5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending March 29

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Microsoft for expanding its Azure-based hybrid cloud services in such a way that it will expand channel partners' opportunities.

Also making the list this week is Apple for doubling-down on its services strategy with its plans for a new streaming video service and other offerings. NetApp made the list for fast-growing sales of its hyper-converged system, while Google is on for its new cloud security training and certification. And FogHorn wins kudos for taking steps that create new machine learning application opportunities for systems integrators.

Not everyone in the IT industry was making smart moves this week, of course. For a rundown of companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions, check out this week's Five Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

Microsoft Azure's Expanding Hybrid Cloud Offering A Boon For Partners

Microsoft's introduction of its Azure Stack HCI Solutions this week wins applause for opening up new customer opportunities for the vendor's legions of channel partners.

Azure Stack HCI Solutions is designed for businesses and organizations that want to run virtualized applications on hyper-converged infrastructure. The system incorporates Microsoft's existing HCI technology into the Azure Stack to allow customers to run virtualized applications on-premises with direct access to Azure management services such as cloud-based backup, disaster recovery and monitoring.

The announcement is significant for Microsoft partners because it allows them to reach potential customers they could not engage with before because the businesses and organizations are unable to fully adopt an all-cloud model.

NetApp Reports Triple-Digit Growth In HCI Sales

NetApp reported this week that sales of its hyper-converged infrastructure products grew by triple digits in the company's recently completed third fiscal quarter. The company also said it is winning seven-figure, even multimillion-dollar deals with its HCI portfolio.

The company's HCI platform is particularly winning deals for "heavy-lift workloads" among customers in healthcare and financial services verticals, Jeff McCullough, NetApp vice president of Americas partner sales, told CRN.

McCullough said channel partners are winning deals among enterprise customers by emphasizing the scalability of the HCI systems' compute and storage nodes.

Google Cloud Certification Addresses High-Stakes GCP Security

Google took a major step this week to address the issue of cloud security – and the high demand for cloud security professionals – with its new Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification.

The certification, which will be available for Google Cloud Premier Partners and customers, targets concerns among businesses about the shortage of skilled talent needed to manage cloud technology, make certain that security controls are in place, and manage cloud-based access to protect computing workloads and data.

The training and certification program will ensure that engineers have the skills to design, develop and manage secure infrastructure on the Google Cloud Platform using Google security technologies.

FogHorn Creates Machine Learning App Opportunities For Systems Integrators

FogHorn Systems is using its expertise in developing machine learning software for edge computing tasks and extending it to the Android world. The move is expected to provide opportunities for systems integrators to build high-value apps that take advantage of the company's offline machine learning capabilities.

FogHorn this week launched Lightning Mobile, an edge computing solution that brings the company's machine learning and streaming analytics capabilities to ruggedized Android smartphones and tablets for the industrial market.

FogHorn executives told CRN the technology will open up new opportunities for systems integrators to develop Android edge applications in such verticals as manufacturing, oil and gas, transportation and healthcare that leverage machine learning.

Apple Doubles Down On Services, Introduces Streaming Video And News Subscription Service

Apple made a bold move to greatly expand its service offerings this week, launching the Apple TV+ original video content service, a paid news subscription service and an Apple credit card primarily meant for use with Apple Pay.

Apple's moves can be seen as a matter of necessity to counter slowing Apple iPhone sales, which account for a big chunk of the vendor's revenue.

This week's announcements, which included appearances by A-listers such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston, were proof that Apple is serious about making the big investments needed to compete against other video services like Netflix and Amazon.