5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Feb. 6

This week's roundup of companies that came to win includes a technology barrage from VMware, an eye-popping venture funding win for a storage technology startup, and some savvy channel moves by Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks and a fast-growing maker of data backup appliances.

VMware Steps Up Its Technology Game, Offers Partners Consulting Opportunities

With VMware's Partner Exchange event happening this week, one would expect a barrage of new products from the virtualization technology company. And it didn't disappoint, debuting the first major update to its flagship vSphere server virtualization software in nearly four years, a new release of its Virtual SAN software-defined storage system and its first distribution of the OpenStack open-source cloud operating system.

Perhaps more important for the channel was the news that VMware has launched a pilot program under which partners that invest in training on the company's new storage and networking technologies could get a shot at potentially lucrative professional services projects. While VMware has its own professional services organization, the company is looking to leverage partners' services capabilities to meet expected future demand.

ExaGrid Preps For Growth With Significant Channel Investments

ExaGrid Systems, the fast-growing maker of de-duplication backup appliances, isn't taking its foot off the gas pedal when it comes to its growth plans for 2015. And big investments in the company's 100 percent channel sales model are a big part of those plans.

ExaGrid recently doubled to 24 the number of territory sales managers who work with solution providers to close deals and has plans to double that again to 48, CEO Bill Andrews told CRN this week. And it recently added Lifeboat Distribution to its partner roster.

The company, working with its 120 solution provider partners, is playing the role of market disrupter against industry heavyweights like EMC, Hewlett-Packard and Symantec. It shows how combining the reach of the channel with the right technology can be a formidable combination.

HP Security Unit Opens The Door For More Channel Sales

VMware and ExaGrid weren't the only companies creating opportunities for solution providers this week. Hewlett-Packard disclosed changes in its enterprise security product sales that shift 4,500 top accounts once controlled by HP's direct sales team to a 100 percent channel sales model.

The changes went into effect in November, and partners said they are already seeing an increase in their sales pipelines for such products as HP ArcSight, TippingPoint, Fortify and Atalla. Partners said the move was part of a broader shift at HP Security from a direct sales focus to a more partner-centric security business.

Qumulo Snags $40 Million In Venture Funding

Storage startup Qumulo may officially be in stealth mode, but it made lots of noise on the venture finance front this week when it closed on a $40 million Series B round of funding. That brings the company's total financing to $67 million.

Seattle-based Qumulo has remained quiet about the details of its technology, which reportedly deals with the problem of data growth. This week, CEO Peter Godman dropped some hints about the technology, saying it includes an extremely scalable file system that works with commodity hardware and can provide insight into the data through its metadata.

Oh, and double kudos to the company's 100 percent channel-focused go-to-market plans.

Juniper Revamps Partner Program, Counts On The Channel For Growth

Juniper Networks has come through some difficult times in the last two years (and has frequently landed in our "Five Companies That Had A Rough Week" list as a result). This time, we're giving the company kudos for recommitting to the channel as a key pillar of its plans to grow.

This week, the company revamped the Partnering for Business Growth program by boosting discounts for Elite-tier partners, extending the planning window for market development funds, streamlining its product authorization requirements and eliminating sales certification requirements.

All this means that doing business with Juniper will be easier and potentially more profitable for solution providers. But beyond the nuts-and-bolts program improvements, Juniper is to be applauded for recognizing the value of the channel in its efforts to boost growth.