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March 25, 2015

Comments

Josh Odgers

I couldn't agree more with Point #5, Customer support is critical and this is why Nutanix focuses on it. Its probably worth in fairness to your readers that you provide facts, so he is some.

Nutanix won for the Second year in a row, the NorthFace ScoreBoard Award and has the highest Net promoter score of any Hyperconverged or traditional storage company.

Net promoter score +88
Customer Satisfaction 9.6 out of 10

Also Nutanix can and does support vSphere, we just don't get paid for it, however we feel its in our customers best interests to only have to make one call, so we handle everything for them.

I'll respond on some other points in a blog. :)

Happy to discuss over email if you would prefer.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Josh. NPS scores are good and all that (VMware has an exceptionally high score, BTW).

My point was simple: since Nutanix is not entitled to distribute or support VMware products, how do you avoid putting customers in the middle?

-- Chuck

Michael Webster

Hi Chuck,

Nutanix does support VMware customers and we often file bug reports on their behalf (if it's not a configuration or design problem). We are a VMware Partner and have a comprehensive support structure set up with VMware. Including the addition of being a full TSANet Member. In addition to that we have more VMware Certified Design Experts on staff than any other company on the planet other than VMware. But we offer the same high quality of support not only for VMware, but also Hyper-V and KVM. Whatever the customers chooses, we've got their back. One support call does it all. Now that's leadership.

Fermin (NTNX support)

Hi Chuck,

About your point above, at Nutanix tech support, we try to assist our customers with non-Nutanix problems when they ask us, doesn't VMW support do that as well?

We have VCPs and VCAPs in the support team; furthermore, several of us are VMware support alumni. There is obviously a point in time when we have to open cases with a 3rd party, but that is also true with many, if not all, support teams; I know I had to use TSANet a few times when I worked in VMW support.

IMHO, going the extra mile is putting the customer first, not in the middle.

Cheers

Chuck Hollis

Hi Nutanix folks

As I mentioned in my post, the normal practice is that we all use best efforts to keep customers from being put in the middle.

But the fact that Nutanix is not a vSphere OEM is significant. This means that Nutanix is not entitled to support VMware customers, period. Any support you provide is not "official".

Other hyperconverged vendors have made the decision to be vSphere OEMs. Thus they are entitled to distribute VMware software, and directly support customers.

Bottom line: your model puts customers in a "gray area".

-- Chuck

Josh Odgers

To clarify, what number are you referring to when you say an exceptionally high NPS?

I would say Nutanix with +88 is exceptionally high, wouldn't you agree?

Regarding support, Nutanix is a certified and supported (by VMware) platform for vSphere, I know, I personally completed and submitted the certification work. We have Base Storage Certification, Storage Virtual Appliance and VAAI-NAS.

No grey area at all. Customers can call VMware for support if they wish but when the customer calls Nutanix support, we do that on their behalf (if required) to ensure a great support experience.

Not to mention we have 12 VCDXs at Nutanix to call on!

I also totally agree "a good hyperconverged environment should reasonably support the same everyday virtualization functionality and workflows you already use." - Nutanix does exactly this with things like FT & VAAI-NAS support.

Thanks for your support.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Josh.

I'm not sure what we've published for a customer support NPS number -- last one I saw was 92, but we're splitting hairs here.

I think you're confusing a few things here. Because Nutanix is not a vSphere OEM, you're not entitled to provide direct support to customers. That's the business decision Nutanix made. Some people will care about this, others maybe not so much.

If that fact is incorrect, please let me know. I checked it quite thoroughly before making the claim.

Nutanix providing unofficial customer support for both VMware and Nutanix products is not the same thing as saying Product X works -- and is supported -- with vSphere.

But I think you know that ...

-- Chuck

Michael Webster

Hi Chuck,

I'm a bit confused. What exactly do you mean unofficial support? Can you quantify that? What I think you mean is that Nutanix can't Sell VMware Support SKU's and therefore can't provide the support delivered by those SKU's like the other OEM vendors do. The OEM Vendors Sell VMware Support SKU's and then they also deliver those SKU's directly to their customers. Please correct me if that is not what you mean.

In that case, I'm glad that's how we've decided to do things. This is a lot better for the customers. Customers can call Nutanix Support for the one stop shop, Or if they choose they have a direct route to VMware Support if needed, as they pay for official VMware Support (S&S) with their licenses.

