5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Aug. 25, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including AMD, VMware, IBM, Sophos, and the top scorers in the CRN 2023 Annual Report Card.


The Week Ending Aug. 25

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is AMD for a strategic acquisition in the AI space that will help it compete with rival Nvidia.

Also making the list isVMware for a series of technical innovations and product enhancements unveiled this week at its Explore event. IBM previewed a new generative Ai tool for easily converting COBOL code into Java. And cybersecurity provider Sophos is here for its new incident response retainer option.

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And congratulations to all the companies who won top scores from solution providers in the 2023 CRN Annual Report Card.

AMD Acquires Mipsology To Ramp Up AI Inference Rivalry With Nvidia

AMD has acquired French startup Mipsology to strengthen its AI inference software capabilities as the chip designer mounts its biggest challenge yet to AI chip powerhouse Nvidia.

AMD said that Mipsology, “a leader in AI software and long-standing AMD partner,” will help the company “accelerate our customer engagements and expand our AI software development capabilities.”

The acquisition is part of AMD’s larger strategy to challenge Nvidia’s dominance in the AI computing space with a broad portfolio of what AMD CEO Lisa Su has called “leadership GPUs, CPUs and adaptive computing solutions for AI inferencing and training.”

Mipsology’s expertise is in developing “plug-and-play” software that speeds up AI inference performance without requiring new tools or changes to neural network models, which are key to AI applications.

Vamsi Boppana, senior vice president of AMD’s AI group, said the Mipsology team would help AMD “develop our full AI software stack, expanding our open ecosystem of software tools, libraries and models to pave the way for streamlined deployment of AI models running on AMD hardware.”

VMware Launches AI Offerings, NSX+, And Tanzu Update At Explore

VMware’s technical prowess was on display at the company’s Explore event this week where the virtualization giant unveiled a new generative AI offering and new products around multi-cloud and the hybrid workplace.

Topping the list of Explore announcements is a partnership with Nvidia, the VMware Private AI Foundation, which provides technology that runs on the VMware Cloud Foundation architecture. The appliance can be used to customize models and run generative AI applications including intelligent chatbots, assistants, search and summarization in multiple environments. The company is also building AI assistants into its products.

VMware also debuted significant enhancements to its VMware Tanzu application engine that the company said makes it possible for systems administrators to update underlying IT infrastructure without disrupting an application that is running in production.

The new VMware vSAN Max provides vSphere administrators with a way to scale up data storage capacity, independent of compute capacity, within hyperconverged environments. Also making its debut at Explore was NSX+, an update of VMware’s NSX network and security virtualization technology, that helps network security administrators build a single policy layer in the cloud for network security policies, firewall rules and load-balancing policies.

VMware also said it has enhanced its VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator (formerly VMware SASE Orchestrator) to help customers plan, deploy, run, visualize and manage edge environments. And new capabilities in the company’s Autonomous Workspaces software helps detect problems before they become apparent to users.

IBM Teases Watsonx Generative AI Tool That Translates COBOL Into Java

VMware wasn’t the only company making moves in AI this week. IBM said it will preview its upcoming Watsonx Code Assistant for Z generative AI-assisted offering, a new AI tool that will give solution providers a way to quickly translate customers’ COBOL code on IBM Z into Java to modernize applications.

This week IBM said it plans to demonstrate the breakthrough generative AI offering at its IBM TechXchange event in Las Vegas in September. The company is shooting for general availability of the product by the end of the year.

IBM said the new offering will create service engagement opportunities in application modernization for strategic service providers, systems integrators, VARs and other partners. It should also help solution providers advance customer adoption of DevOps and agile development practices.

Code Assistant for Z promises to help users manage total cost, complexity and risk with app modernization, according to IBM. Other IBM Z app modernization approaches include rewriting all code to Java or migrating to a public cloud, which could sacrifice Z capabilities while failing to reduce costs.

IBM’s Code Assistant for Z promises to produce object-oriented Java code optimized to interoperate with the rest of the COBOL app with the Customer Information Control System (CICS) transaction processing subsystem, Information Management System (IMS) transaction processing database, Db2 transaction and analytics database, plus other z/OS operating system runtimes, according to IBM.

Sophos Aims To Bring Predictable Costs To Incident Response With New Retainer

Sophos makes this week’s Came to Win list for its launch of a new retainer option that aims to enable greater predictability on cost for its incident response engagements, which provide investigation and remediation in the event of a major attack such as ransomware.

The cybersecurity vendor’s offering stands out from other incident response retainers on predictability by providing customers with a fixed-cost, fixed-term agreement for the IR service, according to Joe Levy, president, CTO and chief product officer at Sophos.

Sophos designed the retainer that way after “customers were telling us they were hesitant to engage with incident response services, because they simply had no idea what it was going to cost them,” Levy told CRN. “And they simply had no idea how long this thing was going to take and how long it could potentially drag on.”

Another unique element of the Sophos Incident Response Retainer is that it comes with 45 days of 24/7 MDR (managed detection and response) coverage, the company said. The goal is to ensure that “we were actually fully successful in neutralizing the threat,” Levy said.

All in all, the Sophos Incident Response Retainer is aimed at expediting the access that customers have to response services in the wake of a ransomware attack, data breach or other major cyber incident, according to the company.

IT Vendors Win Top Grades From Solution Providers In The CRN 2023 Annual Report Card

Congratulations are due to the IT companies who came out on top in the CRN 2023 Annual Report Card.

Solution providers graded IT vendors across 25 technology categories that are critical to the channel according to 21 criteria in four categories: product innovation, support, partnership, and managed and cloud services.

Sixteen companies earned the highest overall average score across the 25 technology categories. Some of the participating vendors earned the highest average score for one of the four criteria categories or the highest grade in at least one or more specific criteria such as product quality and reliability, solution provider program, and pre- and post-sales support.

Sophos was this year’s top winner, earning the highest average scores in five technology categories: data security, extended detection and response, enterprise network security, SMB network security, and security cloud (the last a tie with SentinelOne).

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, was the top winner in four technology categories: enterprise networking infrastructure, enterprise wireless LANs, SD-WAN, and SMB networking.

HPE, Scale Computing and SentinelOne (including the tie) each came out on top in two categories while these 11 companies had the highest average score in a single technology category: Acer America, Barracuda Networks, Buffalo Technology, Intel, N-able Technologies, Pure Storage, Spectrum Partner Program, Tenable, Vertiv, Wasabi Technologies and Zoom Video Communications.