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5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Nov. 12 CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel.

The Week Ending Nov. 12

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is AMD for major updates to its EPYC and Instinct processor lines.

Also making the list this week are Cisco Systems for adding to the type of roles within the Cisco partner program that channel partners can adopt, Collibra and Contrast Security for eye-opening rounds of funding that boost their valuations beyond unicorn status, OpenText for a strategic acquisition in the email security realm, and Solution Provider giant World Wide Technology for its ambitious 2022 hiring plans.



AMD Blitzes Intel, Nvidia With Faster EPYC And Instinct Processors

Chipmaker AMD went on the competitive offensive this week, challenging rivals Intel and Nvidia with a refreshed lineup of CPUs that the company says are faster in data center workloads.

AMD unveiled the additions to its product lineup at the company’s virtual AMD Data Center Premiere event this week.

The company revealed a refresh of its third-generation EPYC processors, code-named Milan-X, that incorporate new 3D chiplet technology to triple L3 cache and dramatically speed up performance. AMD had teased the new chips as part of an upcoming refresh for the Ryzen 5000 desktop CPUs.

AMD also introduced the Instinct M1200 series, the second generation of the company’s GPU accelerators for data centers that incorporate AMD’s purpose-built CNDA architecture. The new processors are expected to compete with Nvidia for high-performance computing and AI tasks.

At the event AMD also updated its EPYC processor roadmap, disclosing that the next generation of EPYC, code-named “Genoa” and set for production next year, will offer 96 cores and use AMD’s next-generation Zen 4 architecture. A 128-core EPYC CPU, tailored for cloud customers, is slated for availability in 2023.



Cisco Arms Partners With New Specializations, Simplified Enterprise Agreement

Continuing to build on the completely restructured partner program it launched last year, Cisco Systems this week added two new “roles” to the program and updated its Specialization track to focus on cross-architectural solution specializations.

In addition to the Integrator and Provider roles initially included in the overhauled program, Cisco is adding Developer and Advisor roles to its partner options, effective Nov. 29. The move will give partners even more opportunity to differentiate their Cisco practices.

Cisco is also evolving its Specialization portfolio by offering five cross-architectural solution-based Specialization areas for partners that excel in more than one Cisco Advanced Specialization: Secure, Agile Networks, Hybrid Work, End-to-End Security, Internet for the Future, and Optimized Application Experiences.

Cisco, which held its virtual Cisco Partner Summit 2021 event this week, also unveiled a highly anticipated revamp of its enterprise agreement licensing model. Partners have been asking for a simpler way to transact business across Cisco’s vast product portfolio.

The new Cisco EA 3.0 offers a single set of terms and conditions for whatever a customer buys from Cisco’s five product categories. Partners can run a sales motion with a single enterprise agreement across multiple technology areas instead of having to use multiple separate agreements.



Collibra, Contrast Security Boost Their Valuations With Impressive Funding Rounds

Data intelligence platform provider Collibra and code security tool developer Contrast Security both scored big in venture capital funding rounds this week with the former more than doubling its pre-money valuation and the latter hitting “unicorn” status.

Collibra raised $250 million in a Series G round of financing this week that more than doubles the New York-based company’s valuation to $5.25 billion. Collibra’s Data Intelligence Cloud provides capabilities that span data catalog, data governance, data privacy, data quality and observability, and data lineage.

Contrast Security, meanwhile, raised $150 million in a Series E round of financing that boosted the company’s valuation to more than $1 billion. The round was led by Liberty Strategic Capital, the private equity fund founded by former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.



OpenText To Buy Zix For $860M, Plans To Create ‘Powerhouse’ SMB Platform

OpenText, a provider of enterprise information management software, struck a deal this week to buy email encryption software developer Zix for $860 million.

OpenText’s plans call for combining Zix software with products from cloud backup provider Carbonite, which OpenText acquired in December 2019 for $1.4 billion, and endpoint security provider Webroot, which Carbonite had previously purchased, to create a platform for SMBs that provides data protection, threat management, email security and compliance capabilities.

The Zix acquisition is also expected to boost OpenText’s technology and go-to-market relationship with Microsoft: Last year Zix expanded into the Microsoft Office 365 space with its $30 million purchase of data backup and recovery provider CloudAlly.

Acquiring Zix also will vastly expand OpenText’s channel partner footprint: Zix brings to OpenText its relationships with approximately 5,600 MSPs thanks to the Zix acquisition of email and web security provider AppRiver in 2019.

And the Zix acquisition, expected to close within 90 days, will create significant cross-sell opportunities in the OpenText and Zix clouds, according to OpenText executives.



WWT To Hire 1,000 New Employees As Part Of Ambitious 2022 Growth Plans

Fast-growing channel superstar World Wide Technology isn’t lowering its ambitions for the upcoming year, with CEO Jim Kavanaugh telling CRN that the St. Louis-based company plans on hiring “at least” 1,000 new employees in 2022. That’s on top of the approximately 1,000 people the company has hired in 2021.

While Kavanaugh doesn’t rule out the possibility of making some small acquisitions in 2022, the hiring plans are part of World Wide Technology’s continued focus on growing organically. That’s in contrast to some solution providers that have rapidly expanded in recent years through big-bet acquisitions.

Kavanaugh cites WWT’s emphasis on corporate culture as a major factor in the company’s ability to double its top-line revenue (now $13.4 billion) and bottom-line profits every several years. The company has rigorous onboarding and management curriculums that cascade throughout WWT to properly train, vet and coach new employees.

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