Appointment comes as the two rivals ramp up their competition in the hybrid cloud space
Hybrid cloud solution provider Nutanix reached into the ranks of rival VMware to find its new CEO, naming Rajiv Ramaswami to take over the top spot being vacated by company co-founder Dheeraj Pandey.
The Lowdown: Ramaswami, appointed this week by Nutanix’s board of directors as president and CEO, comes to the San Jose, California-based company after spending more than four years at VMware, with most of that time being the vendor’s COO of products and cloud services.
The Details: Ramaswami takes over a company that’s been undergoing a multi-year transformation, building on its roots as a hyperconverged infrastructure solution provider to expand into the booming hybrid cloud space.
More recently, the company has extended its reach into public clouds and the multicloud world. Nutanix in August unveiled Nutanix Clusters and a partnership with Amazon Web Services that enables organizations to run Nutanix environments in the AWS public cloud. The company will add Microsoft Azure to the public cloud list next year. This month, Nutanix unveiled new hybrid cloud storage solutions that had been available on-premises but now also can run in the public cloud.
Much of this work puts Nutanix in tighter competition with VMware, which also is growing what had been on-premises virtualization and cloud capabilities into the public cloud to ride the hybrid cloud wave. While at VMware, Ramaswami co-managed the company’s VMware’s products and services and was helping to drive its transition to a subscription and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.
Ramaswami will also take a spot on the Nutanix board when it meets Dec. 14. Pandey will step down from the board at that same meeting. Pandey in August announced plans to retire once a successor was found.
The Impact: Hybrid cloud – with some workloads and data residing in public clouds and others in on-premises data centers – is quickly becoming the operating model of choice for organizations. A survey by Flexera found that 87% of respondents already had a hybrid cloud strategy in place and those results came out just before the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up enterprises’ demand for more cloud services. Market research firm Mordor Intelligence is forecasting the global hybrid cloud market to grow from $45.7 billion last year to more than $128 billion by 2025.
As demand for hybrid clouds continues to grow, vendors in the cloud space are pushing to play on both sides of the fence. Cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud are offering ways for organizations to run their cloud services on-premises, while traditional data center players like Nutanix, VMware, Dell, Lenovo, Cisco, and Hewlett Packard Enterprises are making moves into the cloud space.
Background: Prior to his time with VMware, Ramaswami held positions with a range of tech vendors, including Broadcom, Cisco, Nortel, and IBM. He takes over a company with 6,155 employees and more than 18,000 customers. In its latest financial quarter, Nutanix saw revenue rise 0.6% year-over-year to $313 million, with its run-rate annual contract value jumping 29% to $1.29 billion.
The Buzz: “Rajiv is an accomplished leader with a track record of delivering a high-growth portfolio of products and services,” said Sohaib Abbasi, lead independent director of Nutanix. “Rajiv distinguished himself among the CEO candidates with his rare combination of operational discipline, business acumen, technology vision, and inclusive leadership skills. The talented Nutanix team, under Rajiv’s leadership, is well-positioned to drive sustained growth, to improve efficiency, and to advance leadership in the emerging hybrid cloud infrastructure category.”
“I’m thrilled to be joining Nutanix at this transformative time for the company and the industry,” Ramaswami said. “I have long admired Nutanix as a formidable competitor, a pioneer in hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, and a leader in cloud software. Working closely with the board, the management team, and the more than 6,000 talented Nutanix employees around the world, we will build on Nutanix’s strong foundation of continuous innovation, collaboration, and customer delight. Together, we will capitalize on the significant opportunities ahead and deliver on the company’s next phase of growth and value creation.”
“Rajiv is the right leader at the right time,” Pandey said. “With a future-proof business model, a loyal and expanding customer base, and a strong technology portfolio, I look forward to seeing Rajiv take the helm to lead this incredible team. This is the decade to watch for a company that so values simple, secure, and seamless. On a personal note, it has been a privilege to serve our customers and partners, working closely alongside Nutanix employees.”