5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Aug. 4, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel, including NetApp, Cisco Systems, D&H Distributing, Nile and Dynatrace.


The Week Ending Aug. 4

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is NetApp for launching its new channel program that puts increased emphasis on partner competencies.

Also making the list are Cisco Systems for a key acquisition in the internet monitoring technology space, NaaS startup Nile for an impressive funding round, observability tech developer Dynatrace for a savvy acquisition, and D&H Distributing for its innovative new “hands-on and virtual” collaborative solutions lab.

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NetApp Launches New Partner Sphere Program With Emphasis On Competencies

NetApp has completely revamped its channel program, putting increased emphasis on solution provider competencies to help channel partners differentiate themselves in the competitive cloud arena.

The new NetApp Partner Sphere program, launched this week, aims to make it simpler for partners to demonstrate their unique value both to the vendor and to their customers, NetApp channel chief Jenni Flinders (pictured) told CRN.

“Our goal is to make it easy for partners to drive consumption, manage their sales tools and more,” Flinders said. “We want to let partners drive their unique values. So we are shifting the focus away from products and toward competencies.”

Partner Sphere aims to help partners expand their business in three focus areas: cloud, hybrid cloud, and AI/analytics, with a total of 19 competencies. Cloud competencies, for example, include cloud modernization across the three leading cloud platforms and cloud optimization using NetApp Spot. Hybrid cloud competencies include hybrid multi-cloud with VMware and Storage as a Service with NetApp Keystone.

NetApp has also moved its channel partners, including 850 partners in North America, into three new tiers within the NetApp Partner Sphere program: Approved, Preferred and Prestige. Requirements for the top tier include demonstrating a high level of competencies along with a solid book of business.

Cisco Scoops Up Internet Monitoring Startup Code BGP

Cisco this week said it had acquired Code BGP, a privately held Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) monitoring technology company based in Greece. It’s Cisco’s seventh announced acquisition this year.

Code BGP will be absorbed into Cisco Thousand Eyes, the company’s network intelligence operation that Cisco picked up in a 2020 acquisition. The Code BGP technology will expand ThousandEyes’ BGP monitoring capabilities to give the business unit a global view of internet health, Cisco said.

BGP is an essential technology for the function of the internet, but it’s complex, making it a challenge to detect and troubleshoot such incidents as BGP hijacks and route leaks across the many thousands of networks that make up the internet, especially at scale, said Joe Vaccaro, Cisco ThousandEyes product vice president, in a blog post.

Navigating these incidents requires quick detection and remediation to avoid downtime and protect users, making BGP visibility an essential capability for organizations that rely on the internet to connect customers, employees and business systems to applications and services,” Vaccaro said.

Adding Code BGP into the Cisco ThousandEyes team will increase Cisco’s BGP monitoring capabilities and grow the company’s pool of internet research and engineering talent, Vaccaro said. The Code BGP team, which will be joining Cisco ThousandEyes, consists of renowned BGP experts who are well-versed in internet routing and measurement.

NaaS Startup Nile Raises $175M In Series C Funding

IT startups once routinely announced eight- and even nine-digit funding rounds, but venture capital has been very hard to come by this year. Nile, the Networking-as-a-Service (NaaS) startup backed by former Cisco CEO John Chambers, makes this week’s Came to Win list for its impressive $175 million Series C funding round.

Nile, which exited stealth mode less than a year ago, said the round reflects the demand from businesses for reimagined enterprise networking and more flexible ways to consume IT.

The company’s NaaS platform offers wired and wireless services with built-in security features. In March Nile updated its flagship platform to include zero trust access, zero trust network and zero trust isolation.

The new financing brings the San Jose, Calif.-based company’s total funding to $300 million. The company plans to apply the funding toward the company’s global market expansion.

“Network connectivity is essential for all businesses, and the new funding allows us to continue focusing on our core strengths and drive greater market expansion,” Vice President of Channels Vivek Khemani told CRN. “One of our primary goals with this raise is to open more channels through large systems integrators and service providers to expand our reach into large global customers.”

Dynatrace To Buy Rookout To Expand Debugging Capabilities

Returning to the topic of strategic acquisitions, observability tech vendor Dynatrace said it is buying Rookout, a developer of debugging software, in a deal set to close by Sept. 30.

Dynatrace plans to leverage the Rookout technology to help developers deliver more secure releases of their software. Adding Rookout’s capabilities to Dynatrace’s platform promises to give developers more code-level observability into production environments, providing more control for troubleshooting and debugging in production.

The artificial intelligence and automation capabilities in the Dynatrace platform promise to speed up debugging with Rookout, eliminating some manual tasks, according to Dynatrace.

D&H Unveils Hands-On And Virtual Solutions Lab

D&H Distributing is now offering a collaborative solutions lab at its Harrisburg, Pa., location that partners can dial into virtually and get help with demonstrations, training and enhanced pre-sales support.

The new Technology Solutions Program helps the distributor’s MSP and vendor partners leverage a “state-of-the-art, dual-purpose training and demo facility” that includes live hands-on offerings and virtual opportunities.

“What this really solves is that in order to provide demonstrations, training and proofs of concept to win deals, somebody has to have all that equipment on hand to show how it can work,” Jason Bystrak, senior vice president of the Modern Solutions Business unit at D&H, told CRN.

“Especially when you think about something as powerful as video collaboration, it really comes down to seeing is believing. This allows all that to happen, whether it’s us bringing channel partners in to do the training alongside the vendors or everybody meeting at our facility to use this as a proof of concept with an end user to win a deal,” he added.

MSPs are getting more involved in video collaboration as more and more end customers, particularly SMBs, are figuring out their hybrid work strategies, Bystrak said.

The solutions lab includes a 24-foot-wide video wall with an eight-input-by-eight-output UHD signal matrix switcher. Cameras and microphones are also installed throughout the lab as events can be attended live or broadcast simultaneously to off-site locations.