Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

Wall Street Likes Juniper's New Data Center Architecture

Juniper this week unveiled QFabric, its next-generation data center architecture that promises dramatically improved throughput and scalability along with the ability to wring even more cost out of data center operations.

QFabric is the culmination of Juniper's three-year-old Project Stratus, into which the company has directed more than $100 million in R&D. Investors welcomed the arrival of QFabric, sending shares up more than 3 percent in the wake of the unveiling.

"As cloud computing and mobile Internet accelerate, demand is intensifying for a quantum leap forward in data center capabilities," Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson said this week. "With QFabric, Juniper is transforming data center economics by introducing the only network fabric that is able to eliminate multiple layers of cost and complexity."

Acer Kicks Off U.S. Server, Storage Channel Assault

Acer hasn't been much of a player in the U.S. server and storage markets, but that could soon change. This week, the Taiwanese firm launched a range of business-class servers and storage products, including storage arrays from its reseller deal with Hitachi Data Systems.

There's also a channel play here: Acer has invested in a complete support infrastructure for business customers and has vowed to serve them through a 100 percent indirect model. "We made the strategic decision to launch with a full range of products that matches up well with companies like HP and Dell," Todd Mottershead, the company's senior manager for server and storage in the U.S., told CRN this week. "They've gone through a strong development and quality process."

AMD Gets Foothold In Apple's Macbook Line

AMD has been shedding executives with alarming frequency lately and has even been mentioned as a possible acquisition target for Dell. AMD definitely has seen more stable times, but Apple's decision to use AMD graphics cards in its next-generation MacBook line, announced this week, was a major win for the company.

If this is a sign that Apple has taken a liking to AMD, all sorts of good things could result. Nomura Analyst Rajit Shaw, in a note to investors this week, said Apple may choose AMD GPUs in future notebooks.

’While volumes of the MacBook Pro are not significant, we continue to believe that AMD’s relationship with Apple is strengthening. We expect Apple to use AMD’s second-generation Fusion APU chip (Krishna, ASP $50-75) for high-volume notebook platforms (MacBooks),’ Shah wrote.

Intel Unveils Forthcoming Itanium 'Poulson' Processor

Intel this week took the wraps off its next-generation Itanium processor, code-named Poulson, and said it increases overall bandwidth by 33 percent. Poulson leverages Intel's Xeon architecture, adding twice the high-capacity cores along with additional data and instruction pipelines, a floating-point pipeline and an instruction buffer.

"This optimization allows Poulson to issue up to 2X the number of instructions down its execution pipelines vs. the previous Itanium implementations," Rory M. McInerney, vice president of the Intel Architecture Group and director of Intel's Microprocessor Development Group, said this week.

"For the end user this means that we believe we have an architecture that will provide a significant performance benefit for Poulson over the Tukwila implementation and builds a foundation for future Itanium processors."

Virtualization Vendor AppSense Gets $70M VC Infusion

Virtualization software vendor AppSense has been around for more than a decade and is much older than most companies that manage to pull in $70 million in funding in its first-ever VC round. But AppSense, in the wake of its VC infusion from Goldman Sachs, is poised to expand its business in the emerging user virtualization space and it's looking for partners to assist in this effort.

AppSense said the $70 million will go toward building its infrastructure, operations, global presence, technology, sales and marketing and helping the company take advantage of the strong market interest in user virtualization.

"The investment will enable faster expansion into new territories where demand for AppSense technologies is exceeding supply," AppSense Senior Product Marketing Manager Gareth Kitson said this week.