5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

This week's roundup of companies that came to win include Lenovo finally finalizing a long-rumored deal, VMware making a major mobile security play and Juniper Networks posting some record news. Also, Druva launches a new partner program and database developer MemSQL receives a big funding boost.

Almost a year after CRN first reported on a deal being in the works, Lenovo said Thursday that it is purchasing IBM's x86 server business for $2.3 billion. The purchase price includes $2 billion in cash with the balance in Lenovo stock and is still subject to regulatory approval. Approximately 7,500 IBM employees worldwide are expected to be offered employment by Lenovo.

Lenovo partners were thrilled with the acquisition.

"There is no question Lenovo is going to be able to turn IBM's server business around. IBM struggled to gain traction in the SMB market because it was perceived as an expensive alternative. The Lenovo channel has been aggressive, price-conscious and a friend of SMB. Not only will IBM's cachet help us win in SMB, it will allow me to crack my enterprise business open and make more money," said Lou Giovanetti, co-founder of Woburn, Mass.-based CPU Sales and Service.

VMware made a major move into the mobile security business Wednesday as the virtualization vendor said it was acquiring AirWatch for $1.54 billion. AirWatch provides mobile device and application management as well as mobile content management solutions for enterprise customers. The acquisition gives VMware a foothold in the end-user computing business.

VMware partners hailed the move, saying the acquisition is a sign the virtualization giant isn't afraid to spend money for the "next big thing."

"VMware just bought the best mobile device management company," said Jed Ayres, chief marketing officer of MCPc. "AirWatch is the leader. VMware's end-user compute story just got 10 times better."

Juniper Networks is no stranger to being in CRN's other weekly slideshow, as the company's many executive changes led to many rough weeks in 2013. But the networking vendor had a great day Thursday, as it reported strong fourth-quarter earnings.

Juniper reported revenue of $1.27 billion, up 12 percent compared with the same quarter last year. Net income increased 59 percent to $151.8 million.

For 2013, Juniper's revenue was up 7 percent to $4.7 billion compared with 2012. Net income for 2013 was $439.8 million, up a massive 136 percent from 2012.

"We are building up a strong base," said new Juniper CEO Shaygan Kheradpir during a conference call with analysts Thursday. "We delivered record revenue this quarter, good growth on a year-over-year basis and a strong book-to-bill. I continue to see substantial opportunities for Juniper to grow and deliver value."

What do savvy IT vendors do when faced with increased competitive pressure? They turn to the channel, of course.

This week Druva, a developer of secure mobile backup and data protection software, launched its two-tier partner program in an effort to boost sales and counter growing pressure from competitors. Steve McChesney, Druva's business development vice president, told CRN the company is transitioning away from its direct sales model and will rely more on channel sales.

"We are making an all-in investment in the channel," McChesney said, outlining plans to invest heavily in channel development, partner training, deal registration and marketing materials for partners. The program includes an authorized reseller level and a certified level for resellers who go the next step to receive training and certification. The company also has eight regional channel managers to support the program.

Big money for big data seems to be the norm these days. Still, people took notice this week when San Francisco-based MemSQL said it had secured $35 million in Series B funding. The investment round, led by Accel Partners, brings the company's total funding to $45 million.

Founded in 2011 by former Facebook engineers Eric Frenkiel and Nikita Shamgunov, MemSQL develops distributed, in-memory database software targeting applications in real-time analytics. While some of the new financing will go toward continued development of MemSQL's technology, CEO Frenkiel told CRN in an interview that some of the money will be used to expand the company's sales and marketing efforts, including developing a channel program for reseller, ISV and OEM partners.