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Majority of Nutanix users now employ its homebrew hypervisor

Hyperconverged upstart says subscription transition remains on track and emerging products booming

Nutanix has claimed its homebrew AHV hypervisor now runs on 52 percent of nodes used by its customers.

The hyperconverged upstart made its name with a hypervisor-agnostic strategy that allowed its management stack to handle VMs created by VMware, Microsoft, and open-source virtualisation frameworks. AHV was revealed in 2015 and Nutanix quickly promoted it as a free alternative to rivals and one more reason to consider its stack.

Nutanix’s strategy later moved away from bundling its software with its own hardware, and then away from sales to subscriptions. In its Q3 earnings presentation on Wednesday the company said the latter transition is proceeding apace, as measured by new billings based on annual contract value (ACV) of $159.9m for Q3 2021 vs. $135.3 million for Q3 last year. Run-rate annual contract value – the total ACV for all contracts in effect at the end of the quarter – hit $1.45bn, up from 1.15bn a year back.

The company still recorded a net loss of $123.6m, but that figure was rather lower than Q3 2020’s $240.6m of red ink.

CEO Rajiv Ramaswami told The Register he was pleased to see sales of Nutanix’s emerging products – such as the Flow SDN and Era database-as-a-service – pop up in 39 percent of deals.

Ramaswami acknowledged that while AHV is doing well, it’s not a major market player. Nutanix may have moved past the 19,000-customer mark in this quarter, but that’s a small number compared to its rivals. Nutanix has maintained its hypervisor-agnostic stance, so AHV being present on a node doesn't mean a customer is all-in on the hypervisor.

But the CEO said one reason Flow has seen a surge in adoption is that it’s baked into AHV, making the free hypervisor a trojan horse for other Nutanix products.

Ramaswami also expressed confidence that over 600 new customers, and a total of 1,443 customers spending more than a million dollars with the company, indicate strength and resilience.

Resilience was on Ramaswami’s mind, as Nutanix operates substantial support and development operations in India. The CEO said staff there are displaying great resilience as they work through a huge second wave of COVID-19 infections, and that most staff will have been impacted by the pandemic. Nutanix has created teams to help those who fall ill find medical care.

The CEO also mentioned an analyst day scheduled for late June, and suggested to The Register that significant advances to Nutanix's product stack will be revealed on the day. ®

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