What happened

Hybrid cloud-computing specialist Nutanix (NASDAQ:NTNX) beat the market in 2017, rising 33% compared to a 19% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

^SPX Chart

^SPX data by YCharts

It was a volatile year for shareholders of this young company, though, with the stock losing nearly 50% at one point before climbing back to post significant gains.

So what

Nutanix started the year on a weak note. Its quarterly report in early March led to a sharp stock sell-off following a 77% revenue spike that was paired with soft sales growth guidance for the following quarter.

Inside a server room.

Image source: Getty Images.

However, the software start-up beat those lowered expectations in late May thanks to a client list that is increasingly being populated with large IT spenders such as IBM and HPE.

Now what

Nutanix is aiming to get its enterprise data platform into a growing proportion of the world's biggest businesses in fiscal 2018, and so investors will be looking for its volume of over-$1 million deals to continue improving from the 49 it managed in the fiscal first quarter.

I'd be cautious in buying this unproven business, given that CEO Dheeraj Pandey and his team aren't forecasting achieving overall profitability in their second full year as a public company. On the other hand, growth focused investors might be attracted to the healthy revenue gains management is projecting this year as Nutanix transitions deeper into a software-focused selling model.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.