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ISSUE 1396 • AUGUST 2020


Delivering new technologies to reimagine the future PAGE 30


Welcome 2020’s quick thinkers PAGE 40


Meeting The Moment HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri, the Most Influential Executive on this year’s Top 100 list, has met the global pandemic head on, leading with his heart and stepping up to help partners navigate the economic fallout with a bold edgeto-cloud Platform-as-a-Service future PAGE 6

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Computer Reseller News

August 2020

Column 42 On The Record By Robert Faletra

Features 5 Tech 10

See the server, storage and hyperconverged infrastructure platforms that are transforming today’s data centers for the future


Meeting The Moment

HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri leads this year’s Most Influential Executives list. Find out who else CRN is honoring in our annual ranking of the Top 100 Executives.

Sharing Their Thoughts

CRN rounds up some of the best CEO quotes of the year so far on the key happenings and trends impacting the channel and the world at large

Launch Time Getting off to a flying start is the hallmark of 2020’s list of Emerging Vendors. Check out who’s driving next-generation technologies in big data, the cloud, data centers, the Internet of Things, networking/unified communications, security and storage.

For reprints and plaque requests, please contact The YGS Group at 800.290.5460 or CRN (ISSN 1539-7343), also known as Computer Reseller News, is published 14 times a year (February, April, June, August, October, December and 8 Special Issues) by The Channel Company, One Research Drive, Suite 410A, Westborough, MA 01581, and is free to qualified management personnel at companies involved in the reselling/distribution of computers/ networking systems, software and services. One-year subscription rates for all others in the United States are $209.00; Canada $234.00. Overseas air mail rates are: Europe $380.00; Mexico/South America $380.00; Africa $380.00; Asia/ Australia $480.00. Please mail all subscription inquiries along with checks or money orders to CRN, Dept. 100, P.O. Box 3608, Northbrook, IL 60065-3608. For renewals or change of address, please include the mailing address label appearing on the front cover of the publication. Periodicals postage paid at Worcester, MA, (and additional offices, if applicable). POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CRN, P.O. Box 3608, Northbrook, IL 60065-3608. FOR SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES call (877)705-5559 or go to Copyright© 2020 by The Channel Company. All Rights Reserved. Registered for GST as The Channel Company, GST No. R13288078, Customer No. 2116057, Agreement No. 40011901. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: APC Postal Logistics, LLC PO Box 503 RPO W Beaver Cre, Rich-Hill ON L4B 4R6

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30 View From The Top


Solution providers know that quick thinking is key to keeping their business growing and customers up and running—and never more so than in this new work-from-home world. For this year’s Fast Growth 150 companies, that thinking has certainly paid off.

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The Next Generation: Enabling Modern Data Centers These 10 new server, storage and hyperconverged infrastructure platforms are taking today’s data centers into the future By Mark Haranas 1. BAMBOO SYSTEMS B1000N






Bamboo Systems’ new Arm-based B1000N servers are based on its Parallel Arm Node Designed Architecture (PANDA). PANDA-based servers use embedded systems methodologies designed to run modern microservices-based workloads while consuming minimal energy and delivering the density needed for high throughput computing. Each B1000N system can be configured with either one or two blades in 1U, with each blade containing four compute nodes and a nonblocking embedded L3 switch exposing dual 40-Gbit QSFP uplink ports.

Dell Technologies recently launched its new midrange all-flash PowerStore platform, a container-based architecture built from the ground up. With built-in machine learning and automation, PowerStore is a programmable infrastructure that streamlines application development with VMware integration and support for orchestration frameworks including Ansible, VMware vRealize Orchestrator and Kubernetes. PowerStore is seven times faster and has three times lower latency response times compared with Dell’s Unity XT, due to end-to-end NVMe design and support for Intel Optane storage-class memory.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise doubled the performance of its Nimble storage platform by adding storage-class memory cache to its AF60 and AF80 all-flash arrays without increasing the price tag. HPE Nimble Storage is architected with a cacheaccelerated file system that optimizes performance in hybrid configurations. The architecture has been optimized for storage-class memory cache with SSD persistent storage.