With OEM support, customers are prevented from calling VMware Support directly. Not in our model. In our model, customers can phone Nutanix for the one stop support or still continue to phone up VMware support directly if they choose. Also as our model requires a VMware partner to sell the licenses and support S&S, so the VMware partner is winning as well. Our model is all about the customers and partners. That's just how we've decided to do it. So I'm glad we're not an OEM.

We deliver all of the benefits, including being able to log bugs on customers behalf, without any of the drawbacks, such as preventing customers from calling VMware support directly if they way. Also if a customer chooses that they need a Business Critical or Mission Critical Support product from VMware, there is nothing preventing them from having it. Best of all worlds.

Fermin Echegaray

EDS and VMware Earn Top Net Promoter Scores According to New Temkin Group Research of Tech Industry

With an NPS of 48, EDS came out with the top score followed closely by VMware with 45.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/eds-and-vmware-earn-top-net-promoter-scores-according-to-new-temkin-group-research-of-tech-industry-269199231.html

Fermin Echegaray

Sorry, I pushed the Post button too soon, I wanted to add that jumping from 45 to 92 is definitely a great improvement, if the metrics have not changed, then the guys in support deserve big kudos

Chuck Hollis

Hi Michael

I'll go back to the beginning. My assertion is that key value proposition for any form of hyperconverged is simplicity in all its aspects. I think you'd agree with that.

One important aspect of simplicity is customer support experience. A single customer support provider is inherently better than two, three, etc. no matter how good. One throat to choke and all that.

The honest truth is that a great deal of your product is based on vSphere, which Nutanix is not entitled to support. Take away vSphere, there wouldn't be much to look at.

What I've heard from you and the other Nutanix folks is basically "hey, yeah we know we're not entitled to provide vSphere support to end users, but we've got these great VCDXes etc. and we'll take care of you because we mean really well".

In my opinion, that's a poor substitute for making the investment to do it the right way. Some customers will be OK with your approach. Some won't.

Regardless, I think Nutanix should be transparent to customers regarding what services they are entitled to provide, and which ones they aren't.

Because, at the end of the day, it's really all about customers, isn't it?

-- Chuck

Chuck Hollis

Hi Fermin

You need to dig a little deeper. There are NPS scores for "company brand", "products", "support", etc. The ones you shared I believe are for company brand, e.g. how do you feel about the company as a whole.

The scores we were discussing were specific to customer support.

-- Chuck

fffr

Why don't you retitle your blog 'why VMware is ahead of nutanix'. I dont know why you would want to justify yourself against nutanix, but oh well

E1_ang

Thanks for sharing this Chuck.

BTW, I'm not joining the discussion above :-) No intention.

I'm just sharing that the integration to vSphere is an important factor for my customers. I only serve a handful of FSI accounts, who have been using vSphere for years. One bought VSAN + NSX because they see it as an engineering extension of vSphere. The same UI matters to them as they want a single pane of glass to manage their IaaS.

Michael Webster

Hi Chuck,

Sorry, but I'm not sure I quite understand what you're saying. If what you appear to be saying is correct it means that none of VMware's thousands of partners could give design or configuration advice to customers at all, and could not support their customers in any way. Now we know that isn't the case, as VMware makes a big deal about how valuable the partner ecosystem is for customers.

So if this is the case I would say VMware hasn't been transparent at all with their customers or their partners. It would also mean there is absolutely no value in any of VMware's certification programs. So is this what you're saying?

From what I understand though, this is not the case. Any customers with paid up VMware SnS are entitled to support with VMware directly (if they choose), so there is no gray area. Partners are also entitled to provide whatever commercial support models as they choose and as customers agree, and to whichever SLA's they agree. The VMware Partners are experienced and provide great customer solutions and great customer support for the end to end solution, for which vSphere is often a small component.

If we've got this wrong, then VMware needs to come clean. Remember VMware Partners are the people who generate all of VMware's revenue.

Josh

Chuck,

I wanted to comment on your claim that VMware has the best product ecosystem and support. My experience has been that VMware over promises and under delivers and just plain screws over customers to serve VMware's best interest and not the customer's best interest. VMware is a well oiled selling machine. But a well oiled engineering and support organization? VMware is profit focused and not customer focused and customers are starting to feel it and look for other solutions.

