Simplicity and reliability
Note Nexenta said they were faster and cheaper than pure storage. They also acknowledged that being an appliance vendor is easier. There's been a few other software-based storage folks over the years but it seems more often than not they go the appliance route. One of the driving reasons is stability. Stability driven by intensive testing done on known hardware/software and certification. The wider you make this list the more difficult it is to support properly(without a massive organization). Very quickly I believe it becomes more cost effective to go the appliance route and devote that $$ used to test a wide range of stuff to support the rest of the stack instead.
I'm a Nexenta customer (very tiny setup - I would not trust them with too much important stuff myself but it's a rounding error in this case) and I still haven't seen good evidence that they are in a position to support ZFS over the longer term now that ZFS is dead as a technology in Oracle's eyes (Oracle still use it I'm sure in their engineered systems and on their own commercial Solaris - I'm referring more to 3rd party use of it). I know they've hired a bunch of ex-Sun people.
The technology has potential from a features standpoint, though the sheer number of features really makes me worry whether or not they are in a position to properly maintain it, storage is really complicated.
The UI for example, if I go in and make a change to the snapshot configuration with the UI I can literally be waiting for 45-60+ minutes for the UI to respond, because each time it refreshes it has to iterate through each and every snapshot on the system individually. It's infuriating. The first few times I saw this I feared the entire system failed, because you can't even login to a 2nd management session it just hangs. A recent version of software they added the ability to "cache" results from these commands for a time but that's really not good enough, because it means at least once I have to wait for upwards of an hour or more for the UI to respond before it's cached. Just one example, fortunately a relatively minor one as it is about the UI.
It's obvious why Nexenta are popular, all these 2-bit VARs and resellers are frothing at the mouth to be able to offer something at a fraction of the cost of other platforms. Some customers are the same way. But of course you do often get what you pay for.
I was just having some drinks last night with a guy who left another mid range storage hardware company, they sell quite a bit, but even them with a company that built their own hardware in house, has an almost non existent support structure and can leave customers hanging for days with degraded/failed systems and they just don't care. I'm surprised they are still around with things like that. Apparently there is traditionally massive turnover in the organization as well. They too are "cheap", well cheapER, another interesting thing is the systems were not intended for 24x7 operation, but are sold as such anyways. At least one other guy that I know who works there hates it there as well, but they pay him well, so he can look past the rest of the issues for now.
I wish Nexenta luck, I feel they are biting off way more than they can chew, especially given the growth.
(my original post was about 4 pages but I decided to remove that stuff, too much to read and less relevant)