As Nutanix Endures Growing Pains, Partners Remain Confident

The company's channel chief and chief revenue officer left earlier this year.

Todd R. Weiss

May 13, 2019

4 Min Read
Growing Pains

In early March, the stock of cloud software and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) software vendor Nutanix fell 31% after the company issued lower-than-expected guidance for its third fiscal quarter sales. Then a few days later, Louis Attanasio, who was then the company’s chief revenue officer, gave notice that he was leaving.

Five weeks later, the company’s global channel chief, Rodney Foreman, who had joined Nutanix only 15 months earlier, departed in early April.

All of that happened within nine months after the company’s president, Sudheesh Nair, announced his departure last August to become the CEO of big data vendor ThoughtSpot.

Those were a lot of leadership changes for the company in a short time, but several Nutanix partners who attended last week’s Nutanix .Next 2019 partner and user conference said it hasn’t been a worrisome issue for them at this point.

William Fulmer, the chief operating officer for Helient, a Philadelphia-based IT professional services and managed services company and a Nutanix customer and partner since 2013, told Channel Futures that the executive departures and stock drop are part of the world of business.


Helient’s William Fullmer

“A lot of our customers have asked about it,” Fulmer said of the events, but the situation doesn’t have him worried. “We had heard some questions when Sudheesh [the former president] left and then Rodney left, but I think it’s the evolution of the company. It’s not that startup anymore. It’s a different phase of the company.”

Despite those changes, Helient, which has a mix of clients in the legal, health care and finance markets, still maintains many of the same professional relationships with Nutanix account managers and executives they have had for a long time.

“We’ve closely aligned our business with Nutanix and it’s been very profitable for us,” he said.

Helient began working with Nutanix after a customer had heard of the company in 2013 and asked them to look at the technology for helping the customer’s virtual desktop infrastructure operations. At that point, the customer was using products from Cisco, HP and NetApp. The Nutanix tests went well and over time the customer equipped 10 offices around the world with the technology, said Fulmer.

“That provided some validation from a pure metrics standpoint,” said Fulmer. “For us then it became kind of an evolution.”

About half of Heliant’s 45 customers are now running Nutanix products, serviced by Heliant’s 30 employees.

“We still sell NetApp, but back then it was 95% NetApp and 5% Nutanix. Now it’s about 90% Nutanix and about 10% NetApp.”

The evolution of Nutanix going from storage to hyperconvergence provided simplicity that was attractive for Helient and its customers, from prequalification to sales to implementation to support, he said.

“There’s less of a training requirement for an onsite staff to maintain it, from a support perspective it’s changed from us having to do the heavy lifting to teaching the customers how to use it,” he said.

Another partner, Jack Margossian, president of Comport Consulting Corp. in Ramsey, New Jersey, said he is also not worried about the recent personnel changes and the March stock drop involving Nutanix. Margossian’s company got involved with Nutanix in 2018 as a partner and has spent six months training and getting his people ready with the technology. His sales team started selling Nutanix products six months ago.

“It’s irrelevant to me,” he said of the stock drop and departures, because …

… he hasn’t spent a long time looking at Nutanix as a business. Instead, how Nutanix replaces the channel chief and how it continues to introduce and service its products will tell him what he needs to know about the company.


Comport Consulting’s Jack Margossian

“You want a channel chief who is a friend of partners and who maybe worked in the channel,” said Margossian. “If they make a good product, get good technology out there and create support for us, then we’ll deliver for you. The channel will deliver that.”

So far, the Nutanix channel program has been growing and coming along well, he said.

For the previous 38 years, HPE has been Comport’s major partner. Nutanix is the first foray into Margossian’s company looking at another major partner. Comport has 65 employees.

“We’re in an age now where you can’t just supply a customer with a single solution,” he said. “One answer to all your customers’ problems is no longer an answer.”

From a partner perspective, Margossian said his company needs two things — a place to create new opportunities and markets where they can play a role helping customers.

“We’re also looking for investments from partners, for us to open new offices and to hire new people. That’s a big expense, that’s where we can use help,” Margossian said.

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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