When's the last time you actually called VMware Support as a customer? I bet you have access to the SR database. I'll give you some SR numbers to go look up to see if VMware really delivered the kind of support you are claiming.

I've come to feel that instead of focusing on supporting the customer's mission VMware focuses on trying to drain their IT budget. I'm tired of vRAM, VCOPs, NSX, Horizon Workspace... it seems like the answer to all our IT problems is going to be to give VMware money because they have the best solution and the one belly button for us to push. Can you tell that a few sales dudes have used that argument on me before? It gets kind of old after hearing it for the past few years.

VMware takes away functionality from existing products so they can sell the same functionality as a separate product. I'll give you an example. vCNS was a great feature that added value to vCloud. VMware just decided that it was EOL. So the vCloud SKU that came with a networking feature no longer has a networking feature. VMware's solution? Well you can buy NSX for the low price of... WTF? Taking away features from a product and telling me to buy them again is NOT SUPPORTING ME.

I don't think VMware should get into pissing contests with startups. VMware has a bajillion dollars... that money comes from customers. VMware should be able to invest that into their product and make it awesome enough to defend itself. The fact that startups are popping up and gaining traction should make VMware wonder what they are not delivering that makes their customers start looking at other solutions. VMware needs to add value to our organizations, not drain value from our budgets. VMware has made us a lot of promises in the past... how about they start keeping some?

P

Ok let me try to understand this correctly - you are essentially saying partners of VMware aren't really great because they don't build and distribute the hypervisor? Thumbs up for standing behind your partners VMware!

Last I checked, VMware did not build and ship Oracle, Exchange, SQL and every other workload in the enterprise today, so does the argument apply there as well? Can I turn back and build a top 10 reasons to go with Hyper-V and list that as a reason since Microsoft ships Hyper-V and SQL? I'd been a VMware fan for a long time - it was once a company with great ideas that could take on bigger companies. Now it is the same bully that it once fought against. Innovation has slowed down, VSAN 2.0 gets shipped as VSAN 6.0 because of some marketing douchebagery, bullying smaller companies has become the norm, losing market share to Microsoft and what not.

You should realize that at the end of the day top 10s like these will only hurt customers. They are like short skirts - gives enough to keep people interested, but hides the most interesting part.

Lets go through the list one by one now:

1."As far as claims to "market leadership" — without the power and presence of the VMware vSphere platform, there wouldn't be a converged or hyperconverged market to argue about" --> Really? WTF! Is that VMware saying screw you vSphere partners ... we are the big guys and we will act like bullies?No company in this planet is indispensable. Every software vendor is realizing it. So I would definitely watch the arrogance.
2. "There shouldn’t be a need for a separate management interface" - Doesn't EVO:RAIL have a separate management interface? Or do you just use vcenter?
3. Re: hardware choice - your point is moot. When you talk about its all in the software in your first point, why does this point matter as much? All EVO RAIL partners ship the same hardware config as far as I can see so its not like they have much of a choice.
4. #7 are you shamelessly pitching NSX here?
5. #8 - you missed public clouds in your hybrid cloud story. Seems like an obvious miss there. Its probably because you dont enable native integration wit public clouds that every storage vendor offers today?
6. #10 - Thats just high-handed BS. EVery vendor will claim that their customer trusts them. There is a mom and pop store down the road from where I live and they make the same claim as well. Good to hear etc., but doesn't mean much.

Anyway I will end my long post here. Shame on you VMware for falling from grace. You are not the company I once adored. Your products don't market themselves anymore. It requires dense posts like these to sell your products.

--P

Mike Johnson

Watching this unravel is getting a little pathetic. Honestly you lead a market based on the number of sales. Right now Nutanix is ahead based on the actual shipping product. Everyone else is playing catchup. It's as simple as that. I'm sure VMware will also make a splash but it's too soon to say VMware leads this space. VMware leads the hypervisor market and that can give them an edge to become a strong contender. What's sad is that VMware is spreading thin and trying to tackle everything meanwhile losing ground in the hypervisor market. I can't keep count how many customers have stopped paying for support, brought hyper-v into the mix and even scaled up boxes while cutting cores to keep up with budget contraints that keep getting challenged by ever rising support costs. In the SLED space hyper-v simply makes sense. I think VMware should think really hard about how they can continue to keep dominance in the hypervisor market before they lose their own customer base to sell their value add that relies on ESXi like view, vrac, air, etc..

Chuck Hollis

Chuck here ...

