News: Nutanix Climbs into Bed with Dell

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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