5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Feb. 27

This week's roundup of companies that came to win include Salesforce.com's rapid financial growth, a networking technology vendor's plan to boost its partners' service opportunities, Avaya's SDN offensive, a leading systems integrator's success against telecommunications giants, and IBM's doubling down on the storage hardware market.

New F5 Program To Boost Partners' Service Opportunities

Services are where it's at these days. And F5 Networks this week launched a program that will take its channel partners to the next level in terms of service expertise and revenue.

Through its new Guardian Fast Start initiative F5, the developer of application delivery networking technology is offering its partners the opportunity to shadow its own professional services consultants and participate in customer implementations.

The move, partners said, will help them deliver advanced F5 implementations to their own customers, expand their service capabilities and grow F5-related revenue and profits.

Salesforce.com Surpasses $5 Billion In Annual Sales

Salesforce.com was clearly the winner among IT vendors reporting its quarterly financial results this week. The cloud application company reported that sales grew 26 percent in its fourth quarter ended Jan. 31 to $1.44 billion. And that was enough to push the company over the $5 billion mark -- for the first time -- for the entire fiscal year.

While the quarterly results were in line with Wall Street expectations, the company reported 32 percent growth in billings, growth in deferred revenue and bookings, which signal future growth, and an increase in large deals. The company's stock soared 11 percent in after-hours trading.

Avaya Challenges Industry Heavyweights With SDN Offensive

The crowded market for software-defined networking technology has many players, including industry giants Cisco and VMware. But that isn't stopping Avaya from making a bid for a piece of the fast-growing market.

This week, Avaya launched an open SDN architecture it calls SDN Fx the company said offers "connect anything, anywhere" capabilities. The technology, according to Avaya, can cut weeks off of provisioning time by allowing devices and users at the network edge to be easily added to a network.

Avaya SDN Fx will be competing head-to-head with Cisco's ACI and VMware's NSX product lines.

NWN Beats Telecom Giants With VoIP Sales Growth

Speaking of going toe-to-toe with the big guys, national systems integrator NWN, No. 81 on the 2014 CRN Solution Provider 500, just reported the third consecutive year of 100 percent growth for its NCloud service. The Waltham, Mass.-based company was one of the first Cisco solution providers to build a Cisco-hosted VoIP service that now serves 80,000 phones, video devices and contact agents.

That growth is all the more impressive given that NWN is competing against such industry giants as AT&T with NCloud. NWN even beat out AT&T last year for a nearly $800,000, five-year contract to supply hosted VoIP services to the West Contra Costa Unified School District in California.

IBM Lays Out New Storage Strategy

IBM may have gotten out of the commodity server business with the $2.3 billion sale of its x86 server operation to Lenovo, but the company is doubling down on its storage hardware business by debuting new software-defined and all-flash storage technologies despite declining sales and market share.

IBM recently released its new Spectrum-branded, software-defined storage technology and the new FlashSystem flash storage array line. That was accompanied by the company's stated plans to invest more than $1 billion in its storage software portfolio during the next five years, including stepped-up R&D spending in cloud storage, object storage, and storage for OpenStack and other open-standard technologies.