UPDATED 13:02 EST / NOVEMBER 11 2014

Dell is putting the converge in Nutanix’s hyperconvergence pitch | #DellWorld

Bob Wallace - Dell World 2014 - theCUBEAfter spending several years trying to carve itself a slice of the convergence infrastructure market to little avail, Dell Inc. finally changed strategies in June, teaming up with Nutanix Inc. to supply the hardware for its wildly popular hyperconverged appliances. Bob Wallace, the head of OEM sales for the fast-growing startup, appeared on SiliconANGLE’s theCUBE in a recent interview to share how the alliance is helping both companies pursue their respective goals with hosts Dave Vellante and Stu Miniman (full video below).

Initiated by a spontaneous phone call from a member of Dell’s enterprise product group, the partnership took only a few months to hammer out, according to Wallace. Nutanix, he explained, had quickly recognized what it stands from incorporating the hardware giant’s gear into its systems. Just a few quarters later, the startup is already reaping the fruits of the deal.

“One of the key elements of web-scale is hyperconvergenece: the fact that the compute, storage and all the elements are in a single box is critical and having the opportunity to work with Dell makes that a big chunk of our value proposition where before it was something we would, frankly, downplay,” Wallace told Vellante and Miniman.

Nutanix is delivering the benefits to customers in the form of the XC Web-Scale Converged Appliance, a Dell-branded box that hit generally availability last week and bundles its management software with the hardware maker’s PowerEdge R720xd rack server. The system comes with a standard hyperconvergence value proposition, promising to eliminate the need for IT organizations to waste time putting together and managing the individual hardware building blocks while simplifying scalability.

Wallace said that Nutanix customers typically use its appliances as a replacement for their traditional infrastructure, which sometimes bears Dell’s logo but more often tends to be equipment from competitors. “The majority of our wins is displacing legacy infrastructure with the web-scale approach, it’s a very different sale when we’re talking to the customer about how the data center should look in five years as opposed to what’s the speed of this drive or adding flash as a band-aid into a storage system,” he detailed.

Read more after the video.

Nutanix offers a highly compelling alternative to traditional hardware solutions from legacy vendors, but many of those suppliers have their own converged infrastructure solutions that offer many of the same advantage as the startup. According to Wallace, however many of his firm’s incumbent rivals have an entirely different definition of convergence that often only encompasses putting compute, storage and networking into a single chassis. Nutanix takes it a step further with its software, which makes it possible to manage the bundle as a single logical unit that can be stacked together with other systems to predictably scale an environment.

That simplicity makes the firm’s appliances – including the new XC – well-suited for a wide range of modern use cases, particularly virtual desktop infrastructure.”Not that we’re unique tailored towards VDI, but we found that because of the way we can scale IOPS and everything scales out as opposed to scaling up where you’re pushing it through two storage controllers we found a lot of success in VDI,” Wallace explained.

The partnership with Dell allows Nutanix to tap into the former’s massive sales to make its solutions available in markets it couldn’t reach as effectively on its own. And Wallace highlighted it’s not just customers who are benefits from the partners: Channel partners stand to gain as well. “We have a good number of partners that have been Nutanix channel partners that are Dell channel partners and up until now they might have had to choose one or the other,” the executive said. “Now they can work through the Dell channel program and get the best of both worlds.”

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