5 Companies That Came To Win

The Week Ending June 28

Politics may make for strange bedfellows, but one vendor's move to ally with two longtime rivals caught our attention and probably sets the bar for the IT industry, landing it at the front of our weekly look at companies that brought their 'A' game and made moves to beat out competitors. Also on this week's list is an industry giant that stepped up its partner program, the launch of a partner program by a fast-rising mobile application developer, one company’s savvy open-source move, and a big data startup's successful round of venture financing.

Oracle Sets Alliances With Microsoft And Salesforce.com

Oracle President Mark Hurd chatting with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on a conference call? Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff praising each other in a press conference? What's going on?

Oracle unveiled alliances with longtime rivals Microsoft and Salesforce.com. Under the former Oracle will certify and support its flagship database, middleware and other software products on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform and Hyper-V virtualization technology. Oracle also is providing license mobility for customers who want to run Oracle software on Azure, while Microsoft is offering fully licensed and supported Java for Azure. Under the latter the cloud software company will standardize on Oracle's database, Linux and Java middleware and use Oracle's Exadata Database Machine in its data centers.

With these alliances Oracle is fighting back against competitors by ensuring that some of the industry's biggest vendors use its technology to run their cloud systems.

HP Gives PartnerOne Program A Boost

With the converged infrastructure solution battle heating up, HP is upping the ante with a new four-tier, revenue- and certification-based PartnerOne cChannel program set to launch Nov. 1. Partners say the new financial incentives are sure to turn up the heat on rival vendors, including Cisco, EMC and Dell.

The revamped program offers financial incentives for selling the full HP portfolio, bonuses for selling strategic products such as Moonshot and 3Par, and incentives for selling software products such as HAVEn. It also promises flexibility in using market development funds, simpler certification requirements, reduced paperwork, participation in customer-facing promotions, and business plans for every partner.

Hortonworks Captures $50 Million In Venture Funding

There's been a lot of venture capital handed out to big data startups this year -- closing in on $500 million, as a matter of fact.

But Hortonworks got everyone's attention this week when the Hadoop platform developer said it had raised $50 million in financing. That brought its total financing to $120 million, a war chest that puts the company in a stronger position in the highly competitive big data software arena.

Hortonworks will use the money to grow its global field operations and further invest in its engineering organization. New investors Tenaya Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group led the round with participation from existing investors Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures and Yahoo.

Citrix Brings XenServer Back To Open-Source Community

In what partners called a bold move, Citrix Systems shifted its XenServer virtualization technology to the open-source community and is now focused on providing management and support for it.

XenServer started out as an open-source offering managed by XenSource, which Citrix acquired in 2007. XenServer feature development will now be up to the Linux community via a new portal, XenServer.org. Citrix said the move comes as virtualization technology matures and becomes more in tune with the cloud.

"The opportunities for virtualization are not getting smaller," said Scott Lindars, senior product marketing manager of cloud solutions at Citrix. "But the biggest opportunity today for virtualization is in the cloud. And where that adoption is happening is in open solutions like Hadoop. We feel putting XenServer in the same category as these applications is the best way to drive forward on cloud solutions."

Roambi Puts Channel Program In Gear, Launches Cloud App

Roambi, a rising star in the mobile application arena, this week unveiled plans to launch a North American partner program to recruit solution providers to work with its new Roambi Business cloud service.

Roambi's software, including Roambi Analytics and Roambi Flow, enable mobile device users to access data in disparate corporate systems such as CRM applications, databases and business analytics software. This week the company debuted a cloud version of the software, which until now was available only as an on-premise app that runs on corporate servers.

Roambi has a partner program in Europe where the company originated. The new North American program will focus on the Roambi Business cloud service, recruiting solution providers to sell it and provide implementation and development services. The company also will recruit referral partners.