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Nutanix consciously uncouples with move into software-only sales

HPE ProLiant and Cisco UCS-C for now, but it turns out Nutanix didn't ask HPE if it would play

Updated Nutanix has decided the time is right to sell more software, inking deals that will see its hyperconverged software-defined-everything stack sold with servers by HPE and Cisco.

The company already has deals with Lenovo and Dell, but both involve selling ready-to-roll appliances. These new deals will see Nutanix sell just software and certify it will work on certain servers, giving would-be-users the chance to assemble their own rigs.

The idea's not a major turnaround for Nutanix, as the company already sold standalone software to special customers who asked for it very, very, nicely. CEO Dheeraj Pandey also once told your correspondent that in its early days Nutanix contemplated selling only software, but decided customers would be happier with one throat to choke and therefore built appliances. Nor is the idea of selling a hyperconverged stack without hardware outlandish – VMware says its VSAN is going great guns and it is sold as code, albeit for servers that have been signed off as ready to roll.

Then there's the fact that Nutanix already sold standalone software for Cisco's UCS-C servers.

The new arrangements mean HPE's ProLiant and Cisco's UCS-B servers are now certified to run Nutanix's stack. The company says it's done this because it wants to offer prospects more choices and looks like it wants to expand those choices in the future because its canned statement says customers will have “... the option to transfer their software-only entitlements to another qualified third-party platform, including additional x86 servers anticipated to be validated at a later date.” The Register is willing to make a small wager that Cisco's storage-oriented UCS-S will make that list of additional servers before long (and notes that they were added to the servers-for-VSAN list a couple of weeks back).

Nutanix doesn't care if you buy new servers or run its code on old kit. Indeed, it reckons there's a chance organisations with existing UCS-B and ProLiant fleets are now candidates to become Nutanix-powered clouds.

Also new is a "Nutanix Go" plan that will let you acquire the company's wares as if they were operational expenditure. Just like you would with a cloud, Oracle hardware or Microsoft's forthcoming Azure Stack.

Nutanix has had a rough time of it lately, warning of sluggish sales, watching its share price tumble and wearing out the carpet as execs depart. Perhaps selling software alone will help turn that around.

The company's also wooing users of Citrix's XenServer, which as of this week's 5.1 release of the Nutanix stack can run that hypervisor. Nutanix has previously pitched itself as a fine option for running Citrix's Xen applications. Now it can run four hypervisors: Hyper-V, XenServer, vSphere and its own Acropolis. The new cut of the company's software also lets users blend all-flash and hybrid clusters and added container services. ®

Updated to add

It turns out Nutanix certified ProLiant's without asking HPE, which has sent us the following statement attributable to a spokesperson: "While it's nice that Nutanix recognizes our leadership in the server industry, there is no relationship between HPE and Nutanix."

HPE reckons those hankering for hyperconverged ProLiants should buy SimpliVity instead, natch.

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