Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

NetApp Channel Partners Drives Solid Q4, Fiscal Year

Storage vendor NetApp's Q4 earnings report this week was testimony to the economic benefits IT vendors can reap by plying their wares through the channel. Revenue rose 22 percent during the quarter while profit ticked up 11 percent. For NetApp's fiscal 2011, profit jumped 68 percent and revenue rose 30 percent.

Large deals are driving this growth, and Julie Parrish, senior vice president of global partner sales for NetApp, told CRN this week that 77 percent of NetApp's bookings, and at least 75 percent of actual revenue, come from channel partners. It's the highest such figure NetApp's history and it's helping to raise the company's profile in the global storage market.

"That kind of underscores the sentiment I hear from channel partners that they're happy working with us," Parrish told CRN.

Lenovo's Q4 Profit Triples On Rising PC Shipments

Who says the PC market is in the doldrums? Surely not Lenovo, whose Q4 profit more than tripled in large part due to a 16 percent increase in PC shipments. Lenovo blew past Wall Street analysts' forecast of $36.7 million, racking up $42.1 million. For fiscal 2011, Lenovo's more than doubled from $273.2 million to $129.4 million.

Lenovo began selling its LePad tablet in China in March and is readying two Android tablets for sale in North America this summer, one for consumers and the other for business users. Lenovo says it wanted to take its time with tablets to ensure quality product, and soon the market will decide whether the company has succeeded in this goal.

AT&T Steps Up To Plate With $1 Billion Cloud Investment

AT&T this week declared its intention to invest $1 billion this year in cloud services and mobility, in the latest sign of telecom carriers' eagerness to get skin in the game in these fast emerging IT segments.

AT&T says the $1 billion will go toward development of enterprise mobility apps and cloud and as-a-service upgrades, as well as platforms, systems and capabilities that automate time consuming IT support processes.

The move is fueled in large part by rival Verizon's aggressive investments in cloud infrastructure and cloud service delivery. Of course, AT&T also has a pending $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile to sort out, so we'll have to see how quickly its cloud plans take shape.

Oracle, Cisco Server Sales Heating Up

Cisco and Oracle haven't exactly been tearing up the server market of late, which is why it was surprising to see both companies turn in healthy results in IDC's Q1 global server market rankings.

Cisco's blade server sales were especially impressive: In Q1, the networking giant sold 17,000 blades and racked up $171 million in revenue, accounting for 9.4 percent of the global blade server market, according to IDC. This vaulted Cisco past Dell and into third place in the segment behind HP and IBM. Just two years after entering the server market, Cisco now has a 3 percent share.

Oracle, meanwhile, sold $773 million in server, up 13.6 percent from last year, according to IDC. Oracle now has 7.5 percent of the global server market, which isn't bad considering that its server sales have been slipping since its acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

Citrix Acquires SMB Focused Desktop Virtualization Startup Kaviza

Citrix gave channel partners a gift this week by acquiring Kaviza, an up and coming VDI vendors whose VDI-in-a-box product has been attracting attention in the SMB market for its ability to remove the pain from VDI deployments.

Kaviza automates much of the set up and provisioning of VDI, and it runs on commodity server hardware, which makes its cost effective and simple to scale up.

Citrix has XenDesktop, but the Kaviza deal is being interpreted as the company wanting to make it easier for the lowest end of the market to deploy a VDI product that's exactly tailored to their size and scale.