5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

This week's roundup of companies that came to win includes a key acquisition by IBM in the mobile space, EMC's entry into the flash storage array arena, a significant partner program overhaul by Symantec, the latest volleys in the SDN market, and stepped-up offerings for development partners by a leading cloud service provider.

IBM this week disclosed a deal to buy Fiberlink, a developer of cloud-based mobile device management and security software. The move specifically will help IBM expand its MobileFirst portfolio and the company's mobile, cloud and security strategic initiatives in general.

FiberLink's MaaS360 software is used to manage corporate applications running on employees' smartphones and other mobile devices, providing a solution to the growing bring-your-own-device dilemma faced by many IT managers.

The acquisition is in keeping with IBM's practice of acquiring multiple companies with complementary technologies that add up to more complete offerings, noted Technology Business Research. In this case, Fiberlink fits in with past acquisitions such as Worklight, Tealeaf and Tusteer, and can leverage the SoftLayer Technologies cloud computing infrastructure IBM acquired earlier this year, according to the research firm.

Storage technology giant EMC this week debuted its XtremIO all-flash technology storage array, marking the company's entry into a nascent market that until now has largely been the province of small startups such as Violin Memory and Pure Storage.

The unveiling had been anticipated for 18 months, following EMC's 2012 acquisition of XtremeIO, the Israeli developer of the flash technology.

EMC could lose some points for taking so long to bring XtremIO to market. But the vendor is the first top-tier storage vendor to offer an all-flash array and channel partners said the products were worth waiting for, describing XtremIO as a market game-changer that puts EMC ahead of the competition.

Symantec is moving more than two-thirds of its named accounts to the channel and will rely heavily on its elite partners to close deals with those customers, Symantec executives said this week at the company's North American Partner Summit.

To help solution providers at all levels become more engaged, Symantec also is addressing the complexity of its partner program, aiming to make it easier for partners to understand the rewards and incentives offered across the vendor's product lines. While the company will depend more on its top partners going forward, it also needs partners that play across the entire Symantec product portfolio, said John Eldh, vice president of North American channel sales. Partners who sell specific products, such as Symantec Endpoint Protection, will be offered rewards and incentives for net-new sales.

Last week Cisco scored points with the launch of its ACI (application-centric infrastructure) strategy and plans to acquire SDN-focused startup Insieme Networks.

This week rival Hewlett-Packard went on the offensive with HP execs hitting what they see as the flaws in Cisco's approach. Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager of HP Networking, told CRN that Cisco is taking a "proprietary" approach to SDN that locks customers into Cisco gear and denying them "the economic and game-changing simplification, automation and application development benefits promised by SDN."

As far as partners are concerned, HP is not just talking the talk. The company recently rolled out its online SDN Learning Journey program for partners, which more than 10,000 solution providers already have participated in, and a formal SDN certification will be added to the HP Partner One program by the end of this year. HP also is offering partners an SDN demo kit to help sell HP's FlexFabric switches and SDN controller.

Amazon wowed developer partners at its AWS re:Invent partner conference this week, using the venue as the launch pad for new services that will help partners build more powerful data-infused applications.

Topping the list was Amazon Kinesis, a new service for developer partners that build big data applications. Kinesis, which is in limited preview, handles real-time processing of huge amounts of data. Developers can use Kinesis to pull in data streams from server logs, social media and Web clickstream data, among other sources, to use in their apps running on Amazon EC2.

With Kinesis, AWS is taking a time-consuming process and turning it into a service, which means its developer partners can focus more on their big data apps and less on the groundwork involved in building them.