The IT channel market is undergoing a major transition. As a growing number of enterprises and government departments are looking at adapting enterprise cloud technologies to improve efficiency as and reduce costs, vendors are collaborating with partners to serve their customers more efficiently in this area. One such player Nutanix claims its objective is to support any workload, any environment, and any application type: multiple clouds, use a hybrid cloud, or have a cloud-ready on-premises IT infrastructure. In an exclusive interaction with Channel Times, Anjan Srinivas, Senior Director, Product Management, Nutanix India shares the cloud adoption in India and the company’s channel roadmap.
Channel Times: What is your channel roadmap for the India market?
Anjan Srinivas: The key Channel Mantra for Nutanix is Engage, Improve and Collaborate. We are aggressively looking at increasing our presence across the country. We will continue to focus on tier-one cities of Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai and tier-two cities of Pune, Ahmedabad, Indore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Hyderabad and Cochin. We have an ambitious plan to work closely with our existing system integrators, distributors and channel partners to introduce our Enterprise Cloud Platform to local businesses, who can benefit from our leading hyper converged engineering and web-scale technology. We want our channel partners to move on the scale from Transaction to Interaction.
We believe in continuous improvement so that we keep delivering the best. While we strengthen our existing relationships, we will also look at appointing new partners, which will help Nutanix grow in Tier I regions whilst expanding into Tier II & Tier III locations. We would continue to look at a combination of the mentioned alliances. We believe in complimenting each other. Each relationship brings in its own value, and we would focus on leveraging our core strengths, coupled with what each partner brings to the table.
The shift in datacenter requirements has created an incredible opportunity for channel partners. We at Nutanix ensure that our partners are entitled to benefits, incentives and sales resources that are designed to help drive new opportunities and increase their profitability when selling our enterprise cloud solutions. Besides this, the partners also get access to exceptional sales & technical support and training, marketing & sales tools, enabling them to offer incremental value to end-customers. We help our partners in building the skills in migration services for large projects. These services skills help partners in their growth and hence the bottom line.
Channel Times: How far is the adoption of cloud in India? Aren’t the CIOs still concerned about the storage going out of their premises?
Anjan Srinivas: With important government initiatives like Digital India, technology and innovation is here to grow.Enterprises are realizing the benefits of on-demand, pay-as-you-go infrastructure and following in the footsteps of the early adopters.
We expect this growth to continue as more and more companies shift their infrastructure to the cloud. Cloud has become synonymous with availability and convenience of computing solutions at a manageable cost, and the future will bring more opportunities and challenges as more consumers and businesses continue to adopt cloud-based services. As cloud adoption increases, there is an underlying geometric rate of evolution in the market for cloud services.
The availability of solutions in the marketplace continues to grow; more importantly, standards and industrialization are making it possible to make it scalable. Previous concerns and challenges relating to security, confidentiality, reliability, and integration are now giving way to questions of choice, negotiating strategy, and exploitation for maximum benefit. All industry sectors are realizing the reduced costs and higher efficiency from cloud are already being realized.
The IT market is responding with new and increasingly industrialized products and services that increase the scale and diversity of the opportunity. But cloud adoption has its share of challenges. CIOs are looking at ways to achieve the best total expenditure for their businesses. Application solutions, IT infrastructure, and services are being procured differently, moving from on-premise to cloud.
Channel Times: What are the top 5 aspects, an all cloud is effective than an on premise?
Anjan Srinivas: Things are certainly looking up for the cloud. However, the debate still continues in the enterprise space: about whether cloud computing is more effective than on-premises solutions. The key advantages are:
• Lower cost of entry/start-up: a cloud solution removes need for internal IT resources to be trained on administering the application, and if end-user training is required, that task shifts to the cloud provider
• More predictable costs: it eliminates hardware procurement, thus makes IT spend more predictable.
• Reduced overall IT spend and less downtime: reduces TCO for an organization. Internal IT is no longer burdened with security patching, performing upgrades, and generally maintaining systems. That can reduce the number of resources required for an IT staff and frees up time for them to focus on the core competencies of an organization.
• Scalability: While it is certainly possible to scale an on-premises infrastructure to meet the growing technology needs of an organization, it is certainly much faster and more seamless to do so in the cloud.
• Flexibility to work anywhere: Difficulties of trying to connect to an on-premises solution remotely poses enough challenges (navigating through VPNs, firewalls, intranets, etc.). On the contrary, an Internet connection and browser are needed to connect to the application while working in a cloud environment.
Channel Times: If an enterprise is looking for cloud adoption, how is the ease of deployment Nutanix gives for the customers?