HPE’s revamped SimpliVity 325 hyperconverged infrastructure includes a new second-generation AMD EPYC processor, which doubles the virtual desktops supported per node from 300 to 600. The processor features up to 64 cores and can lower VMware software licensing costs. The high-density HPE SimpliVity 325 with a 1U form factor is geared toward virtual desktop infrastructure use cases, providing businesses a 50 percent lower cost per remote worker.

5. LENOVO THINKSYSTEM SR645/SR665 Lenovo launched new two-socket server platforms, with the ThinkSystem SR645 and ThinkSystem SR665 tailor-made to handle the explosion of data around critical workloads. The new servers utilize up to two AMD EPYC 7002 CPUs and 128 cores with class-leading memory speed, storage and GPU density. The SR645 is a 1U form factor, while the SR665 is a 2U form factor. Lenovo has increased on-board storage of up to 40 2.5-inch drives or up to 32 NVMe drives.

Lenovo’s new ThinkSystem SR860 server features third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors as well as support for the new Intel Optane persistent memory 200 series. The ThinkSystem SR860 V2 server offers GPU support, accommodating four doublewide 300W or eight single-wide GPUs ideal for handling artificial intelligence workloads, virtual desktop infrastructure deployments and data analytics. The system includes on-board storage from 24 to 48 2.5-inch drives, improving the rate at which data can be consumed and boosting performance for data-intensive applications.

N e t Ap p r e c e n t l y l a u n c h e d i t s hyperconverged HCI 2 Node line, optimized for the edge.The NetApp HCI 2 Node, which has the same architecture and management capabilities of the original NetApp HCI product line, starts with a single chassis with two storage nodes and two compute nodes. This compares with the original NetApp HCI line where the most common starting point was two compute nodes and four storage nodes.

Scale Computing unveiled the first of a new class of its flagship HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure appliances with the launch of the HC3-250DF, designed to enhance support for performance-intensive use cases such as database analytics and high-density virtual desktop infrastructure deployments. The new HC3 appliance features intelligent automation for self-healing and high availability to keep clusters running through component and appliance failures, as well as integrated disaster recovery capabilities to protect data and workloads to remote sites for fast failover and recovery.


The Dell Technologies and VMware jointly engineered VxRail D-Series is the company’s first ruggedized hyperconverged infrastructure targeting edge environments. The compact VxRail D-Series is only 20 inches deep and is designed for the edge to withstand extreme temperatures, sustain 40G of operational shock and operate at an elevation of up to 15,000 feet. The D-Series is Dell’s smallest and lightest HCI system.


VxRail is the worldwide market-leading hyperconverged product, making Dell and VMware’s launch of the new VxRail E-Series with AMD-based processors huge news. The VxRail E-Series includes second-generation AMD EPYC processors that offer customers up to 64 high-performance cores and support for PCIe 4, ideal for high-performance computing power in a single socket platform for edge environments. ■


