Nutanix recently announced that they’ve independently tested their hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution to run on Cisco UCS servers. I’ve seen much confusion on Twitter. There’s an assumption that Cisco and Nutanix has entered an OEM relationship. Tweets like below may add to that confusion.
However, this is a pure Nutanix only play. Nutanix has proactively validated their HCI platform for Cisco Rack mounted configuration. Cisco seems fully focused on their Springpath OEM deal. I’m sure this is a pure economic decision. As my good friend Howard Marks points out all of the profit is in the software layer of HCI. I’ve shared in the past the reason for the Cisco Springpath deal is for Cisco to capture more of the HCI revenue.
So what does this functionally mean for customers? If I were a Cisco UCS customer and I wanted Nutanix software on my UCS servers I’d look at this as an encouraging event. Is this enough? It depends on your level of tolerance for risk for the applications you run on the platform. For risk adverse environments this may not be enough. Both Cisco and Nutanix are members of TSAnet. The membership means that the two organizations will work together to solve any customer support issues.
Cautious customers will ask the question why isn’t there a formal agreement for something that’s essentially an appliance? The most cautious of enterprise customers will want as many assurances as possible. The “one throat to choke” support model is appealing. Hardware providers offer OEM support from everything from Windows Server to VMware vSphere and SAP HANA. If support issues are encountered the H/W provider will handle the call from soup to nuts.
For customers looking to simply run Nutanix’ software on a validated configuration without the need of mission critical support this solution is sufficient. Overall, I like the move by Nutanix. It’s a good first step in decoupling the software from the hardware platform. I’d like to see official OEM partnerships to gain a higher level of support for organizations more sensitive to support.