A reminder of the house rules?

1. Identify who you are and who you work for, e.g. vendor, etc.
2. You can disagree; you can't be disagreeable
3 Try to add some value to the conversation if possible

Other than that, please feel free to leave your comments here.

Thanks!

Mostafa Magdy

I have a feeling that this is starting to get too personal, just to try and prove one party is better than the other.
Putting the customer first, i would leverage such a blog "along with the commentary" to make sure we all deliver a better customer experience everyday.

I always say, every company is in the market for a reason, they all have innovative solutions and it always boils down to what's the right solution for the right customer at the right price.

Competition is always good for customers but coopetition is better. After all we all strive to achieve better customer satisfaction.

my two cents ..

Chuck Hollis

Chuck here

Nice to hear from all the Nutanix folks. No one has come back to me to disprove my core assertion from #5 regarding customer support.

I stated that, since Nutanix has chosen not to be a vSphere OEM, they are not entitled to distribute software, nor are they entitled to provide support for VMware products. Other hyperconverged vendors have decided to be vSphere OEMs, and -- as a result -- they are entitled to both distribute VMware products and provide direct end-user support for them. That's the state of play today.

Any disagreement? No, I didn't think so :)

As a result, customers might be put in an awkward multi-vendor support situation, despite everyone's best efforts. I feel that should be transparently disclosed.

Agree with the statements around competition is good, choices are good, etc. Informed consumers make better choices.

Which is why I wrote the blog post.

-- Chuck

Josh Odgers

Question: How many customers run 100% of workloads on VSAN?

Answer: I recall hearing a stat from VMW that 1200 customers have VSAN licensing. So 498800 VMware customers don't even have VSAN. So at best about 0.25% of VMware customers could theoretically run 100% on VSAN, in reality that wouldn't be the case though.

Result: The remaining 498800 (of the 500k) VMware customers have "awkward multi-vendor support situation" as you put it where they have to call a storage vendor for support.

Now your come back will probably be, something like Vendor X,Y,Z provide OEM support for vSphere so they are a one throat to choke, great!

Now let's not BS each other, vendors X,Y,Z escalate back to VMware GSS all the time, just like a non OEM vendor (like Nutanix) does especially for things like Bugs which OEM vendors don't fix.

So what's the difference in the support for OEM vs non OEM vendors, Nothing significant.

According to you every VMware customer (who is not 100% VSAN) who uses product from non OEM partners would have an "awkward multi-vendor support situation"?!

Luckily Nutanix NPS shows we have excellent (arguably market leading) support so nothing awkward about it from our customers perspective.

Thanks for helping highlight one of Nutanix competitive advantages.

Final Thought: I wonder how all VMware's non OEM partners/vendors feel about you calling their support "awkward".

Josh Odgers

Just checked VMware's NPS (measured through Temkin) for the last three years:

2012: +48
2013: +47
2014: +45

Very good! But not as good as +88 (Nutanix)

Chuck Hollis

Hey Josh - I know you've got your competitive juices flowing, but I'd suggest taking a deep breath. I don't think you're doing yourself or your company any favors.

Just sayin'

First, regarding NPS I don't think you're comparing the right numbers. I think the goal is to compare customer support numbers (that is what we were talking about, right?) I don't know if we use Temkin or not, but our customer support NPS was 92 last time I checked.

On your second point, one of the key value propositions behind hyperconverged is "extreme simplicity". Not every shop in the world is interested in hyperconverged for everything they do. But for those that are, one could argue that single vendor support is simpler/easier than multi-vendor support.

We both know that multi-vendor support is the norm in many of today's environments. We all make it work. But when we're discussing hyperconverged and its merits, the measurement system changes.

But, once again, you're not addressing the point I raised.

Nutanix is not a vSphere OEM, thus not entitled to distribute and support VMware products. That creates an avoidable multivendor situation. Going further, I think there's clear evidence that Nutanix hasn't been exactly transparent with its customers about the support situation.

BTW, I raised 9 other points in the blog post. I guess you agree with all of those, or don't believe them to be relevant?

-- Chuck

FinerRay

Hello Chuck, long time reader first time commenter and now a member of twitter. I have been a VMware customer for over 10 years now and really enjoy the ride I have been on. Thanks to VMware for bringing a great product to market. We are now a Nutanix customer and are very happy with support, performance and reliability. In my opinion a real home run combination.

