5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending March 13, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their 'A' game to the channel.


The Week Ending March 13

Topping this week’s list of companies that came to win is VMware for debuting its Kubernetes strategy and expanding beyond its virtualization roots into the world of container technology.

Also making the list are Intel for its efforts to overturn a European Commission anti-trust fine, Arctic Wolf for a successful financing round that will help propel it toward an IPO, and Apstra for launching its first-ever channel partner program. Also making the list are all the IT vendors, solution providers and MSPs who are working with their customers to develop business continuity plans, help employees work from home and take whatever steps are necessary to weather the coronavirus crisis.

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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.

VMware Unleashes Its Kubernetes Strategy

In what the company was calling the biggest evolution of vSphere in the last decade, virtualization giant VMware unveiled a comprehensive Kubernetes strategy this week, putting into wide release the new Tanzu container platform and directly integrating the container orchestration into the vSphere virtualization platform.

The move comes as the growing adoption of container technology blurs the virtualization world that VMware created. Company executives said the new products represent a major leap for the company in executing a strategy to offer truly hybrid and multi-cloud architectures.

Tanzu, a set of Kubernetes-based container services that make it possible to weave modern applications into an organization’s application portfolio. Tanzu includes Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, Tanzu Mission Control and Tanzu Application Catalog.

The company also introduced VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0, which incorporates vSphere 7.0, a re-architecture of that flagship product to incorporate Kubernetes.

Intel Challenges EU’s $1.2 Billion Fine For Antitrust Behavior

Intel this week challenged a $1.2 billion fine levied by European Union antitrust regulators 10 years ago in which the EU charged Intel with anti-competitive behavior against rival AMD.

The European Commission levied a fine of 1.06 billion euros in 2009 after concluding that Intel gave illegal rebates to computer manufacturers including Dell, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and NEC on the condition that they buy most of their processors from Intel. That, the EC said, effectively blocked AMD from competing.

Intel has challenged the EC’s conclusions, arguing that the regulators’ economic analysis of whether the rebates were anti-competitive were faulty.

Intel made its case this week before the European Union’s General Court, which is re-hearing the case after the EU Court of Justice in 2017 threw out the General Court’s original 2014 ruling that upheld the European Commission’s 2009 decision to fine Intel.

Managed Security Firm Arctic Wolf Raises $60 Million In Pursuit Of IPO

Artic Wolf this week closed a $60 million funding round that will fuel the company’s growth and help it hit its revenue, profitability and cash burn threshholds as it eyes an initial public offering within the next two-and-a-half years.

The managed detection and response vendor must develop discipline around U.S. Securities and Exchange requirements such as quarterly financial reports and managing investor relations as it moves toward an IPO.

The new D Series funding will provide Arctic Wolf with the resources it needs as it develops the necessary operational systems and financial dynamics to go public.

While managed detection response is a potentially huge market, it remains fragmented, making Arctic Wolf well positioned to become the market leader.

Intent-Based Networking Pioneer Apstra Launches Formal Channel Program

Intent-based networking startup Apstra wins applause this week for launching its first formal partner program.

The company is emphasizing that the new Apstra Partner Advantage program will focus on simplicity and provide a straight-forward approach to working with the vendor, John Atchison, global partner marketing director, told CRN.

Rather than being built with complex tiers and certifications, the Apstra Partner Advantage program offers deal registration, market development funds and other resources to all partners who join. The program is also flexible in that it lets customers choose the hardware and operating systems from multiple vendors they work with (Apstra is vendor-agnostic), opening up new selling opportunities for partners, according to the company.

As Coronavirus Pandemic Expands, IT Vendors And Solution Providers Offer Work-At-Home Options

As the coronavirus pandemic widens and more people choose – or are ordered – to work at home, IT companies and solution providers have been actively offering ways to make that possible.

Cisco Systems, for example, has extended free licenses and expanded usage counts at no charge for three of its security technologies to help strained IT teams and partners better support employees who are working from home.

Strategic service provider Cumulus Global is advising its customers to use “free” versions of Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts Meet for work-at-home scenarios due to the pandemic.

And MSPs are helping their clients help their employees work from home, developing business continuity plans and preparing work-from-home solutions for customers.