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Nutanix expands, pockets PernixData,

Nutanix, the hyper-converged vendor that may go public within weeks, is expanding its technology base through two software acquisitions.

Nutanix Monday will officially disclose acquisitions of flash and RAM caching software startup PernixData and DevOps automation vendor Nutanaix CEO Dheeraj Pandey said the acquisitions will bring technology to take advantage of next-generation flash and to allow applications to run across any cloud or on-premise storage and server platforms. Those capabilities can accelerate Nutanix’s goal of developing an enterprise cloud platform.

Nutanix did not reveal the price it paid for either company. The PernixData acquisition was expected following a month or so of rumors about the deal.

Nutanix filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in December, and has filed three extensions while waiting for the IPO market to improve. Pandey said Nutanix did not use a $75 million loan from Goldman Sachs to pay for the two startups. Nutanix disclosed the load when it filed its second IPO extension in May.

A source who has spoken to Nutanix bankers said the company plans its IPO in September. The same source said Nutanix paid less than $30 million for PernixData. Industry sources close to PernixData said it had $9.3 million in bookings in 2014 and $17 million in 2016. It raised $62 million in funding, but none since a $35 million round in August 2014.

Nutanix executives said their acquired technologies will lead to new software stacks for storage-class memory systems, enhanced Application Mobility Fabric to enable cross-cloud workload migration, and cloud orchestration and workflow automation. One Nutanix design goal is to bring access to all clouds and platforms under one management interface. Nutanix executives often talk about providing one-click data migration throughout the data center.

PernixData’s FVP software pools and caches flash and RAM across servers. The technology will help Nutanix “hug the application,” as Pandey described it.

“PernixData has built a very strong muscle memory around storage-class memory, better than any of the storage startups we know of,” Pandey said during a conference call to  disclose the deals. “They also see every I/O without compromising on data consistency. That vantage point gives them a unique advantage to pull off online application migration – that one-click delight that Nutanix has always worked towards.”

A short-term problem is FVP supports only VMware ESX virtualization. Nutanix plans to modify FVP to work with its Acropolis and other hypervisors.

“Our approach has been about simplifying the data center using the same architecture for virtualized, bare metal or cloud workloads,” said Sunil Potti, Nutanix chief product and development officer. “We want to make sure we can leverage all the goodness of FVP, but in a unified architecture.”

Potti said the hyper-converged vendor will continue to support FVP customers but did not say if it would continue it as a standalone product long-term. PernixData claims it has close to 1,000 customers, but that was not enough to sustain the business long-term.

Server-side flash caching didn’t take off as expected,” said Henry Baltazar, storage research director for 451 Research. “PernixData had some success but it never became mainstream.”

But Baltazar agreed with Nutanx executives that PernixData technology can help take advantage of next-generation flash technologies.

“A lot of changes are coming soon to flash, 3D XPoint will make solid-state faster. It will be close to DRAM speeds,” he said. “The closer applications and CPUs are to flash, the faster they will be. Caching technology will help Nutanix get a leg up on what flash speeds are going to be.”

Calm DevOps automation software helps manage runtime lifecycle for distributed services running in cloud environments. It can orchestrate virtual machine, container and binary workloads.

Nutanix was among the first vendors to sell hyper-converged systems combining compute, storage and virtualization. It is considered the hyper-converged market share leader — claiming $305.1 million in revenue over the ninth months that ended April 30 – but VMware is challenging that lead with its Virtual SAN (VSAN) software.