While Nutanix paints its HCI strategy as pure software, Dell comes at HCI from three directions: It has VMware vSAN software, Dell PowerEdge servers and Dell EMC's storage technology.
While Nutanix HCI sales are slowing, Dell reports booming HCI sales from VMware and Dell EMC. It took VMware a few revs of vSAN to get all the functionality and packaging right, but it has momentum now. VMware reported more than 60% year-over-year growth in vSAN license bookings last quarter.
While VMware continues to sell vSAN with other vendors' servers, it is increasingly focused on Dell EMC VxRail appliances. Dell said VxRail sales more than doubled last quarter over the previous year.
Unlike Nutanix, though, Dell's new HCI customers aren't always new to the company. In many cases, they are moving from Dell storage and server products to HCI.
"Any customer who wants to refresh their servers looks at hyper-converged. Any customer who wants to refresh storage looks at hyper-converged," said Chad Dunn, Dell EMC vice president of product management for hyper-converged infrastructure. "We're even replacing a lot of our own converged infrastructure. VxBlock comes up for a refresh, often they'll land on our HCI. If they're a VMware user, they're probably going to select VxRail."
Dell EMC's HCI portfolio also includes XC products with Nutanix software and VxRack Flex with EMC's ScaleIO software. Dunn said when those sales are combined, Dell EMC is the HCI market leader.
"Nutanix is second and everyone else is a distant third at this point," he said. "Dell EMC and Nutanix are almost always in deals."