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5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Dec. 20, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their 'A' game to the channel.

The Week Ending Dec. 20

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Intel for a major acquisition that will boost the chipmaker’s competitive position in AI accelerator technology.

Also making the Came to Win list this week are F5 Networks for its own strategic acquisition in application security, CenturyLink for dipping into the channel to hire managers with solution provider expertise, Tripp Lite for a product introduction that marks its entrance into the micro data center space, and Dell-owned Boomi for an acquisition in the data management space.

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 5 Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

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Intel Acquires AI Chip Startup Habana Labs For $2 Billion

Intel acquired artificial intelligence chip startup Habana Labs for approximately $2 billion this week in a deal that expands the chipmaker’s arsenal of AI accelerator products for the data center market.

The move comes as AI computing becomes a central focus for Intel, which has forecast that the AI silicon market will reach more than $25 billion by 2024. The company expects AI products to generate $3.5 billion in sales this year, more than triple the $1 billion figure the company reported last year.

Intel was also a winner on the personnel front this week when it hired ex-AMD silicon design executive Masooma Bhaiwala to lead its discrete GPU development efforts. Intel intends to make a big splash in the discrete GPU space, starting in 2020, with products targeting high-performance computing, deep learning, gaming and other market segments.

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F5 Networks To Buy Shape Security For $1 Billion To Safeguard Applications

Speaking of strategic acquisitions, F5 Networks, in the largest acquisition in its 23-year history, is buying Shape Security, a rising-star developer of application security technology, for $1 billion.

Shape Security’s technology is used to protect customers from automated attacks, botnets and targeted fraud. The software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to defend against attacks that bypass other security and fraud controls.

F5 said that by combining that technology with its own expertise in application delivery and security across multi-cloud environments, F5 can deliver end-to-end application protection, dramatically reducing the time and resources needed for businesses to deploy online fraud and abuse protection.

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CenturyLink Expands Channel Management Team With Solution Provider Superstars

CenturyLink wins kudos this week for tapping the channel to expand and deepen its indirect channel management bench.

The communications service provider added four new channel managers to its management team, three of whom come from solution provider organizations. The company also promoted one of its channel executives, Matt Thompson, to sales director.

The hires include Mike Brown, who joined CenturyLink from solution provider Opex Technologies; Laura Welch, who joined from solution provider Vertical Network Solutions; and Scott Moerman, who came from data center and connectivity services provider Element Critical.

The four new national channel managers report to Jim Glackin, vice president of strategic partnerships, who in turn reports to Garrett Gee, senior vice president of indirect sales. They are tasked with managing the company’s relationships with several key master agents.

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Tripp Lite Enters Micro Data Center Business With EdgeReady Line

Data center infrastructure manufacturer Tripp Lite made a strategic move into the micro data center market this week with the launch of its EdgeReady system.

The micro data center market is defined by containerized or rack-based modules that combine the rack enclosure, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), network management card, power distribution unit, and sensors and management software into a single unit.

Tripp Lite will have 40 different EdgeReady configurations. The company is entering the micro data center business after years of custom bundling its rack, power and management equipment for channel partners and customers.

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Dell-Owned Boomi To Buy Unifi In Quest For Business Data Insight

Back to the topic of savvy acquisitions, Platform-as-a-Service technology provider Boomi struck a deal this week to buy Unifi Software, a developer of an integrated suite of self-service data tools. With the Unifi technology Boomi, which is owned by Dell Technologies, will be able to help businesses discover and manage all of their data, not just the 30 percent or so that is easily found.

Unifi develops two products: the Unifi Data Catalog for cataloging, searching and interacting with data; and the Unifi Data Platform, which combines the data catalog with other tools for data preparation, governance and security, collaboration and workflow optimization, plus the OneMind AI engine.

Unifi helps resolve an increasingly common problem: With hybrid- and multi-cloud environments information workers often don’t know where their data resides, what data they have or even if it can be trusted.

The acquisition is expected to accelerate Boomi’s plans to provide customers with more insight into their data.

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