Nutanix and VMware are fighting an ugly online battle about over how to do hyperconvergence right.
VMware threw the first punch, in this post by Chuck Hollis in which he says VCE invented the hyperconverged market and that got it right the first time with its “everything in this rack and running on this rack has been tested a zillion ways by the people who made the stuff in this rack” approach.
Hollis also said this:
Not all of the hyperconverged appliance vendors have elected to be vSphere OEMs. That means that they don’t have the right to distribute the VMware software used in their product. It also means that they are not entitled to provide support for VMware software.
The in the comments he added this to the fire”
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".
Them's fighting words, and Nutanix has been making plenty of social noise ever since. Plenty of its people have taken to tweeting that they're no longer beating straight SANs in deals, but beating VMware's hyperconverged EVO:RAIL boxen.
And today, Nutanix founder and CEO Dheeraj Pandey fired back, accusing VMware of aiming for lock-in and therefore being dinosaurs. Here's the nub of his argument:
The platform “hubris” is fading at Microsoft, and the (disruptive) abandonment of the strategy tax is proving regenerative for the company. In contrast, the EMC Federation, led by blogger strategists such as Chuck, is thumping the table on why customers and partners owe them the strategy tax for an omnipotent platform.
Pandey also explains why Nutanix isn't a VMware OEM, namely its hypervisor-agnostic position which he says makes pre-installing a hypervisor a silly idea.
Nutanix folk are also arguing that by insisting only OEMs can properly support vSphere, VMware is saying its whole channel is ineffective. Which is a tricky argument for VMware to sustain, given Nutanix has hired so many holders of its top certification.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the argument, it looks like VMware has decided Nutanix as a competitor it feels deserves a bit of a public cuffing. Which it may, given we've learned it plans its own hypervisor.
That move, and Nutanix's creation of a certification clearly designed to trump VMware's VCDX, certainly show the challenger is not afraid to go up against Virtzilla's size, strength and army of large, brutish friends, as shown by it's participation in an effort to kill off a US$1.6bn deal with the US military.
Which might be brave. Or crazy brave. ®