5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Oct. 7

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Microsoft for putting competitive pressure on Amazon Web Services by making significant price cuts to its Azure virtual machine cloud services.

Also making the list is Palo Alto Networks, whose Traps technology received PCI and HIPAA certification this week as a replacement for legacy antivirus software; SD-WAN startup Viptela for launching its first channel program; Juniper Networks for targeting rivals with a rush of new security products; and security vendor Carbon Black for taking steps toward an IPO.

Not everyone in the IT industry was making smart moves this week, of course. For a rundown of companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions, check out this week's 5 Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

Microsoft Takes Aim At AWS, Slashes Azure VM Prices By Up To 50 Percent

Microsoft is playing hardball in the cloud services price competition game, unveiling a round of price cuts this week that turns up the heat on rival Amazon Web Services.

Microsoft specifically announced price cuts, retroactive to Oct. 1, for customers running the vendor's Azure Basic virtual machine services, including the A1 and A2 VMs. The company cut the price of its simplest virtual machine by a whopping 50 percent.

The company also cut prices on some of its higher-level Dv2 and F-Series services, although not as dramatically as it did with A-Series prices. The price cuts come as usage and revenue from the Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service offerings more than doubled year over year in the fourth fiscal quarter ended June 30.

Palo Alto Networks Bolsters Endpoint Security Stance With Traps Certification

Palo Alto Networks scored a major competitive victory this week when its Traps technology received third-party PCI and HIPAA certification as a replacement for legacy antivirus software.

The certification means the Traps advanced endpoint protection technology allows businesses and organizations to meet or remain compliant with HIPAA and PCI regulations around endpoint security. The news is significant because it becomes one of the few certified endpoint security systems, making it a viable replacement for legacy antivirus software – a market that's expected to see rapid growth.

The certification came from Coalfire Systems, a qualified security assessor, which completed an independent analysis of Traps, including technical testing, design review, architecture and supporting documentation, and expert interviews.

SD-WAN Startup Viptela Launches Partner Program

Viptela, a San Jose, Calif.-based software defined-WAN startup, launched its vForce Global Partner program this week offering channel partners assured margins, a rapid on-boarding process, deal registration and "partner success" funding. The company also vowed to use a 100 percent channel sales model to avoid channel conflicts.

The channel program was created by Anthony D'Angelo, Viptela's vice president of worldwide channel sales, who is a channel management veteran from such companies as Hewlett-Packard, RSA and Westcon. As he told CRN, he has seen many channel successes and failures in his 20-plus year career.

The program also includes a partner portal, demand generation funding, marketing events and enablement activities. Vitela has already recruited 50 solution providers for the initiative.

Juniper Targets Cisco, Check Point With Slew Of Security Products

Juniper Networks went on the security technology offensive this week by introducing several new security products that are designed to compete with Cisco, Check Point Software Technologies and other rivals.

The offerings include a new line of midrange firewalls and new technology in the company's Junos Space Security Director that automates the enforcement of security policies across the network and quarantines infected endpoint devices.

The products take security down to the network switch level. Partners said they demonstrate that Juniper is serious about competing in the security market and provide a way for partners to gain market share.

Security Vendor Carbon Black Signals IPO Intentions

Cybersecurity company Carbon Black quietly filed for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The move comes after a long dry spell for technology company IPOs that was only recently broken by Nutanix.

Carbon Black, based in Waltham, Mass., filed for the IPO under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 that allows companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenue to file confidentially with the SEC. In a round of venture funding a year ago the company's value was put at about $600 million.

Carbon Black, which develops endpoint security technology, has been on a high-growth trajectory and has attracted significant venture capital funding -- $54.5 million in Series F financing one year ago for a total of about $174.5 million.