Lenovo aims Nutanix-fuelled hyperconverged drive at SEA
By Edwin Yapp March 22, 2016
- Growth forecast ‘positive’ despite no specific target numbers
- Lenovo to gain by becoming a hyperconverged player
CHINA’S Lenovo Group Ltd believes that its global partnership with US data centre infrastructure company Nutanix Inc would help enterprises trying to juggle their business needs with their technology demands.
And it sees great potential in South-East Asia.
“Enterprise needs are changing and the demand for varied server as well as other supporting infrastructure offerings is growing rapidly,” said Rajesh Viliyakath (pic above), enterprise business group leader for Lenovo South-East Asia.
The San Jose, California-based Nutanix designs and builds a new breed of data centre equipment known as hyperconverged systems, which pack compute, storage and networking gear into a single, compact box.
Hyperconverged systems can greatly reduce space, power and cooling and costs, compared with buying and running such components separately.
Lenovo and Nutanix forged an alliance last year and are expected to collaborate on a range of efforts to enhance their market share in the hyperconverged sector.
These include “substantial investments in platform engineering and development, as well as aggressive go-to-market initiatives,” Rajesh told a recent media briefing in Kuala Lumpur.
In practice, the Lenovo-Nutanix partnership will see the former’s software running on top of the latter’s servers.
Analyst firm Gartner estimates that hyperconverged integrated systems will represent over 35% of total hardware-based integrated systems market revenue by 2019.
Other than Nutanix, startups such as Gridstore, Nimboxx, Pivot3, Scale Computing and SimpliVity also offer hyperconverged systems. Traditional IT vendors which have integrated systems include Oracle, IBM, NetApp, HDS, Cisco Systems, Fujitsu, Dell and Teradata.
Asked what kind of market share it predicts it would capture in 2016 given that the tie-up between Lenovo and Nutanix was forged only last November, Rajesh declined to comment on growth prospects except to say that “market penetration should be quite positive.”
“We cannot say much about our growth for now as it’s too soon to say, but we’ve seen tremendous interest in our offerings,” he claimed.
“Also, we believe our market penetration should be quite positive based on the customer interest and their reaction to what we’ve to offer,” he added.
Quizzed on what this partnership brings to the table for Lenovo Malaysia, its country general manager Khoo Hung Chuan (pic) said it brings “new opportunities for Lenovo in Malaysia.”
“We’ve previously sold servers only but this partnership offers us the opportunities for Lenovo to go beyond that – to offer integrated solutions and at the same time give existing and potential customers more options to consider Lenovo as a total solutions provider,” he added.
In 2014, Lenovo brokered a US$2-billion deal to buy over IBM Corp’s x86 assets, giving the Beijing-based company a foothold in the low-end commodity server market, a move analysts say benefits both parties.
On what kind of customers the Lenovo-Nutanix will be targeting, Rajesh said the core customers would be large and the more sizable small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which have traditional data centre workloads and applications from companies such as Microsoft Corp and SAP SE.
“We are targeting the upper-end of the SME market; banks and telcos are also talking to us,” he claimed.
“The people who are coming to us are looking to reduce their capex (capital expenditure) and willing to explore how they can do that,” he added.
In Malaysia, Nutanix won a contract to supply its Virtual Computing Platform to N2N Connect Bhd last year.
N2N Connect, an electronic and mobile solutions provider for the financial services industry, said that by deploying Nutanix’s web-scale technology, it was able to rapidly deploy and provision customer services, while reducing operational IT expenditure by as much as 50%.
“Nutanix’s technology is a game-changer that brings significant improvement in cost, scalability and performance to our business operations,” N2N business operations director Nicholas Chua said at the time.
According to Gartner, Nutanix is considered an early innovator and a leader in the hyperconverged sector.
In its latest industry barometer research report, the Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems (paid content), Gartner said that Nutanix has done a good job of aligning its marketing and product development strategies.
“Nutanix has gained market credibility, established a worldwide presence with approximately 30% of revenue coming from outside of North America, and built an installed base that provides significant upgrade and expansion revenue,” the research firm said.
However, as with any growing startup, Nutanix is no longer small enough for the established system vendors to ignore or dismiss, and will therefore confront tougher competition going forward, Gartner warned.
The company also lacks proven channel and support capability in some countries, so international users should validate these capabilities, the reported added.
Founded in 2009 by Dheeraj Pandey, Mohit Aron and Ajeet Singh, Nutanix has gone through five rounds of funding totalling US$312.2 million from 12 Investors. Its most recent Series E injection of US$140 million came in August 2014, valuating the company today at about US$2 billion.
Nutanix, a name that apparently came about as a result of Scrabble game between its founders, has since filed for an IPO (initial public offering), according to Reuters. The company is expected to raise US$200 million from the public offering despite still being in the red.
Reuters noted that in its last filing, Nutanix was not profitable, and at fiscal year ending July 31, 2015 it lost US$126.1 million, a loss that had widened 50% from a year earlier.
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