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June 30, 2015



Well said, Chuck. I'll buy the next #StorageBeer.


Aernoud van de Graaff

I know marketing is a necessary part of doing business in the IT. And to be honest, blogs are part of that. It is positioning your ideas, technology, services in the market and pitting them against the competition.

And yes, marketing generally likes to presents things prettier then they are in reality and I have yet to find a marketing statement about what the product or service doesn't do. I get all that and I am fine with it.

So whenever I get marketing materials to use with my customers, I trim out statements like 'we saved 25M by doing this or that' as I have no idea about the context. Was it per year, over 5 years, based on 100M cost base (=25%) or 1000M (2.5%), where did this customer come from (e.g was it a total mess)... I am sure they saved 25M somewhere, but if I do not understand why and how I am not comfortable using it.

But sometimes you get confronted with outrageous claims that just cannot be true. And it could be that some customers fall for that, but the more outrageous the claim, the less effective the message will be in my opinion. Our customers are smart and more tech savvy every day. Specially in Europe, big statements will only get you raised eyebrows.

So Chuck, I fully agree with the message in your blog, though I don't have any background in how vSAN stacks up with Nutanix, but I am sure you have done your homework before making these statements (as you always do).

I have build a lot of business cases with my customers and the most important outcome of that process is not the savings number or the potential benefits. It is TRUST. It should be their business case, with their assumptions, their reasoning and their outcome.

In my experience there is no marketing statement that can get the same result, that trust can bring to a potential deal.

So for all you marketeers in the world.... Build your message to create trust. I think it would be refreshing to see statements where you also show what your service or product cannot do (yet). I can tell you that will make the statements of what it can do much more trustworthy. Maybe you should give it a try....


Hi Chuck,

as a former vmware employee, I am a bit surprised about the points that you make in this blog. If it was all about the customers, then why on earth don't you recognize what customers say about Nutanix. They love Nutanix for many reasons. Simplicity, Performance, Manageability, Scalability, the software-defined approach giving them new features along the lifecycle, and so on.

I remember Carl Eschenbach saying during a SKO that the major threat to vmware is cockiness and complacency. I am sorry to say, that I see both in your blog.

However this will be no threat to Nutanix. Customer experience is stronger than any oriented blogs.

To make a parallel: I do understand why General Motors would not embraze the Tesla Motors strategy. Too much money at stake. The same goes with EMC and the likes. The best you can do is a "we too" approach. Letting your customers know that you too have (hyper)converged solutions but the traditional ones are pushed harder for obvious reasons, but certainly not for the customers interest.


Chuck Hollis

Hi Florian

It is naive to assume that all customer needs are created equal.

Is there a market for self-contained appliances with limited flexibility and functionality? Yes, there is a part of the market that can be served that way. Many more customers have a very different shopping list.

There is nothing unique or magical about Nutanix technology. It's a distributed file system with a management console wrapped in a standard server: no more, no less. As such, it can easily be compared against other alternatives.

Viewed that way, the Nutanix file system gets good points for space efficiency. It does not fare well on either performance or server resource efficiency.

The management console presents a simplified view (nice), but any serious task requires leaving the console and using native tools.

And then there's pricing. I think some customers don't realize that there are far better alternatives at significantly lower cost.

Nobody is cocky or arrogant here. Just stating the facts, sir.

-- Chuck

Chuck Hollis

Hi Aernoud

You and I are alike in that context-free marketing hyperbole drives us nuts, e.g. "3x faster" or "Half the cost" -- and no way to evaluate the claims.

The nice things about longer-form materials (blogs, white papers, etc.) is that you can go into details around exactly what you are comparing, and how you did the comparison.

However, the world of marketing is largely driven by sound bites, so all that truly useful stuff gets dropped.

It is very clear to me that Nutanix does not want anyone (competitors, customers, third parties) publishing honest comparisons between their products and similar ones. Their EULA makes that pretty clear. Anyone who requests permission is denied without rationale, which is why you can't find any reasonable public comparisons.

I personally would like to get to truth and transparency. I think it's important to customers and the industry. We'll keep working in that direction!

-- Chuck


As the number of data centers continue to shrink and with it the number of people involved in data centers decreases, I would expect hyperbole to rule. Efficiencies will decrease the number of people even faster and there will be yet more heat than light in sales talk and sales blogs.

My simple arithmetic exercise calculated the total number of data centers (clouds by any other name) the world needs at less than a thousand:

But - not to worry, change is hard and it will be a slow slope that will take a couple of decades. For example, a small town (pop.25,000) in Connecticut plans to refurbish its data center with $200K worth of new hardware. Raised floors anyone? Where do I put my VAX 11/750?


The large majority of Nutanix customers are existing VMware customers, who continue to run VMware after migrating to Nutanix. Many Nutanix customers are Fortune 500 and Global 2000 VMware customers who perform careful analysis and evaluation, performing POCs and bake-offs finding that Nutanix does provide superior performance in addition to simplified management and scale-out capabilities, etc.. Do you think a $10 Billion+ company is going to move their critical Tier 1 workloads from traditional 3 tier architecture to Nutanix simply based on fictitious marketing claims? The honest truth is that the prevailing sentiment among most VMware customers is that they are motivated to reduce VMware spend and expand the use of alternative hypervisors. Nutanix had nothing to do with that trend, but they can be a critical component in enabling it. The next wave of disruption and innovation is all about simplicity, management and automation now. Ask any forward thinking CTO or SVP of Infrastructure what their datacenters are going to look like in 5 years and they will likely say that it will barely resemble what they have today. I don't think anyone doubts that hypervisor agnostic, distributed, hyperconverged infrastructure is the building block of the next generation datacenter. I was with Microsoft when they were fighting for Enterprise market validation and competing with the established incumbents. I was with VMware when they were disrupting, innovating and creating a whole new IT paradigm. I know what that felt and looked like and that is exactly where Nutanix is right now. Your customers know it. Anyone can plot the trend and predict where it's all going. Customers will eventually have the power to convert an ESX VM to Hyper-V or KVM (or visa versa) without disruption or risk and no loss in management functionality. A single pane of glass to manage all hypervisors existing together on the same hyper-converged infrastructure through a simple interface with no external attached storage. Chuck, what do you think the datacenter will look like in 5 years? More vSphere? More 3 tier architecture?

Chuck Hollis


There's so much wrong here, I don't even know where to begin. Reads like a Nutanix marketing brochure. Enjoy your kool-aid.

-- Chuck


Nutanix??? Simplivity, ScaleIO, VSAN and other hyper converged players (with enterprise grade data services), make the Nutanix approach seem 19th century. Chuck is right, enjoy the kool aid!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    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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