Partner ecosystem: The backbone of India’s digital economy


A true IT modernisation-enabler, Nutanix works with state governments to get them future-ready for a Digital India. Being a 100 per cent channel-driven company, Nutanix’s partner ecosystem ably supports these initiatives

Enterprises are embarking on their digital journeys for better customer experience, acquiring new customers, which leads to an incremental revenue stream. And to acquire customers at a lower cost, enterprises need to have nimble IT. So what are the options in the market for nimble IT today?

Anantharaman Balakrishnan (Bala), Vice President & Managing Director, Nutanix India

Modernising the data centre
“Many enterprises are still running on the legacy three-tier architecture. This architecture won’t deliver to the customer’s expectations or the desired business results. These organisations are looking to modernise their data centre as the first step in their journey towards digitalisation,” says Anantharaman Balakrishnan (Bala), Vice President & Managing Director, Nutanix India. He adds that the first step towards achieving modernisation is to create system and processes that are driven by business outcomes. Next comes automation, driven by technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Hybrid cloud journey
The customer should have a seamless experience in moving the workload to any cloud provider and bring it down when required. “First and foremost, Nutanix pioneered the HCI platform, which is about virtualising the data centre. Hyperconverged infrastructure is the basis for building a private cloud. Virtualising all of the elements of conventional IT hardware systems into software-defined infrastructure eliminates inefficiencies and reduces the total cost of ownership for data centres. Our journey is now transitioning from virtualising the data centre to virtualising in the cloud, enabling app mobility and cloud interoperability,” states Bala.

Enterprises, especially newer ones, adopted public cloud services because they were easy and relatively affordable. But as they grew, so did the costs of being on a public cloud. Bringing back their apps or workloads from public cloud to on-premise is a gigantic task. It requires massive amount of investment as well as re-architecturing; and sometimes customers get locked-in.

“One of the most compelling opportunities for HCI is in data centre consolidation. Nutanix is a harbinger in the HCI space and we have helped customers consolidate three data centres into one. Nutanix’s solution portfolio enabled consolidation of servers, storage and networks, without compromising on identity and multi-tenancy requirements” says Rajan Bhandari, CEO, Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic. “Nutanix offers hyper-converged solutions, allowing to reduce the rack space requirement by converging servers, storage and networks together. Thus, it reduces data centre footprint and also helps in green IT initiatives. The USP of Nutanix solutions is zero-touch upgrade; the upgrade doesn’t require any downtime,” adds Bhandari.

Nutanix offers freedom of choice, wherein customers are able to modernise their infrastructure to make it more cloud-like while keeping it on premise. “We offer true cloud interoperability without any vendor lock-in. Nutanix Calm, Flow, Era and Files are examples of tools that help companies operate hybrid cloud services on premise,” he mentions.

In a digital era, the traditional three-tier architecture is with hyper-converged infrastructure. Ajay Sawant, MD, Orient Technologies, points out, “Nutanix has its own virtualisation product, Acropolis, which differentiates them from competitors in the HCI world. Customers want to build the entire ecosystem for public, private or hybrid cloud, which becomes easier for us, because of products like Calm, which helps the customer build a private cloud. Similarly, Beam optimises the public usage of the cloud.”

India – a hotbed of innovation
Numerous trends are prevailing in the HCI domain, and we are looking at the 1.75 billion addressable market. “We’re probably scraping the tip of the iceberg. The government has big plans for the Digital India program. We can help in modernising the infrastructure, as there’s significant legacy infrastructure in the government space. In my opinion, the government and defense market hold 34 per cent of the 1.75 billion spending,” states Bala.

Working with state governments, such as the Rajasthan government and Uttarakhand government, Bala believes that Nutanix is a true IT modernisation-enabler to the government to get them future-ready for Digital India. “We’re looking at startups, essentially to partner with them on providing a platform for new application development. We are working with service providers like NetMagic, CTRL S, Sify, etc, to provide a platform as a service and offer an option of a development platform,” informs Bala, adding that since the government considers a lower-cost model, they prefer the best technology at the lowest possible cost. “Our virtualisation layer or hypervisor comes free as we believe hypervisor is a commodity. It’s best in class and so, we believe it will be of significant appeal to the government,” he affirms.

Customer readiness for hybrid cloud
The readiness of the customers depends on skills availability from a partner perspective, and the partner’s ability to add value to the requirements. “As we get down to a hybrid cloud, we have solutions like cloud orchestration called Calm. Calm is the cloud application for lifecycle management. We also have Flow for security-based micro-segmentation, which works with Beam. For database automation management, we have Era,” says Bala.

Enterprises are extremely heavy on databases and then they face challenges in managing the data. Nutanix is already working with large enterprises, including banks, to ensure Era is integrated with their existing database management.

“Management becomes easier in the HCI environment, with single touch operations. Customers don’t require costly resources like database administrators. Therefore, overall the customer gets more than 30 per cent cost benefit from HCI,” adds Sawant.

The next step is aligning with the partners, who can take these services to the marketplace.

As customers embark on their hybrid cloud journey, they will start getting into building the cloud native applications. The moment they build cloud native applications, they will also need containers. Nutanix has its own container offering, called Carbon. Carbon, Flow, Calm are all integrated to form an orchestration layer for the customer – if he ever wants to build new applications, he builds it in a cloud-native containerised manner. Today those skills are not available in the enterprise; they are available in digital-native companies, startup economy, and internet economies.