Anjan Srinivas: The ambition of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform is bringing cloud-like operational simplicity to enterprise datacenters. If the enterprise datacenter behaves and operates like a public cloud, then application demands will drive private cloud vs public cloud (aka “buy vs rent”) decisions, instead of vendor-driven requirements that are imposed on enterprise IT users. Our Virtualization and Cloud solutions simplify datacenter operations, improve service delivery, and enable cloud initiatives. It helps reduce administrative overheads by hundreds of hours per year, by practically eliminating the need for storage management through intuitive, consumer-grade centralized management, VM-centric operations, and unprecedented performance insight.
Channel Times: How Indian enterprises are responding for critical applications going down and how effective are your services for the same?
Anjan Srinivas: The traditionally cautious data centre market is on course for a major shift in focus in the near future, with implications for both the technologies and products enterprise CIOs will be looking to embrace. At one level, there will be continued virtualisation of workloads, legacy integration and the, seemingly, endless quest for greater performance and capacity. Beyond that, however, increasing acceptance of the public cloud as a key component of digital transformation will present hard pressed IT departments with a completely new set of challenges. As will growth in Big Data, the Internet of Things, process automation and other technologies increasingly seen as essential for the digital business going forward.
The mix of platforms that enterprise IT will need to embrace will increasingly include the public cloud. For some, this signals the end of the corporate data centre as we know it, as the complexity of building and managing an on-premise infrastructure outpaces the ability of the IT department to contain it. However, the enterprise is unlikely to give up the data centre without a fight and there are clear signs that a hybrid approach will not only prevail for a while, but become the defacto standard for enterprise IT going forward.
Vendors across the board are coming to recognise this trend, even Amazon which once maintained that no one needed an on-premise data centre at all, but has since changed that stance and made it easier to migrate and balance workloads across public and private domains. Others (led by Nutanix) are integrating public cloud technologies into their products with the aim of enabling enterprises to take full advantage of the instant scalability and pay-as-you-use economics of the public cloud, but without relinquishing the ownership, control and security afforded by on-premise alternatives.
Channel Times: Please explain your Elevate channel partner network?
Anjan Srinivas: The Nutanix Elevate Technology Alliance Program has been developed to build a robust ecosystem of technology partners committed to radically transforming enterprise data centers. Launched in 2014 .NEXT, the program provides more in-depth access to products, a developer toolkit with APIs and a path for technical validation, marketing opportunities and sales engagements. It offers three levels of membership: Build, Scale and Transform. The Build level is for any business that wants to establish a partnership with Nutanix, validate its technology, and co-market the joint solution. It provides access to Nutanix marketing and technical resources. As partners engage further, they can progress to the Scale level, which enables them to build more targeted technology solutions for specific use cases and market segments. Partners can benefit from additional training, marketing and sales benefits. The Transform level further rewards partners who are committed to long-term product and sales engagements with Nutanix. It enables partners to develop strategic solutions and programs aimed at achieving significant revenue growth for both companies.
Through Elevate, partners can now develop validated solutions with Nutanix that add significant value to joint customers. All partners will be eligible to apply for formal “Nutanix Ready” recognition, which signifies their interoperability with the Nutanix platform in various categories including: Management and Operations, Backup and Recovery, Applications and OS, Desktop Virtualization, Hybrid Cloud, Networking and Security and Application Development.
Channel Times: How is your training for channels? Please explain your certification levels
Anjan Srinivas: Nutanix started the unique program for channel partners & SIs by giving them access to web-based learning modules. Every channel partner is getting skilled with these trainings, followed by certifications. For partner sales and pre-sales people, these modules are free. We also created virtual labs and extended the access to them for creating specific scenario before an engineer actually goes to customer location and performs the task. At Nutanix, our company value lies with ‘3H- Hungry, Honest and Humble’. We are keen to work with partners who have similar beliefs: being hungry and ambitious to build a successful business, being honest with the products, and being humble when listening to customer feedback for ongoing improvement.
For some of our internal tools like Slack & Yammer, we have extended for constant interaction between Partners, Sales & Product Management. This constant feedback keeps us honest & helps us improve continuously.
Channel Times: How are you justifying the aspect of Nutanix, providing the agility of the public cloud, with the control and security of on-premises infrastructure?
Anjan Srinivas: The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform leverages web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to natively converge compute, virtualisation and storage and to deliver an enterprise-class on-premise experience without taking away the security and control from customers. Customers can build digital businesses without investing in, building and managing complex IT infrastructure. Most enterprises are looking at Hybrid IT infrastructure models, NxtGen is now able to make available a world leading hyper converged platform on a fully managed, hosted or on-premise, elastic and pay-per-use model to the enterprise.