM deal.

There is a reason for this: Dell OEMs many things. Just ask Nexenta; Dell entered into an OEM agreement with it to sell its storage product.

Why am I saying this? Well, this is simple. Dell does not tend to lead with its OEM products. Its sales team is not trained in them and does not consider them unless explicitly asked by customers.

How do I know this? In my role as a consultant, I have engaged with customers that are Dell houses. When any of these customers were in the market for a new storage array, they approached Dell and received responses proffering Compellent or Equilogic arrays; when customers asked about Dell’s Nexenta-based offerings, Dell sales team members did not know what the customers were asking about.

The fact is that Dell is a very big company with a very large portfolio of products. Its sales teams can only know so much, and their go-to-market strategies will be based on:

  • What they know
  • What they can sell
  • What earns them the most commission.

And not necessarily in that order.

To sum up: yes, it is a good deal for Nutanix, and it may sell more units under the deal, but I feel that Dell could not care less about it. For Dell, it is just another OEM deal, a marriage of convenience until it either buys Nutanix outright or comes to market with its own converged appliance–based device, most likely based on VRTX.

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Tom Howarth (62 Posts)

Tom Howarth is an IT Veteran of over 20 years experience and is the owner of PlanetVM.Net Ltd, Tom is a moderator of the VMware Communities forum. He is a contributing author on VMware vSphere(TM) and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment, and the forthcoming vSphere a Quick Guide. He regularly does huge virtualization projects for enterprises in the U.K. and elsewhere in EMEA. Tom was Elected vExpert for 2009 and each subsequent year thereafter.

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1 comment for “News: Nutanix Climbs into Bed with Dell

  1. August 6, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Hello, I work for Dell and wanted to point out that the Nutanix relationship is indeed a significant one for our company. Not only does it further extend the breadth of Dell’s capabilities to support customers seeking an SDS-approach (current solutions include Dell hardware and support for VSAN, Spaces, Nexenta, InkTank, etc.) it also gives Dell an excellent web-scale/hyperconverged solution that’s ready for broad use today. The Dell appliance powered by Nutanix will be our first Dell branded solution among all of these mentioned SDS vendors.

    Not sure how Tom web searched, but Dell announced this partnership and pending XC Series appliance in two Dell-issued press releases on June 24. These news release distributed via Business Wire, and also at the Dell newsroom site here:
    http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/press-releases/2014-06-24-dell-software-defined-storage-portfolio and
    http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/press/releases/2014-06-24-dell-converged-infrastructure-workload-appliances

    Bob Plankers also covered this story for the Virtualization Practice.

    Thanks for the interest in Dell.

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