Bala mentions, “We believe that our partners, with their skills available for implementation of these solutions, will help customers on the cloud-native readiness platform. So partners will bridge the gap for customers in database automation and building a hybrid cloud.”

Embedding security and compliance
Flow is essentially based around micro segmenting virtual machines, providing an additional layer of security for organisations to ensure that there are no data leaks. With Beam, they have induced a compliance layer, integrating Flow and Beam. It addresses security and compliance in the four layers.

The first layer is the network security, second is VM security. The third is the data layer and fourth is access and identity. All these four elements are addressed from an app perspective, the way an application is been managed from a network perspective. Further adding AI and ML, making it an autonomous model.

Progressing with the partner ecosystem
Lot of digitisation is happening at the edge, acquiring new customers and getting the data from the customer and doing analytics and so on. “As we see the customers adopting those edge pieces, we are making some nimble applications. We witness partners oriented to build those applications,” remarks Bala.

Nutanix Channel Charter focuses on engagement instead of revenue targets, it gives partners a greater incentive to focus on building market knowledge and skills and look for ways to deliver maximum value to customers. This puts the customer first and helps the partner succeed.

Partners begin their journey with Nutanix by being a Pioneer Partner, then move on to a Scaler level and finally Master level.“Our ‘Channel Charter’, is essentially to empower the partners. And enabling them to exactly have a customer-centric approach,” Bala says.

The program emphasis building skills and getting new customers on board. “The delight which customers will get from a partner and the delight which a partner will get from us, those are the two pillars of our business. We are focusing on rebate programs highlighting the number of certifications to get unique skill sets to implement digital technologies and the number of opportunities,” Bala asserts.

Third pillar: HPE partnership
“The third area when we are focused upon is our new alliance with HPE. We have a new product out in the marketplace, named as ‘DX appliance’, which is essentially a combination of our partnership with HPE,” says Bala.

It comes in two models, the first model is the appliance itself which is sold by the Nutanix team. Then there is an asset service module, which is tied up with HPE’s GreenLake. GreenLake is the HPE’s consumption model.

“We will need a plethora of HPE partners to embrace both these platforms. So the third engagement we’re doing for the channel community is essential to embrace all these HP resellers and large partners, platinum partners so that they become Nutanix partners,” he explains.

Their presence is significant across the board, small and medium segment; they are present in the larger enterprises and manufacturing. “So if I were to take just three incremental areas where they are big, definitely we would like to embrace a lot of partners and build an independent incremental income in the SMB space carried through the distribution channel,” states Bala.

Hence Nutanix is in the process of hiring a distribution manager who can work with its OEM person and ensure that HPE’s partners are signed up and give Nutanix an incremental revenue, and opportunities in tier two and tier three cities.

Incentive programs
The rebate programs are designed around new customer acquisitions. Nutanix is still a young company. “So we are really looking at new customer acquisitions. And a new partner who gets us new customer acquisition additional incentives. We are also having rebates for accelerating our HPE go to market,” Bala adds. There are incentives for partners to move up the ladder so that they can get more of this leverage.

Partner enablement
Nutanix partner program allows partners to invest in DEMO equipment to conduct POVs, the way to demonstrate and meet customer’s business requirements before purchase. Partner program also ensures enablement through webinars, tech workshops, orientation and training on new offerings, new features and functionalities. The program not only looks at enablement but also on the profitability of the organisation. Learning and earning are the two key aspects of any partnership. “Nutanix conducts hands-on training sessions to build implementation and support capabilities. They also conduct pre-sales boot camps to train Pre-sales/Solution Architects to design solutions for addressing customer business requirements,” says Rajan Bhandari, adding, “They have a very tough certification process to ensure certified resources are the experts on their solutions. It helps partner organisations to build capabilities and competencies.”

Nutanix is 100 per cent channel-driven, which means every order to them is through the channel. The company is highly depend on its partners who can take Nutanix to every nook and corner, and the HPE partnership will add value to its current portfolio.

“We are enhancing our presence in the tier 1 space, where we have large partners like Wipro, TCS, L&T, etc, and other partners play in the government space, Smart City space. A lot of skill implementation is required to give a delightful experience for the customer, so there’s a lot of focus on skills and certifications,” concludes Bala.

Ajay Sawant, MD, Orient Technologies

Partner Speak

Nutanix has its own virtualisation product called Acropolis and which differentiates them from competitors in the HCI world. The customers want to build the entire ecosystem for public or private or hybrid cloud, which becomes easier for us Nutanix because they have products like Calm, which helps the customer build a private cloud. Similarly, Beam, which optimises the public usage of the cloud.
Ajay Sawant, MD, Orient Technologies

Rajan Bhandari, CEO, Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic

One of the most compelling opportunities for HCI is in DC consolidation. Nutanix is a harbinger in the HCI space and we have helped customers who had three datacentres consolidate into one. Nutanix solution portfolio enabled consolidation of servers, storages and networks, without compromising on identity and multi-tenancy requirements.
Rajan Bhandari, CEO, Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic


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