Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

Apple Gallops Out To Larger Tablet Lead With iPad 2 Launch

Apple is winning in the tablet PC market. Not in Charlie Sheen's definition, but in just about every way that matters, including being able to whip people into a froth over what is essentially a minor product update. Apple CEO Steve Jobs even returned from a medical leave of absence to unveil the iPad 2 at an event in San Francisco this week.

There's not a whole lot that's new -- the iPad comes with a thinner design, front-facing and rear-facing video camera, faster processor and an HDMI output for full 1080p quality video. Apple still hasn't seen fit to add a higher resolution display, but frankly, it doesn't have to, at least at this stage, to keep the rabid fanboy and fangirl masses racing to their nearest Apple store to pick one up.

Cloud VAR Appirio Makes First Ever Acquisition

You know a space is hot when VARs start making acquisitions, and so it is in the cloud space, where Appirio agreed to acquire the TRE3 Group, a San Francisco-based purveyor of collaborative selling and social CRM technology.

TRE3, which stands for technology, resources, environment, energy and enlightenment and is pronounced "tree," helps sales, marketing and support teams work better by tying with collaborative selling solutions that tie together CRM and the social Web. "This is Appirio's first acquisition, so it's fitting that this acquisition addresses an area that's been a core of our business since we started four-plus years ago --, sales operations and CRM," Appirio CEO Chris Barbin wrote in a blog post. "It also brings us expertise and an even stronger vision around the social business, and the technologies that can transform customer and employee-facing processes -- just as cloud computing did over the last few years."

Startup Pari Networks Sells Itself Back To Cisco

Cisco Systems this week closed its acquisition of Pari Networks, a Milpitas, Calif.-based specialist in network configuration and change management (NCCM) products for enterprise security.

The deal had to be chock-full of validation for Pari Networks, which was founded in 2005 and whose management team includes five former Cisco executives.

Pari Networks' team will join Cisco's Technical Services group and Pari's technology will be folded into Cisco's smart services portfolio.

VMware Working On Tool For Managing Microsoft Hyper-V

For the past few years VMware has been listening to Microsoft crow about the versatility afforded by System Center Virtual Machine Manager, which can manage VMware environments. VMware moved to address this gloating recently by releasing a beta plug-in called vCenter XVP Manager and Converter, which offers basic virtualization management for Hyper-V.

In spite of its server virtualization dominance, VMware may be accepting that other hypervisors are always going to be part of the equation and that it might as well have a management tool that accounts for this trend. Or, VMware may simply want to force Microsoft back to the drawing board to come up with new angles for marketing Hyper-V.

VCE CEO Capellas Trumpets Virtues Of Best-Of-Breed Stack

VCE Chairman and CEO Michael Capellas this week told VARs at the Cisco partner summit that his company's best of breed cloud building blocks will win out over what he characterized as the single stacks from HP, Oracle and IBM.

Unlike single stack alternatives, the VCE model uses a Cisco networking and Unified Compute System foundation, storage from EMC, virtualization from VMware and processor building blocks technology from Intel. That's a veritable all star team of technology that competitors can't match, according to Capellas.

"We will use those capabilities to provide these frameworks that build out a cloud engineā€¦and keep you always refreshed (with the highest performance cloud technology)," Capellas said. "We will be the best at every layer. We will couple the layers together and this [architecture] will be the leader of the cloud environment."