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The TOP 100 Executives Of 2020 Unprecedented times, unprecedented leadership: CRN honors this year’s top executives Never has leadership mattered more than now. With the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest wreaking havoc on the global economy, this year’s class of Top 100 Executives rose to the occasion time and time again. With the coronavirus driving a massive shift to remote work, solution providers and vendors teamed up to meet the initial sudden surge for work-from-home technology purchases. Then solution providers—backed up by this year’s Top 100 Executives—went into overdrive helping build digital transformation solutions for today’s new world. HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri, our No. 1 Most Influential Executive, committed $2 billion in financing for an HPE Financial Services payment relief program and increased liquidity for partners with extended payment terms for HPE distributors. At the same time, Neri doubled down on his bold Everything-as-a-Service bet with a strategy aimed at moving HPE and its partners faster into the future with an unmatched consumption-based cloud experience for customers from the edge to the core to the cloud. At the top of our Channel Sales Leaders list, Oliver Tuszik, senior vice president of the Global Partner Organization at Cisco Systems, spent the past several months working to understand “the new normal,” helping partners turn their focus to flexible consumption models as they move to address changing business requirements while also zeroing in on what differentiates them. Our No. 1 Innovator, HPE CTO and Head of Software Kumar Sreekanti, brought architectural clarity to the company’s cloud-native, software-defined stack, while his colleague Keith White, HPE’s senior vice president and general manager of GreenLake, landed in the top Disrupters spot for bringing a point-and-click cloud consumption experience to the company’s on-premises cloud model. These leaders and our other Most Influential Executives, Channel Sales Leaders, Innovators and Disrupters stepped up for the channel in what has been an unprecedented time for partners and customers around the world, offering aid, driving new business models and uncovering fresh areas for growth. —CRN Staff

Meeting The Moment By Steven Burke



and CEO Antonio Neri was up as the sun rose over his San Jose, Calif., home on June 17 for an early morning webcast with strategic partner Comport Consulting. For HPE Platinum partner Comport, Ramsey, N.J., the webcast for about 50 customers was a chance to show off its technology prowess, its ComportSecure managed services muscle and its tight partnership with one of the most technology-savvy CEOs in the business. What none of the Comport team or the customers on the virtual event knew was that Neri would announce later that evening that he had tested positive for COVID-19 the day before. For Neri—who during the webcast delivered a passionate discourse on the business, social and technology implications


of the pandemic—it was just another day of doing what he has come to be well-known for as CEO of HPE: stepping up and delivering for partners, even in the most difficult of times. During a year that has seen the coronavirus pandemic rip apart the global economy while the U.S. and other parts of the world grapple with social unrest, Neri has been singled out as the No. 1 Most Influential Executive in 2020 by CRN. Call it meeting the moment. At a time when leadership mattered most, Neri rose above this year’s class of Top 100 Executives, providing a calm and steady hand, an open heart and an unflinching commitment to partners. Neri has stepped up time and time again to ensure that HPE delivers on its “Here To Help” pledge, from providing much-needed COVID-19 financial relief to calling for an end to systemic oppression and racism with a personal commitment to do more on that front to ensuring HPE employees feel safe


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Antonio Neri President, CEO Hewlett Packard Enterprise

by declaring that the return to HPE offices would be voluntary. Comport Consulting founder and CEO Jack Margossian, who has been teaming with HPE for more than 30 years, said Neri’s leadership is an extension of his humanity, character and personal commitment to HPE, its partners and its customers. “Antonio’s a genuine person,” said Margossian. “He knows his partners and customers. He knows you personally. He cares. We are not just businesses to him. We are human beings and people. We have to be able to relate to one another and be able to change. Change doesn’t come from our governments. It comes from people who can actually influence other people. Antonio cares about his people, his business, the world around him, and he can influence that. He leads by example. If you do the right things, that helps everybody.” Doing the right things for Neri means providing $2 billion in financing for an HPE Financial Services payment relief program and increased liquidity for HPE partners with extended payment terms for HPE distributors. It means committing to increased R&D and accelerating HPE’s pivot to an edge-tocloud Everything-as-a-Service GreenLake on-premises consumption-based platform that is resonating more deeply with the rapid shift to work-at-home in the wake of the pandemic. For HPE, the global pandemic has brought into focus the three central cultural traits that Neri has put forth to drive an HPE renaissance: partner, innovate and act. For Neri, the full force of those three cultural traits has been a hallmark of his leadership during the pandemic. Of course, they aren’t new to Neri. They have been part and parcel of his career since he started at HPE 25 years ago in an Amsterdam customer call center. Neri lives the principles of partner, innovate and act each and every day. Case in point: A few years ago a truck carrying a $2 million mission-critical storage solution for a Comport

