Why Nutanix is betting on the hybrid cloud to accelerate growth

Why Nutanix is betting on the hybrid cloud to accelerate growth
23 Jul, 2019

San Jose, California-based cloud computing firm Nutanix is betting on the growth of the hybrid and private cloud, an area where most public cloud players like Amazon, Google and  Microsoft are seeing high growth. 

With cloud-like performance and experience increasingly moving on-premise (a data centre deployed at customer location), the company expects growth to accelerate on the back of large enterprises embracing the hybrid cloud, a senior Nutanix executive told TechCircle.

“The world is going to be a dispersed cloud rather than one cloud,”  Bala Kuchibhotla, vice president and general manager of Nutanix Era, the firm's database services, told TechCircle. He added that all large cloud players are trying to bring the same public cloud experience to the private cloud.

"You need cloud-like agility on-premise as well. If you compromise on that, customers and developers will move back to the public cloud. People care about experience. Some of these great ideas in the cloud space are not new but a reincarnation of old philosophies," Kuchibhotla said.

There are a lot of predictable and non-flexible workloads (workload is the compute and storage functions that happen in a data centre). The predictable workload is something the company can easily calculate. While large enterprises will want it to be hosted on-premise, elastic workload might be hosted on the public cloud. So, according to Kuchibhotla, hybrid cloud will be the future and Nutanix is betting on the growth of hybrid.

Founded by Silicon Valley-based Indian-origin entrepreneurs, Nutanix was one of the most successful enterprise technology startups that went public this decade. The company sells hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) that virtualises compute, storage and networking using software solutions that automate a lot of infrastructure-related workloads.  Kuchibhotla developed Nutanix Era, the automation software for database management, which works as a startup within Nutanix.

Why hybrid is important

Kuchibhotla talks about the analogy of a house, saying if someone lives in a house for more than seven years, one would want to own the house. “It even makes business sense. One gains value when the house appreciates. One cannot live and pay rent for 30 years for a house and then nothing comes out of it.”

The hybrid pie is going to be high because of the data gravity,  Kuchibhotla said.  “So much data will be built over 40-50 years. That data cannot be transferred at the snap of a finger."  He also said the three large players are increasingly talking about private and hybrid cloud. 

While the public cloud players like Amazon started providing solutions like storage, networking and databases, the blending of all these solutions won't match Nutanix, Kuchibhotla said. To address the missing pieces of product development, Nutanix has also opened up its application programming interface to developers, he added.

The private cloud has been taking off lately,  mostly due to the large financial sector wanting to leverage cloud benefits while wanting to protect sensitive data due to regulatory concerns and other reasons. 

The entry of the big players is going to pose a challenge to Nutanix. "While they can provide different financial models, we believe that our technology is superior and more agile. We ask clients why they want to use costly services like Oracle or Exodata. There is only us who can mimic Amazon Web Service or Google Cloud Platform experience on-prem. Customers are struggling with database management, and hence want it as a service for their hybrid cloud infrastructure," Kuchibhotla said. 

Kuchibhotla has worked as a database developer all through his career. He started out at data management software firm Versant Corporation in 1997 and joined Oracle in 2004. In 2017, Kuchibhotla was toying with the option of starting up or developing his idea into a product under a larger corporate umbrella. It was at this time that his former colleague Dheeraj Pandey, co-founder of Nutanix, invited him to work with Nutanix while agreeing to give Kuchibhotla a free hand to develop his product.

"When the cloud picked up and everything became available as a service, I realised that even the database could be a platform. With infrastructure as a service, can we extend the Nutanix promise to the database as well?" Kuchibhotla said, on the start of Nutanix Era.

Most  IT decisions of large enterprises are jointly taken by the chief information officers along with their system integrators or the IT service players.  Kuchibhotla said the company is increasing efforts to reach out to services firms by training their workforce on Nutanix technologies. 

"Ultimately, deals are not done based on relationships, but on efficiency and solutions. Whenever people do a proof of concept with our solutions, we are usually the winners," Kuchibhotla said.