5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Aug. 29

This week's roundup of companies that came to win includes VMware's launch of new hyper-converged appliances, a major funding win by converged infrastructure company Nutanix, Amazon Web Services' push into cloud file-sharing for small businesses, strong second-quarter results (including PC sales) at Tech Data, and a new channel chief at Palo Alto Networks.

VMware Jumps Into Hyper-Converged Market With Two Appliances

VMware aggressively entered the red-hot market for hyper-converged appliances this week when it debuted the first two of what the vendor promises will be a family of converged infrastructure products.

Speaking at the vendor's VMworld conference in San Francisco this week, CEO Pat Gelsinger introduced the Evo:Rail with compute, networking, storage and management software packaged with x86 server hardware; and Evo:Rack, a pre-configured rack system that Gelsinger said makes it possible to set up a software-defined data center in two hours or less.

Nutanix Raises $140 Million In Financing, Appears Set For IPO

Speaking of the red-hot hyper-converged infrastructure IT market, Nutanix scored big this week when it confirmed that it received $140 million in its latest round of funding. Nutanix said that paves the way for an IPO that could take place as soon as 2015.

The Series E round brought Nutanix's total funding to about $312 million, and gave the San Jose, Calif.-based company an implied valuation of roughly $2 billion. Howard Ting, senior vice president of marketing and product management, said the new funds would be used to fuel its R&D and sales efforts.

Amazon Rolls Out File-Sharing Service

Amazon Web Services is far and away the dominant vendor in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service arena. This week the company took a major step toward expanding its cloud computing presence by making its recently launched Zocalo file-sharing service available for all AWS users.

Zocalo, initially available only for enterprises, is AWS' entry into the intensely competitive market for secure document storage and sharing cloud services for smaller businesses. Box, Dropbox for Business, Google Drive and Egnyte are already vying for customers in this market and the addition of Zocalo will push that competition to new heights.

PC Sales Drive Tech Data's Q2 Sales Growth

Tech Data this week reported an impressive 8.1 percent bump in revenue for its second quarter to $6.8 billion. CEO Robert Dutkowsky (pictured) said the distributor, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, benefited from increased demand from U.S. businesses looking to bolster their IT infrastructure with an improving economy. And despite all prognostications about the death of the PC market, the distributor reported strong PC sales in the quarter as well.

Also this week, Tech Data said it would expand its TDCloud business unit with more dedicated resources and named company veteran Stacy Nethercoat as vice president to oversee the cloud operation.

Palo Alto Networks Names New Channel Chief, Upgrades Partner Program

Palo Alto Networks this week hired channel veteran Todd Palmer to be the network security appliance maker's vice president of Americas channels. Palmer previously spent five years overseeing NetApp's Americas channel program, and before that was a sales executive at CA Technologies where he helped build a channel program around its backup and recovery products.

Palmer will oversee a number of planned enhancements to the vendor's NextWave Partner Program, including bigger rebates and a pledge of 48-hour response time for deal registration, designed to encourage partners to bring in deals on their own and see them through to deployment. New presales technical accreditation for channel sales representatives is also available.