5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Aug. 15

This week, Amazon made a bet on Acquia, a startup that sells Drupal to enterprises, and a startup led by former VMware engineers came out of stealth making bold claims about its cloud management abilities.

HP and IBM made moves to bolster their businesses, while cloud solution provider 2nd Watch talked about financial results that were tough not to be impressed by.

Amazon Bets On Drupal With Investment In Acquia

Amazon made an undisclosed investment in Acquia, a startup that sells a hosted version of the Drupal open source content management system to enterprises and small businesses.

Acquia runs its entire infrastructure on Amazon Web Services, offers enterprise-grade support and works with a large ecosystem of partners, John Locke, principal consultant at Seattle-based web development firm Freelock, which works with Acquia, told CRN.

Amazon is betting that Drupal is going to be a big hit in the enterprise, and it's placing its bets on one of the vendors that has had the most success in making this happen.

Former VMware Engineers Launch Cloud Startup Platform9, Challenge Alma Mater

Several former VMware engineers got together to form Platform9, a startup that launched this week with the promise of making private clouds easier to manage.

Platform 9's founders claim their technology is more efficient at cloud management than VMware, which they said isn't up-to-speed on the ins and outs of the cloud.

"We were in the thick of things trying to get vCloud Director to work and increase adoption. But the reality is that vCloud Director was designed to solve heavy service provider problems, and it didn't take off in the enterprise," Sirish Raghuram, CEO and co-founder of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Platform9, told CRN.

HP Goes After IBM Partners With Aggressive Server Marketing Blitz

HP took out a full-page ad in The New York Times this week to try and lure away IBM server partners who might be disillusioned with Big Blue's sale of its x86 hardware business to Lenovo.
At least one HP partner likes the boldness of the move.

"I have never seen anything like this in the channel," Jed Ayres, chief marketing officer at MCPc, a Cleveland-based HP partner, told CRN. "No one is making the kinds of investments in partners that HP is to drive a new style of IT. The tenor of the relationship is different than any other vendor relationship. The way we are being treated as partners is exceptional. They truly listen to us. They truly understand our business and the complexity of the transition to the new style of IT. It just feels like a true partnership."

IBM Beefs Up Identity Management Portfolio By Acquiring Tech From Partner

IBM added to its Identity and Access Management (IAM) portfolio by acquiring the IAM business of Lighthouse Computer Services, one of its longtime partners. The goal is to help IBM improve its cloud-based security offerings to better compete with cloud rivals Amazon Web Services, CA and Oracle.

"From a customer perspective, IBM now has the ability to deploy end-to-end, cloud-based IAM services, software and systems," said Latha Maripuri, director of IBM security services. "Our competition may be able to offer a piece of the solution, but IBM will be able to deliver the entire solution."

Cloud Solution Provider 2nd Watch Reports Booming Quarterly Results

While Seattle-based Amazon Web Services partner 2nd Watch is privately held, it shared quarterly financial results this week that were hard to ignore.

Matt Gerber, executive vice president of sales and marketing, told CRN that 2nd Watch saw 400 percent growth in bookings and 300 percent increase in revenue from the year-ago period during its recently concluded fiscal second quarter.

2nd Watch's growth came from selling managed cloud services to enterprise clients, the strength of the Amazon Web Services platform and the maturation of the industry as a whole, Gerber said.