5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending July 26

Networking giant Cisco announced a key acquisition this week that expands its security technology portfolio. That move tops our list of companies that came to win this week.

Also making the list of winners was Canonical and its innovative use of crowdfunding for a major development project, Pivotal's Cloud Foundry project that won backing from a key vendor, a big data startup that won big among venture capitalists, and solid financial results from the leading virtualization software developer.

Cisco Boosts Security Portfolio With Sourcefire Buy

Cisco this week revealed plans to acquire Sourcefire, a maker of intrusion-detection and intrusion-prevention systems, in a deal the networking giant said would significantly expand its threat protection software portfolio. Cisco will pay $76 per share for Sourcefire, or approximately $2.7 billion.

Cisco said acquiring Sourcefire will arm it with a "deep security DNA," a skill set that's become increasingly important given the complexities that mobility, cloud and the Internet of Everything have introduced into the IT security landscape.

Canonical Turns To Crowdfunding For 'Super Smartphone' Project

Canonical takes the open-source approach to developing and distributing its Ubuntu version of Linux. So perhaps it's not so surprising the company is turning to crowdfunding, kind of an open-source way of raising capital, to help pay for the development of the company's eagerly awaited Ubuntu Edge smartphone.

This week Ubuntu creator and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth invited developers to contribute to the Ubuntu Edge development project. By using crowdfunding, Shuttleworth said, Canonical hopes to prove the smartphone's mass-market appeal before it even begins manufacturing the device. The company hopes to raise $32 million over 30 days and recoup the project's engineering costs before committing to the product's design.

Ubuntu Edge, which will incorporate bleeding-edge screen and battery technology, is expected to be powerful enough to double as a desktop PC. Canonical is shooting for a May 2014 delivery date.

IBM Endorsement Boosts Pivotal's Cloud Foundry Initiative

IBM this week threw its support behind Cloud Foundry, an open-source Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) project being developed by Pivotal, the EMC-VMware big data startup. IBM's move provides Cloud Foundry with critical backing in the escalating battle among major PaaS providers such as Amazon Web Services.

Cloud Foundry, an Apache Software Foundation licensed project, is designed to provide an open ecosystem of development frameworks and application services for deploying public and private cloud systems.

IBM will incorporate Cloud Foundry into its broader cloud architecture and will work with Pivotal on future development of the PaaS technology. IBM also will make its WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core, a lightweight version of the company's application server software, available for Cloud Foundry as part of the alliance.

Big Data Startup DataStax Raises $45 Million In VC Funding

There's been a lot of venture capital thrown at big data startups this year. But everyone sat up and took notice this week when DataStax, developer of the open-source Cassandra NoSQL database, said it raised $45 million in fourth-round funding.

DataStax markets its database as a next-generation alternative to relational database products from Oracle, Microsoft and other vendors. The company touts DataStax Enterprise, its commercial edition of the open-source software, as more scalable than relational technology and better able to handle the data processing and storage demands of big data.

DataStax, which is positioning itself for an IPO in the not-too-distant future, has raised $84 million in funding overall.

VMware Rides vCloud Licensing Deals To Solid Q2

With core server virtualization technology becoming a commodity, there have been questions as to whether VMware could remain the profit-generating machine its stockholders have come to know and love.

This week the company helped answer those questions when it reported solid earnings growth fueled by enterprise licensing agreements (ELAs) for its software, especially for its vCloud Suite. ELAs accounted for around 37 percent of VMware's total bookings in the quarter and around 75 percent of vCloud Suite sales.

VMware partners said the growing ELA sales were evidence that big companies continue to standardize on the vendor's vSphere software, despite increased competition from Microsoft, Red Hat and others.