Nutanix (NTNX) shares spiked in after-hours trading on Tuesday after the cloud firm beat estimates on the top and bottom lines. 

Nutanix, which specializes in cloud infrastructure applications and storage software, reported a narrower-than-expected loss, at 13 cents per share versus the estimated 27 cents per share. It also posted more revenue than expected, at $313 million in quarterly revenue versus the expected $305 million. With revenue guidance aligning with Wall Street's expectations, Nutanix shares spiked as much as 10% in after-hours trading.

"On the top line, it's a combination of repeat customers, large deals -- and we've done a great job in Japan and in Europe as well," CEO Dheeraj Pandey told TheStreet. He noted that the difference in loss versus estimates was partly attributable to the company's seasonal hiring and selling cycles.

Nutanix has been on a growth spurt since going public in September 2016, and shares are up 16% year-to-date. While navigating the public markets, it's also undergoing a major transition in its business model as it phases out the hardware side of its business, and shifts focus entirely to higher-margin software products with recurring subscription revenue.

That means understanding the whole picture of Nutanix's revenue can be a bit tricky, since "pass-through revenue" from hardware sales was eliminated from its quarterly reporting several quarters ago. Looking only at revenue from software and support products, quarterly revenue came to $280.7 million, representing an increase of 44 percent year-over-year. Nutanix is targeting $3 billion in software and support billings by 2021.

Pandey said that Nutanix's revenue growth will swell further as it continues to rack up deals with large enterprises who can't, or aren't incentivized to, 'rent' cloud storage directly from public cloud providers such as Amazon (AMZN) Web Services or Microsoft (MSFT) Azure. "Cloud isn't about a renting model, it's about owning," he added. "There's lots of complications around large enterprises that make it hard to rent everything. Government agencies for example, they can't go to a large cloud provider. They have a lot of silos. And that story is hugely resonating with global 5000 customers."

The company's pursuit of large enterprises may also be reflected in a growing number of big-ticket sales deals, at 311 deals worth more than $500,000 in fiscal 2018 versus 191 in 2017.

On reaching the $3 billion target by 2021, Pandey believes that nurturing its customer base and product portfolio will lead the way.

"The [product] portfolio is pretty rich now -- we believe that doubling down on this porftplio will get us there. The repeat business itself will take care of things," he said.

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