Nutanix enables them to run so-called private clouds or keep some of their data in-house and outsource other pieces to the cloud.
"There's a tectonic shift going on in the world of computing," Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey, said in an interview with CNBC after the stock opened for trading.
At $16 a share, the IPO valued the company at close to $2.2 billion. Nutanix's last private round over two years ago was at a share price of $13.40. By contrast, Amazon has more than doubled in value over that stretch. Despite the rapid growth and obvious market demand, Nutanix still has to deal with the new realities of the market.
Twilio, the marquee tech IPO of the year, has more than quadrupled since its debut three months ago. But unlike Nutanix, Twilio is a pure software company and operates at about breakeven.
Three venture-backed U.S. tech companies went public earlier this month. Trade Desk, an advertising technology company, is up 61 percent over its IPO price, emergency software provider Everbridge has gained 36 percent, and business management software vendor Apptio has climbed 35 percent.
Nutanix is bigger than those three companies combined. Start-ups and venture capitalists need it to perform well, so public market investors will show an appetite for more businesses that have been lining up with no place to go.
Norwest's Howard expects plenty of companies to follow in the next year or two. He says that investment banks are actively scouring Silicon Valley for attractive late-stage start-ups, and that companies are focusing on operating leverage, which means improving gross margins and reeling in costs.
"That's the buzzword in every board meeting," Howard said. "A lot of companies have been working on this, and Nutanix is one of the first out of the shoot."