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April 05, 2016


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Josh Coen

IMO i think you really need to beef up M&O layer if you want to consider VxRail a no-brainer. Can you provide some perspective on number of units sold? Is that a lot? Don't think you can compare against some others in their first 45 days due to when they entered the market, would love to hear comparisons against Hyperflex or others who have recently entered the market.


Just one question. Every hyper converged sold by dell are based on their own servers. What will happen to vxrail and vxrack Which are not based on dell hardware ?? I don't think dell would like to sell other hw than their own.

Chad Sakac

@Josh - thanks for the feedback. What specifically do you think we need to add to the M&O layer? There is already rich capability for single click cluster expansion, node refresh, fault and performance management. Would love input.

Re: perspective on unit count. Lemme try. There is no question amongst reasonable people that today Nutanix is the unit count/revenue leader in the HCIA space (though VMware is the leader in software that is deployed in hyper converged forms - both by revenue and customer count). In the updated Nutanix S-1 prospectus, they call out 2638 customers after their roughly 6 years in the market, 494 in the 3 month period ending at Jan 1, 2016. So - for perspective, in the 44 days that we were at it, our volume was somewhere around 55% of the volume of the market leader. I'd say that's a good start :-) Let's assume my math is wrong, dramatically in their favour - and it's roughly at 1/3rd. I'd still consider it a good start.

Ultimately, the milestones are our first 500 customer quarter, then when we cross 1000, 2000, and 5000 customers.

But - I think reasonable people would agree, there's a strong new player in town!

Re: Hyperflex - it's a head scratcher for me. WARNING - I don't claim to be an expert on any competitor.I get VICs and FEX uplinks on traditional converged infrastructure (they are a core part of Vblocks) - but I think that in hyper-converged infrastructure appliances, those add unnecessary cost relative to more industry standard hardware. Also - the core of any HCIA is two things: the SDS stack and the M&O stack. I would poke at the scaling limits, the performance behaviours (particularly with large load on the host). It LOOKS like there's a SDS controller that is pretty big (8vCPU and a lot of RAM) - perhaps someone can confirm/correct. Presumably you need a couple of those controllers. Thats a metric ton of resource utilization.

MOST importantly from a business standpoint - I simply don't get how an OEM (Hyperflex is based on an OEM of Springpath) of the things that actually MAKE the HCIA (the SDS and the M&O) will work. I think anyone who is dead serious about this space needs to invest, develop, and iterate that portion themselves. It's certainly our approach - we think we must own the responsibility of innovation and iteration in the SDS and M&O domain.

I think if Cisco was really serious in HCIA, they should go ahead and buy Springpath. I think spring path also has a very small number of customers in the installed base, and is a relatively new SDS. I'm sure their engineers are very bright, but it takes time for any storage stack to harden - and I hate to say it, but you only get that with volume of customers.

I don't know who else you were talking about, but if you ask, I'll share my thoughts (biased as I'm sure they are, but no baloney, will shoot straight).

Clearly the weak point of VxRail is simple. It's designed totally for vSphere. The following statements are true clear and sustained FOR vSphere focused customers: There will be no HCIA more integrated with vSphere. There will be no HCIA with a more clear support model - end to end inclusive of the hypervisor with NO HANDOFF, PERIOD. There will be no HCIA with a better performing SDS stack with vSphere. There will be no HCIA with a better VM-level policy model.

There will be customers who are all about Hyper-V. VxRail is not for them.

There are people who will be all about KVM. VxRail is not for them.

But - if a customer has standardized on vSphere - VxRail is a no-brainer.

Now, I'm SURE that competitors will put the fear of god knows what about "lock in" - but that's total hoo-ha.

If you pick Nutanix, you're "locked in" to NDFS, Prism, and you know they will push toward Acropolis.

Frankly, with any appliance, you're locked into the appliance for however long you have it. That's no better/worse that VxRail. But these days migrating on and off hypervisors and HCIAs is easy enough - that "lock in" at that layer is FUD (in my opinion). Compared to the lockin of a public cloud, or SaaS (!!), there's no lock-in at the infrastructure domain anymore.

Thanks for the question!

Chad Sakac

@KnThrack - thanks for the question!

There's no question that we're going to leverage the snot out of Dell's supply chain IF/WHEN the Dell/EMC merger goes through. We would be crazy not to!

1) it will lower the system cost.
2) it will broaden the range of VxRail platforms (1U1N, 2U1N, broad GPU support, etc)
3) it will be a more flexible supply chain (more build to order)
4) it will be a faster supply chain - it's no coincidence that Dell XC was the first Nutanix platform to support the latest Broadwell CPUs.

Dell is wicked awesome at 1, 2, 3, and 4. Of course, this isn't a offer from the combined company. It's two arms-length partners (Dell and EMC), and Dell is reselling VxRail and VxRack as they stand.

So, I think it's very fair to conclude that over time, should the Dell/EMC merger go through, we'll accelerate the offers with Dell based hardware - but VxRail and VxRack are compelling as they stand, and for customers that want them, and want them from Dell, they are now able to go that way!

Thanks for the question.


VxRail looks great, will be giving it a look in a couple of months. I just have a couple questions. I thought I read somewhere else where you will be offering CIFS/NFS/ISCSI on top of the VSAN storage. If so any approximation?

Second questions is limits of VSAN. It looks like a great product however one thing that holds me back on it is snapshots. The array vendors and HCIA can take hundreds/thousands of snapshots based upon schedules and keep them for days, weeks, months. To my knowledge VSAN can take a maximum of 32 per VM and I dont know if these can be scheduled or not either. I feel that this is a weakness compared to others and I would personally really like to see VSAN offer thousands of snapshots with scheduling. Can you comment on any down the road enhancements or if there is even any consideration to this?


** Disclaimer: I work for VMware in the Storage & Availability BU **

I cannot publicly comment on roadmap items and commit to timelines. I can however say that we are working on improving the current snapshot technology. I cannot imagine however that even in that case we will be talking about 1000s of snapshots of a given VM. Personally I have not encountered customers either with a use case for snapshots at that scale. I would be interested in knowing what your use case is @JR, feel free to drop me an email on duncan@yellow-bricks.com to discuss this. 1000s of snapshots becomes unmanageable really fast, even dozens per VM is very challenging, so would be interested in knowing what you would do with this capability.



Thanks for the follow up Duncan and Chad. I have emailed you at your provided address. This is just for others, not necessarily 1000 or more snapshots per VM but for all VMs in totality, certainly more than 32 per VM though.


VxRail looks great for VMware only shops and I am sure a significant % of newVxRail implementations will be integrated with Brocade VDX switchs over time. I have a question re. VxRack, are there any potential plans to integrate Brocade Data Center switchs & SDN solutions in the future with VxRack, as an alternative option to Cisco? IMO this would have significant appeal to many Enterprise/Data Center/IAAS/PAAS shops!

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