My question to you is does VMware really want to be the hyperconverged leader? We tested Nutanix and VSAN about a year ago and there really was not a comparison. I love VMware and we of course choose VMware as they hypervisor, but for the distributed local storage and manageability, performance during rebuild and over all ease of use Nutanix, the product reliability really shined above VMware VSAN. I am sure things have improved on the VSAN side with 6 and I give VMware a lot of credit, because VSAN is much better than the VSA, I think it is meaning to replace.

My point is does VMware really want to try to compete with an innovative company like Nutanix and go feature for feature with Nutanix? In my limited and un-sophisticed look at things, VSAN can and does have its place, but when you try to do everything that a storage array or feature that Nutanix is doing with its distributed file system and shove all of that into the kernel of hypervisor you have to have some loss of security and reliability. Is NSX (another hot button topic) in kernel or is it a VSA? I think it is a virtual appliance but I'm not sure. vSphere 5.1 was the worst release of any VMware product in a long time 5.5 has been great and I hope that introducing all of this VSAN stuff into the kernel does not compromise all that “we” VMware worshipers have loved for so many years….reliability.

Thanks again. Ray

Richard Houghton

Hi all,
First up, I work at Dell as a Solutions Consultant:
I’d just like to point out that if customers are concerned about support issues raised by Chuck in this blog post, they could consider a Dell XC solution powered by Nutanix. This gives customers that single number to call for all support related issues. Similarly, if customer workloads determine that EVO:RAIL or vSAN are a better fit, we’ll support that as well.

Chuck, re your comment “the value proposition of hyperconverged derives from integrating infrastructure in software”. I disagree with this statement. I believe the value is providing predictability and simplicity. The path to providing predictability and simplicity may well be via “integrating infrastructure in software” aka software defined, but lets not confuse the value proposition with an approach taken to achieve it.

-- Richard (@StrategicalIT)

Chuck Hollis

Hi Ray -- always appreciate hearing from people in the trenches. If you're spoofing me, you've done good, because you sound like the real thing.

If you go back a year? Yes, I would agree. VSAN was just coming to market, and there were rough edges as you'd expect. Myself and the team have been working feverishly to hammer things out -- the level of energy has been exceptional. And I'm proud of where we are today.

Your first great question -- does VMware want to be a hyperconverged leader? The answer is unequivocally yes. We think by embedding certain core functions in the hypervisor (storage and networking) we can bring major game-changers for customers.

From my historical geek perspective, it's an unprecedented opportunity, if you think about it.

The clever bit with VSAN (and NSX) is to put key optimizations into the ESXi kernel, then integrate the experience with what vSphere admins do every day. We've got strong evidence that this is the right way going forward, and we're dedicatted to execute. Right or wrong, we're committed.

And, as you point out, the challenge is to execute on this vision without compromising what makes vSphere so attractive. Personally, I like what I see so far.

But all this advanced engineering will mean nothing unless we can validate it in the eyes of people like you. I'd encourage you to take a hard look at VSAN 6 (as well as the NSX roadmap). I like what I see.

I can only hope you can say the same :)

-- Chuck

Storage In Wellington

Well, it's really some interesting points in this post But the fact that Nutanix is not a vSphere OEM is significant. This means that Nutanix is not entitled to support VMware customers, period.

arthur

why is this a post pissing contest between vmware and nutanix.
i dont know anybody who made a purchasing decision based on the NPS score.

Chuck Hollis

HI, all, Chuck here ...

Over the weekend, Josh Odgers at Nutanix published a rather lengthy post on performance and architectures. I don't think any of his arguments hold water, and said so in the comments.

Josh's post and my response is here:

https://www.joshodgers.com/2015/03/30/in-kernel-verses-virtual-storage-appliance/#comment-24828

Mike Smith

I wonder if the mainframe vendors argued this way over user terminals, while the PC revolution made them redundant :(

The fact is that anyone (everyone) is moving client infrastructure to the cloud and the cloud providers are moving it to OpenStack.

I'd have thought that if you wanted to know the leader in Hyper-Convergence by customers, shipped or production units, then it's OpenStack & Ceph.

If you want the leader in $$$, then your kind'a missing the point no??

P.s. I don't represent any vendor, partner or SI.

Lukas Lundell

Hello Chuck,

Lukas, from Nutanix here.

The way you are presenting Nutanix's VMware support is misleading.

