Nutanix, flush with $140M in new cash, claims $2B valuation

Nutanix, which helped blaze the trail for storage appliances when it launched five years ago, now has $140 million in new funding from two mystery investors — “premier Boston-based public market investors with over $3 trillion in combined assets under management,” according to the company’s statement.

Hmm, we could make some educated guesses there but let’s move on. This E Series round brings total [company]Nutanix[/company] funding to a healthy $312 million and a claimed valuation of $2 billion.

The news comes just days after VMware, which used to disparage the notion of hardware appliances for software-defined data centers, launched new appliances with hardware partners that run VMware’s virtualization and vSAN software. As is usually the case when an IT giant enters a new market already occupied by a smaller player, Nutanix execs claim that this validates their strategy. VMware’s entry also helps explain why Nutanix boxes that once supported only VMware ESX hypervisors subsequently added support for KVM and  Microsoft Hyper-V — although Nutanix said its multi-hypervisor strategy was driven by customer demand, not competitive pressure.

VMware’s entry is “a validation of our approach in which we deliver software-defined storage in an appliance. [company]VMware[/company] said a year ago when it launched vSAN that you can’t deliver software-defined storage in hardware,” Howard Ting (pictured above), SVP of marketing and product management, said in an interview. “And it raises awareness in our approach.”

San Jose, California–based Nutanix takes Supermicro white-box gear and integrates its own software secret sauce. Dell also partners with the company to offer its own hardware as part of a Nutanix storage appliance.

Nutanix claims some pretty big customers, including [company]Toyota[/company] and [company]Conoco Phillips[/company], which is one reason big (albeit publicity averse) investors are interested, said CFO Duston Williams.

In those big accounts, it’s more likely to compete with big traditional storage players like [company]EMC[/company] and [company]NetApp[/company] than other converged hardware startups like Simplivity, he said.

Asked about a potential IPO, Williams said the company is building itself for the long haul. “We’re starting to think like a public company and are putting processes in place to do that.” He said that sales grew 200 percent year over year.

This funding comes eight months after a $101 million Series D round with contributions from [company]Riverwood Capital[/company], [company]SAP Ventures[/company], [company]Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital[/company] and [company]Greenspring Associates[/company]. Past backers [company]Lightspeed Venture Partners[/company], [company]Khosla Ventures[/company] and [company]Battery Ventures[/company].

nutanix box