Channel partner programs, Data centers, Enterprise, MSP

MSP Embraces Nutanix Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)

Paul Straton
Firstnet's Paul Straton

Firstnet Solutions, a UK-based managed service provider (MSP), has agreed to sell hybrid cloud services powered exclusively by the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform.

The partnership is notable because most MSPs have yet to embrace hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), an approach to data center IT that combines software-defined storage, network and virtual servers.

HCI is still in the early phases of adoption, but the market is growing quickly. The global HCI market is expected to reach $12.8 billion by 2022, up from $804.5 million in 2015, according to Stratistics MRC. That’s a compound growth rate of 48.4 percent.

San Jose-based Nutanix has emerged as one of a dozen or so key players in the HCI market, along with such rivals as Atlantis Computing, Cisco Systems, Dell EMC, HP Enterprise (which recently acquired SimpliVity), Huawei, HyperGrid (formerly Gridstore), Pivot 3, Scale Computing, Stratoscale, and VMware

A Hybrid Cloud Solution

An established MSP in Northern England, Firstnet recently opened its first data center in Leeds under a newly-formed entity called Firstnet Data Centres.

Aspiring to be the first dedicated Tier III data center in its region, Firstnet gives customers a choice of traditional co-location facilities alongside a new mix of managed hosting, virtual desktop and cloud services.

In a statement, Firstnet said it chose the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform for these new services after exhaustive research and competitive analysis.

“We spent months looking at both traditional 3-tier and hyper-converged infrastructure alternatives,” said Paul Straton, Firstnet head of enterprise technologies. Straton said his company found Nutanix to be less complicated and easier to manage than competitors, and “hugely scalable.”

In addition to hybrid cloud, Firstnet has plans to offer Nutanix-powered backup and recovery services from a dedicated disaster recovery suite.

Only recently have MSPs in the UK signed on as Nutanix partners. In December, a provider called IT Specialists (ITS) announced it would be one of the first nationwide.

Bullish on Nutanix?

Investors have been shaky on Nutanix lately, particularly after the latest quarterly financial results, which set low expectations for the current quarter due, in part, to the departure of two sales executives.

However, the stock price jumped 9 percent Tuesday after Wall Street analyst Jason Ader of William Blair released a more positive report about the company's future.

Notably, Ader said his field contacts suggest that sales of Nutanix are growing well for most channel partners, while HCI as a category is receiving more attention and interest from customers.

He also said Nutanix “is viewed as the best product technically” by most people in the channel.