We don't sell VMware software. We don't sell or make money off the support of VMware's software. Nutanix customers who happen to run VMware as a hypervisor will need to have support contracts with both VMware and Nutanix to be officially supported by both the best of breed hypervisor vendor and the best of breed hyper-convergence software.

If they have an issue in which they don't know if its VMware or Nutanix, they are welcome to call Nutanix and we will do everything we can to help resolve the issue, including contacting the hypervisor vendor (VMware in this case) on their behalf. Or they are welcome to use the VMware "official" channel that you mention with the support contract they should have with VMware with their purchase of VMware software.

I would recommend to any of Nutanix customers using the VMware hypervisor that they do have an active VMware support contract.

In this case, why does it matter if we aren't the "official" channel when we are able to successfully troubleshoot and resolve a customers issues with VMware? If its a code issue with the hypervisor that requires a bug fix, it will obviously need to go to VMware development and we would help file the bug.

Bottom line here, our joint customers should never be in any grey area. Almost all of them already have VMware support contracts, and have had VMware support contracts for a long time. Some prefer to call Nutanix anyways, even for hypervisor-related issues... because we wan't to help them fix as much as we can. Ask them.

Last thing - several of the people on our support team used to be in key roles (ie global escalation team) within Cisco UCS, NetApp, and VMware support. Same with our development team.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Mike

Having been there when PCs replaced mainframe terminals, you do have a point :)

While it's true that the use of cloud services are growing, the majority of IT spend within enterprises these days is still for on-premises gear. That may change in the future, though.

Similarly, OpenStack is growing, but it's still got a ways to go in terms of market share, but there's no denying its popularity. At VMware, we're starting to offer VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO, as everything needs an acronym) which offers a better out-of-the-box experience, while still preserving the OpenStack model.

Regarding OpenStack and Ceph -- yes, it's in use, no doubt -- but it's a rare beast in the enterprise these days. Cloud providers and service providers, different story -- although you'd be surprised as to how many traditional storage arrays you'd find in a service provider shop.

Interesting tidbit -- ask any of the big cloud players where they run their boring day-to-day IT stuff, and it usually *won't* be on their cloud :)

-- Chuck

Chuck Hollis

Hi Lukas

Thanks for disclosing your affiliation -- it helps everyone understand where you're coming from.

As I read your comment, you and I agree. Shocking, I know. Nutanix supports their components, VMware supports ours -- and we both work together to keep our mutual customers as happy as possible.

However, we found that many customers erroneously thought Nutanix was entitled to provide support for VMware products. I then took a look at your marketing materials, and it tended to lead people to believe that Nutanix provided single support for both Nutanix and VMware products.

Actually, it was pretty misleading :)

So I decided to set the record straight. Whether the official support arrangement matters (or not) to a customer is their call, not ours. But I feel they do need the facts to make informed choices.

-- Chuck

Lukas Lundell

For several years Nutanix was entitled to provide "official" VMware support. I helped sign that agreement in the end of 2011/early 2012.

Two years later as we grew in size, VMware wanted a boatload of money and promises around revenue from us, and said they would end our ASP/OEM agreement if we didn't pay up. In the same breath they were working to acquire companies and launch a competitive product, in an effort to compete with us. Meanwhile, we've never sold or made any money off VMware software or support.

So we decided to stop being an VMware ASP/OEM. It was becoming a one-sided relationship. We shouldn't need to buy "protection or security". We don't think VMware has the right to give us a "shakedown".

Competition for hyperconverged is a good thing, and we've welcomed it. But using your monopoly position in the hypervisor market to oppress up and comers is not good for the market, and I don't think the market will tolerate it.

So no, we are no longer entitled by VMware to provide support for VMware products and customers should also have a contract with VMware if they are using their software for the hypervisor layer. But we stand by our marketing and support commitment as a single throat to choke. We continue to help many of our customers through hypervisor configuration and troubleshooting issues (along with VDI, SQL, Oracle, etc.).

Chuck Hollis

Lukas -- sorry you're so bitter, but part of being a good partner is making sure everyone plays by the same rules, Nutanix included. A level playing field, and all that.

Channel partners can resell VMware products, and provide support. OEM partners can resell VMware products, and provide support. EVO RAIL partners can resell VMware products, and provide support.

There's a pattern here. And, if you think about it, it makes sense for our partners and customers as well. If you sell something, you should be entitled to support it.

