5 Questions with…..Jonathan Adair – Sr. Systems Engineer – Nutanix

Some time ago, I mentioned to Adam that I thought it would be fun to do a “5 Questions with…..” interview with partners that we meet and/or customers we work with as we are constantly meeting and working with interesting people.   The plan is to start the interview with a basic introductory question, then dig into “whatever” for 2-3 questions, and then end the interview with a fun question.  So that’s the basic plan, and I’d like to thank Jonathan Adair with Nutanix for being the first brave soul to agree to this!


In this 5 question interview, we start with introductions, move to what differentiates Nutanix from other HCI vendors, adoption of AHV (Acropolis Hypervisor), and finally I asked Jonathan, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan through and through, who is the greatest Steeler of all time!  Good stuff and I hope you enjoy…..


*Please note that these are the thoughts of Jonathan Adair and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Nutanix.

  1. What’s your role with Nutanix?

My current title is Sr. Systems Engineer – Mid-Atlantic Channel. My responsibilities are to enable our Channel Partner Engineers on how to pitch, size, demo, and install Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Solutions.  I have been with Nutanix since March of 2015 with the first two years being a Sr. Systems Engineer focused on State/Local governments and Education customers in the Southeast. 

  1. What attracted you to Nutanix? 

Oh boy…where do I begin? In 2007, I was working at Womack Army Medical Center in Ft. Bragg, NC when I received a call out of the blue from NetApp for a job interview.  I was a System Administrator there at the hospital where I managed mostly Windows server workloads, a Fibre Channel SAN/switches. some light networking, and anything else they asked me to do. The position that I ended up accepting at NetApp was a Level 3 Support Engineer. Through my time at NetApp I was promoted to Systems Engineer where I architected solutions for commercial customers in NC/SC. I ended up leaving NetApp in 2012 after good run because I saw the need to diversify my skillset.

I joined a Reseller where I was able to diversify into Cisco UCS, NetApp, Pure, Nutanix, much more VMware, and Backup architectures etc. In January of 2015 I was introduced to Nutanix for the first time. While all of the companies mentioned make great products, I was completely blown away with Nutanix from a IT stack simplification perspective. I knew the pain of managing 3-tier infrastructure and immediately saw the game changer that Nutanix is for IT management, staff, and end users. I begged Nutanix for a job for 2 months and I was ecstatic they offered me a position in March of 2015.

  1. Within the hyperconverged market vendors such as Dell/EMC, HPE, and Cisco (to name a few) have solutions that compete with Nutanix.  What differentiates Nutanix from the competition?

While there are quite a few differentiations that I will cover, by far the number one is stability.  Not just stability with failures but also stability with mixed workload running on a single cluster. Through many bakeoffs we continually prove this to be the number one differentiation for Nutanix. We are built on a truly web-scale architecture and that is the root of it all. If the system is not stable, nothing else matters. More and more pressure is being applied to IT organizations to do more for the business in a faster and frictionless way and Nutanix does it better than anyone.

Here are some others to consider:

  • Nutanix customer satisfaction scores rank the highest in the industry with a Net Promoter score above 90. Nutanix has won this award 4 years running.  Empathy matters!
  • Nutanix is the ONLY hyperconverged offering on the market that is Hypervisor agnostic. We support VMware, Hyper-V, Acropolis Hypervisor, and XenServer.
  • Nutanix is the ONLY hyperconverged offering that includes an Enterprise ready Hypervisor at no additional cost.
  • The PRISM GUI (HTML 5) management interface is highly available and does not rely on the Hypervisor management interface for availability.  
  • Nutanix clusters can scale infinitely because of the big data architecture that it is built on. No Legacy RAID!
  • Only Nutanix works to preserve data localityfor the fastest possible VM read performance.
  • Nutanix and only Nutanix is 100% transparent about what happens under the hood.  Ask competitors for their Bible.
  • Everything in Nutanix is non-disruptive. Adding nodes, removing nodes, code upgradeshypervisor upgrades, etc.
  • Nutanix is the ONLY HCI provider that allows Storage Only nodes to be added to the cluster quickly and without Hypervisor Licensing cost and with Linear performance gains.
  • Nutanix is the ONLY hyperconverged offering that has built in CIFS and NFS file services.
  • Nutanix is the ONLY hyperconverged or converged offering that has self-healing automated STIG compliance and hardening built in. 

And many…many….more.

  1. A comment I’ve heard several times lately is this, “I have customers running AHV in test/dev, but not in production.”  If there are customers who believe AHV is not ready for production, they are mistaken are they not?  I believe AHV is ready for production and its adoption is increasing.  Assuming what I believe is true, what’s driving AHV adoption in production environments? 

AHV is definitely production ready.  I believe what we are seeing is behavior just like what we saw in the early days of virtualization.  Prior to moving mission-critical workloads to VMware, it took customers some time to feel comfortable.  AHV will be the same even though there are many referenceable customers currently running Mission-Critical applications on it today.  The most important thing for customers is to have Hypervisor choice. What a lot of consumers of AWS do not realize is that it has been running on XenServer and has/is moving to a KVM implementation soon.  The reality is no one should care about the Hypervisor as long as it performs and is stable.  My recommendation for customers is to run the Hypervisor that solves the business requirements at the least cost possible.  Most customers that are using AHV are adopting it to eliminate the current costs of Virtualization technologies such as VMware.  AHV is included at no additional charge for anyone that purchases Nutanix.  Lastly, the ecosystem such as security and backup vendors are beginning to embrace AHV and that will greatly help adoption rates. 

  1. I thought I’d save the most controversial question for last. During our installation bootcamp, you and Adam bonded over your shared and deep affection for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Who is your favorite Steeler of all time and why?

There is no way I can name just one. I will name my top 3 below, in no particular order.

 Jerome Bettis- The Bus was the face of the Steelers for many years. I just loved his attitude and the way he would run over people.

Hines Ward- Ward did it all and always had a smile on his face. Still miss seeing him suit up to this day.

Ben Roethlisberger- After enduring many years of QB torture as a fan it all ended in 2004 when Big Ben was drafted. You are never out of contention for a Super Bowl with Big Ben at QB.

Well, that’s 5 questions with Jonathan Adair with Nutanix!  Thanks again Jonathan for your participation and being the first in what I hope is a long line of the “5 Questions with…..” series.  Personally, I can’t wait to see how your favorite Steelers list matches up to Adam’s.  🙂

If you would like to know more about Nutanix, I encourage you to check out their website and also feel free to leave Adam or myself a comment below.

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