Channel Madness Tournament Of Chiefs: Round 2 Matchup Breakdowns

The Solutions 16

The action keeps on rolling in Round 2 of the CRN Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs with several high-profile matchups among the Solutions 16.

Round 1 saw everything from blowouts to buzzer beaters and even featured a few bracket-busting upsets. With the field of 32 now cut in half, it's time to turn our focus on the Solutions 16. Voting for Round will be open until 12:00 PM ET on Tuesday, March 31.

Visit to cast your votes to choose your chiefs.

Here we present the definitive breakdowns of the matchups in Round 2 of the CRN Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs.

Infrastructure – Round 2

Jim Ritchings, F5 Networks vs. Herve Tardy, Eaton

Jim Ritchings jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in his Round 1 battle with Cisco's Bruce Klein, winning 59 percent to 41 percent. According to Ritchings, senior vice president of worldwide channels at F5, the ultimate goal for F5 is to triple its channel partners in 2015. Ritchings will need the support of F5's existing partner-base if he's going to get past his Round 2 opponent, Herve Tardy, vice president, general manager at Eaton.

Tardy escaped Round 1 with a 55 percent to 45 percent victory over Simplivity's George Hope. Tardy brings almost three decades in the channel to the table and Eaton is touting the fact that it average revenue per partner grew 30 percent in 2014.

Infrastructure – Round 2

Sue Barsamian, Hewlett-Packard vs. Shannon Sbar, APC by Schneider Electric

The second matchup in the Infrastructure region features two chiefs fresh off of exciting Round 1 wins. Sue Barsamian engineered a come-from-behind victory to overtake Extreme's Bob Gault 54 percent to 46 percent. Since being tapped in 2013 as senior vice president of worldwide indirect sales, Barsamian has helped HP expand its PartnerOne program and has seen the average revenue by HP partner increase.

Barsamian's opponent, Shannon Sbar, is riding high from a Round 1 statement win, handily beating Cisco's Edison Peres 69 percent to 31 percent. Sbar, Vice President, Channels at APC by Schneider Electric, is hoping her experience driving revenue, strategy and profitability within the APC's North American Channels organization will lead to an Enterprise 8 brth.

Hardware - Round 2

Thomas Stanley, NetApp vs. Mike Valentine, Sophos

In perhaps the biggest upset of Round 1, NetApp's Thomas Stanley sealed a trip to the Solutions 16 with a 62 percent to 38 percent win over Dell's Frank Vitagliano. Stanley, senior vice president of global partner sales and alliances at NetApp, has been maintaining NetApp's historically high channel sales focus in the wake of an increased focus on large enterprise sales at NetApp.

The Round 2 matchup will pit Stanley against Mike Valentine, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Sophos. Valentine came on strong in the final day of Round 1 voting to a secure a large victory over Intel's Maurits Tichelman, 67 percent to 33 percent. Valentine will be leaning on 30 years of channel experience as he looks to a secure a trip to the Enterprise 8.

Hardware - Round 2

Ron Gill, Ruckus vs. Cheryl Cook, Dell

Ron Gill, vice president, Americas, enterprise sales, and his 30 years of experience leading sales organizations in the networking space turned an upset alert into a reality, beating out HP's Jos Brenkel 56 percent to 44 percent in Round 1. Gill will now turn his sights on a chief at another giant vendor, Dell's Cheryl Cook.

The Ruckus Big Dog U.S. partner base grew by 25-plus percent in 2014, but will that be enough to get Gill past Dell's vice president of global channel alliances? Cook rode a strong start to a Round 1 Hardware region victory over EMC's Gregg Ambulos, 57 percent to 33 percent and will look to keep that momentum rolling in the Solutions 16.

Cloud - Round 2

Frank Rauch, VMware vs. Justin Moore, Axcient

The first Solutions 16 matchup in the Cloud region features two chiefs who staged come-from-behind wins in the field of 32. Frank Rauch, vice president of VMware's Americas partner organization trailed early in his first round matchup but rallied to overcome AT&T's Brooks McCorcle 52 percent to 48 percent. Since joining VMware in 2012, Rauch has been leading the charge to grow partner-led sales by helping existing partners broaden their portfolios and acquiring new partners.

In order to keep the momentum rolling, Rauch will have to get past Axcient CEO Justin Moore. Moore scored a high-profile "W" over Amazon Web Services' Terry Wise, pulling ahead in the second half to secure a 54 percent to 46 percent win. Axcient has been gaining some attention after announcing its plans to roll out a new program that will compensate channel partners up front for the sale of services rather than force them to wait for their monthly recurring revenue checks.

Cloud - Round 2

Adam Famularo, Verizon vs. Dave O'Callaghan, VMware

Solution providers hailed the arrival of Adam Famularo at Verizon as a positive sign for the company's plans to expand its channel footprint. The partner support apparently continued as Famularo pulled out a 55 percent to 45 percent victory over NetSuite's Craig West in Round 1. Famularo will look to keep his good fortunes going as he squares off against another VMware chief in the Cloud region, Dave O'Callaghan.

O'Callaghan, senior vice president of VMware's global partner organization, sent Comcast's Craig Schlagbaum packing with 71 percent to 29 percent Round 1 victory. Will VMware's big investments in its partner network build up enough good will to get O'Callaghan past Famularo and into the Enterprise 8?

Software - Round 2

Marc Dupaquier, IBM vs. Phil Sorgen, Microsoft

Behind a calculated social media strategy, IBM's Marc Dupaquier pulled out a Round 1 fight to the finish, topping Red Hat's Mark Enzweiler, 51 percent to 49 percent. With the strategy paying off, Dupaquier, general manager of global business partners at IBM, took to Twitter again, thanking his supporters and asking for some more love in Round 2. He'll square off against Microsoft's Phil Sorgen, who survived a Round 1 nail-bitter of his own, squeaking out a 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent win over FireEye's Steve Pataky by just 9 votes.

Sorgen, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group, will be relying on the support of the rapidly growing Microsoft Partner Network, which now boasts nearly 250,000 partners that are authorized to sell Office 365 and other Microsoft cloud services.

Software - Round 2

Tom Flink, Citrix vs. Jenni Flinders, Microsoft

The Software Region Solutions 16 features another one of Redmond's finest fresh off of a big Round 1 win -- Microsoft's Jenni Flinders. Flinders, vice president, U.S. SMS&P, U.S. partner business at Microsoft, won her matchup a little more convincingly than her Microsoft counterpart, taking down Palo Alto's Ron Meyers with a 62 percent to 38 percent victory. Flinders will lean on 25 years of channel experience in Round 2 as she faces Tom Flink, vice president of channels and market development at Citrix

Flink brings 27 years of his own channel experience to the matchup. Flink jumped out early in Round 1 and never looked back, as he took a 54 percent to 46 percent win over SAP's Kevin Gilroy. At this year's Citrix Summit, Flink revealed plans to release half of Citrix's 1,000 direct accounts to the channel. He'll need this type of channel good will in his corner if wants to get past Flinders and into the Enterprise 8.