Nutanix made a business decision not to resell VMware products, so -- unfortunately -- not entitled to provide support.

Thanks

-- Chuck

Randy Arseneau

Chuck:

First off, my official disclaimer: I work for Nutanix. I've also probably been at this as long as or longer than you have, so I suspect we probably share some similar frames of reference and points of view on this industry.

That said, while I'm sure Lukas appreciates your diagnosis, and although I don't want to speak for him (nor does he need me to do so), I'm pretty sure he's not at all bitter. In fact, Lukas, like all of my colleagues here, thoroughly enjoys developing, delivering and supporting a great solution portfolio that supports and enables our shared customers very well indeed. It tends to make us the polar opposite of bitter, to be honest. :)

Speaking of those customers, it seems that their satisfaction and overall consumer experience is getting a bit lost in all this. But of course here again, they certainly don't need me to speak on their behalf - they can and do (and have - right up there ^), very eloquently and convincingly.

My general view on this is pretty simple. If I'm a hypothetical customer running VMware on Nutanix, and I have a need to contact support when I encounter a problem, I don't want to burn a lot of cycles thinking about who I should call first to get it resolved. If I've had good experiences with Nutanix support previously (and the odds are very much in favor of that), I'm likely to call them again. If Nutanix support diagnoses the problem and finds that it's not "theirs", they will happily assist me with ticketing it to VMware. Or Microsoft. Or Oracle. Or SAP. Or Splunk. Etc. You get the idea. A "warm hand off" as it were.

Would it be better if the Nutanix support engineer, when confronted with a VMWare problem, opted instead to say, "Sorry, not our problem. Call VMWare...." and promptly hung up?

Oversimplification, yes. But the point remains - I think part of the reason our customers love our support so much is because we don't politicize it. We just do our best to help them get their problem solved, either by us or (perhaps) by VMWare. We advocate for them, not ourselves. They don't care - nor should they - where the lines of demarcation exist between vendor solutions when they have a problem. They just want to get it resolved.

...Randy

Chuck Hollis

Hi Randy

I think I've heard from most of the Nutanix employees already, so why not one more?

As before:

Yes, we all work together as vendors to give our customers as seamless an experience as possible. Of course.

That being said, Nutanix has been representing themselves as providing direct support for VMware products. Unfortunately, Nutanix is not entitled to do that.

Customers should be aware of that, and make their choices.

-- Chuck

Shawn

Wouldn't a Nutanix solution on the Dell XC platform alleviate all of these support concerns?
Dell IS a VMware OEM and is able to provide VMware support.

Chuck Hollis

Shawn -- theoretically, yes.

-- Chuck

Brian

In regards to #2

So VMware feels it's superior because they are part of the kernel. But how do you then support many of your EVO partners offering bolt on solutions to try and add value or make up for missing features.

You attack 3rd party HC vendors for not being in the kernel but then fully bless something like this Nexenta configuration?
https://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2015/02/software-defined-hyper-converged-vdi.html

That seems worse than not being in the kernel. Not to pick on the Nexenta people, because they have a nice offering. But they have no visibility or control of the flash and disks. It's also adding another layer to the storage stack that seems unnecessary.

I work for a partner, I like Nutanix and EVO. Seems like your wasting time fighting over BS that many customer don't care about.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Brian

When it comes to providing shared storage services, I and others would argue there is a meaningful difference between being hypervisor integrated (or not). Things like performance, resource usage, consolidation ratios, error handling -- the stuff many customers care about.

Nexenta provides optional shared file access outside the vSphere cluster, and it runs on top of VSAN. It's not integral to either VSAN or vSphere. Consider it a gateway for people who might want that sort of thing. And we're very clear who supports what in this model.

Thanks for your thoughts ...

-- Chuck

Sam

Hi Chuck

I am working for a Nutanix partner in Switzerland for a bit more than a year now and everything I have seen so far when it comes to VMware support was above expectations. One practical example was the severe NFS bug in vSphere 5.5 U1 which hit one of our customers some time before there was any official statement from VMware (VMware KB article or similar). It was Nutanix who was in direct contact with VMware to eventually figure out what the problem was long before we got a response from VMware directly.
Another example was just recently when another customer ran into issues with a VMware VSS integration bug when using vShield Endpoint antivirus protection causing VM freezes. Also in that case Nutanix was providing phenomenal support (even though it was ultimately a VMware issue).

