Nutanix CEO Squashes Rumor of Sale to Cisco

Dheeraj Pandey says his company has plans to go public and expand its portfolio, and that he is committed to his partnership with Dell.

tech executive

Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey is putting an end to rumors that Cisco Systems will buy his company, issuing a statement May 18 that his company remains committed to Dell as its OEM partner and to its own plans to become "one of the next iconic independent software companies."

In his statement addressed to the "Dell Team," Pandey said he and other company executives have plans to go public "in the not-so-distant future," and that "if we ever decide to become part of another company, Dell will have a front-row seat in bidding for it."

"There is no truth to the rumors," the CEO wrote. "With the ever-increasing attention on convergence and the cloud, we will continue to see press and analysts put forward their guesses on mergers and acquisitions in this space. Keep the faith. If you've known us even a bit, you'd have realized we're a fiercely independent bunch."

The rumors that swept through the industry over the past few days gained momentum after Jared Rinderer, senior research analyst with Equity Capital Research Group, wrote in a column on the StorageNewsletter site May 15 that Cisco wanted to grow its capabilities in the hyper-converged infrastructure space in its growing competition with VMware and its parent company, EMC, both of which were at one time strong partners with the networking giant.

VMware earlier this month launched the VxRack family of hyper-converged data center solutions.

"By acquiring Nutanix, Cisco gains a conspirator with a mutual adversary, VMware," wrote Rinderer, who didn't indicate the source of his information. "For more than a year now, VMware and Nutanix have been in numerous, highly-heated, public skirmishes. VMware is threatened by Nutanix's one-stop shop for datacenter infrastructure and its potential to disrupt VMware's objective of the complete automation of the datacenter. Nutanix dislikes VMware's strategy tax (known as the 'vTax') and vendor lock-in agenda."

Nutanix is a growing presence in both the hyper-converged infrastructure and software-defined storage (SDS) spaces. Rinderer wrote that bringing Nutanix into the fold would help Cisco push back against VMware, which competes more directly with Cisco through its NSX software-defined networking (SDN) platform, the foundation of which is technology that it inherited when it bought Nicira for $1.26 billion in 2012.

Nutanix's Pandey wrote that his company is eyeing markets beyond the hyper-converged infrastructure and SDS spaces, and that executives will detail some of these plans at its upcoming user conference, which opens June 8 in Miami.

"We are also firmly committed to the Dell partnership, just as Dell is committed to Nutanix," he wrote. "We could have over-distributed ourselves by signing many more OEM agreements in the last 12 months, but we've always believed in the mantra of 'less is more.' … You will begin seeing even more business design improvements in the coming months. The market opportunity for Dell and Nutanix is immense, and we are barely getting started."