I believe at the end of the day the customers care about who helps them in the quickest and most effective way. I am sure the Nutanix customers I know see the facts clearly.

P.S.: Was working for EMC before for 5 years. I think it's a great company and I enjoyed my time there. When it came to VMware support however there was zero to no knowledge in the local support organization at least not in the cases I know of (unless of course a case had a high severity and was escalated to get specialists from the US involved).

Chuck Hollis

Hi Sam

Glad to hear you're having good luck with Nutanix support.

But I think you and many others are missing my key point here: Nutanix is not entitled to provide support for VMware products.

-- Chuck

Andy Salo

Hi Chuck, great post. I'm the VP Product at NIMBOXX. I can appreciate your well thought out arguments. I wish you guys success and look forward to competing with you in accounts. You were definitely successful at getting the attention of seemingly every Nutanix employee. ;)

I've written a response on our NIMBOXX blog.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Andy

Yes, I think I've heard from each and every Nutanix employee by now, including their CEO.

-- Chuck

meh130

Chuck,

If OEMing a particular VMware product is necessary for official VMware support, does that mean NSX on Cisco UCS falls into a support a "gray area"? If so, will VMware rescind its design guides for NSX on UCS? Or is NSX not included in your general statement regarding OEMs, non-OEMs, and official VMware support? If it is not, will you provide a blog post covering what VMware software is included under the OEM/Supportability umbrella, and also explain how/if VCE VxBlocks and EMC/channel VSPEX fit into this?

Thanks.

Chuck Hollis

"meh130" -- here's what I think you and others are missing.

Nutanix sells an appliance as a "complete solution". Very often, it is based on vSphere and VMware products. The customer has to acquire those separately, usually through our channel. Because Nutanix has not sold the licenses, they are not entitled to provide end user support for VMware products. If you think about it for a moment, that's an entirely reasonable position for customers, partners, etc.

The customer must be aware that they will need *two* support relationships -- one with Nutanix, one with VMware. That's not unusual, but it needs to be disclosed, naturally. And it hasn't been -- at least, up to now.

Regarding your various permutations and combinations, it feels like a game of stump the blogger, so I'll try.

- In the case of NSX, it's software that runs across many vendor environments. VMware supports its product, the switch vendors supports their products, and -- like most situations -- vendors work together to make their customers successful. Specifically, VMware is not attempting to sell customers on an all-in-one networking appliance that supposedly has a single support model.

-Any entity that sells VMware licenses is entitled to supply VMware support. That includes VCE, VSPEX, EVO:RAIL partners, channel partners, etc. -- a very long list indeed.

Hope this helps. If you'd like to go another round double-or-nothing, bring it on.

-- Chuck

Bacon_Is_King

Without a dog in this fight right now, its interesting to watch, this whole thread has a very Storage Sales 2009 feel to it. That said, a few observations on my part.

With over 500 customer discussions in the last 24 months, the number of times that NPS came up was zero. It carries all the weight and relevance of the Red Herring awards with customers, but those of us who are psuedo-marketers seem to think it matters. Do you know anyone who bought their car based on a JD Powers ranking? Didn't think so.

Supportability matters, and if a customer is comfortable with the level of support that Nutanix, or Simplivity offers in terms of VMware, then essentially, that ends the discussion. If the organization requires that 100% rubber stamp (and yes some do), then there could be a problem. Dirty secret for all of the HCI vendors still remains supportability for things like Exchange running on VMDK's backed by NFS (not supported), but if the customer is willing to accept a support statement by the vendor then thats the end of that story.

Chuck makes a number of points that competitors are ignoring, instead looking to cherry pick the one argument they think they can win, it ignores the much larger discussion about the nature of HCI and its viability in the marketplace, and frankly its future. I for one have strong opinions about the viability at scale where the TCO starts to break down. Flexibility around resource allocation, and the inability to address bare metal.

Bottom line, much like the all flash arena, this space is growing much faster than any of the vendors can adapt. HCI is here to stay and will be the defacto unit of allocation for a certain type of customer, just not all customers. I will agree that, what can be done, must be done in software, but we are certainly not at that phase yet, nor are a good number of customers comfortable with that mindset.

Chuck Hollis

It's always nice to read an intelligent comment -- so thanks!

-- Chuck

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis


  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems
    @chuckhollis

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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