customer rolled over in a snowstorm, destroying all of the equipment inside. It was the Sunday before Christmas and Comport needed help. Margossian texted Neri and heard back within 10 minutes: “We’ll take care of it.” “Antonio did take care of it with a replacement shipment that was expedited, and to bridge the gap we got some loaners from HPE Financial Services,” said Margossian. “Best of all, everything worked out for our customer. That’s the kind of friend Antonio is to Comport and our customers.” Neri’s decision to follow through on the Comport webcast in the midst of battling COVID-19 is just one more example of his commitment to partners and customers, said Margossian. “We were all surprised to find out Antonio had tested positive for COVID-19,” he said. “Antonio was on that call at 6:00 a.m. his time. He was there. He talked about business and the world, social unrest and the need to address these things. It wasn’t just one-dimensional. It meant a lot to Comport and our customers. It gave us credibility. Antonio cares about helping partners grow their business. He knows the partners and the value of the partners. That’s really important.” Neri—who refers to channel partners as part of HPE’s “extended family”—said it was simply a matter of keeping a long-standing engagement, just one more example of what he calls HPE’s “unwavering commitment” to partners. “That’s what makes this company special and unique,” he said. In an interview with CRN after self-quarantining and going 16 days without COVID-19 symptoms, Neri said he is feeling great. “All good,” he said. “All clear. No symptoms.” Neri said the pandemic has made HPE’s edge-to-cloud Platform-as-a-Service strategy more compelling for customers and partners. “It is unfortunate what we are living through today with the pandemic and other issues that are creating social unrest,” he said, referencing the protests that sprang up


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C O V E R S T O RY across the world following the death of George Floyd. “But what these unfortunate events have proven is that our strategy could not be more spot on. We said three years ago that the enterprise of the future will be edge-centric, cloud-enabled and data-driven. Guess what? That is exactly what it is. We are living now in a massive distributed edge world with more and more people working from home. The enterprise is going to be more distributed than it ever has before.” For partners, it opens the door, Neri said, to “tremendous opportunity to work with us to move into this new era and grow with us by becoming even more relevant than they ever have been before. As you know, this company has been, is and will continue to be a partner-led company.” The partner-led focus was front and center at the HPE Discover Virtual Experience event in June, at which 750,000 people watched Neri unveil HPE’s latest and greatest technology innovations. Among the biggest blockbusters were a new open-source, cloud-native Kubernetes container software platform called Ezmeral and the next generation of HPE GreenLake cloud services—17 standardized “building block” cloud service offerings for small, midsize and large businesses. Neri said HPE Discover Virtual Experience raised the bar for what a virtual event can be for customers and partners— a complete reinvention of the format. He credits HPE Chief Marketing Officer Jim Jackson and HPE Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Temple for leading the charge. “They took up that challenge and said, ‘How can we deliver a completely different experience to our customers and partners and analysts?’” he said. “In that context, they designed this from the ground up.”

Doubling Down On HPE’s Everything-as-aService Strategy Even as HPE embarks on a three-year “Cost Optimization And Prioritization Plan” aimed at delivering $1 billion in gross savings, Neri has not blinked on the company’s big bold bet to deliver the full HPE portfolio in an as-a-service model by 2022. In fact, Neri has doubled down on the Everything-as-a-Service bet with a strategy to move even faster to bring HPE and its partners into the future with an unmatched consumption-based cloud experience for customers from the edge to the core to the cloud. At the same time, HPE has maintained the robust 17 percent up-front rebate on GreenLake sales. That’s helping partners fund a transformation to the longer sales cycle that comes with the business-outcome-based GreenLake model. To move even faster, Neri has also restructured the company for a “post-COVID-19 world” as a more agile organization with a new GreenLake Cloud Services Business Group headed by Keith White, a former Microsoft cloud superstar who joined HPE last December. In addition, he has appointed a new chief technology officer, HPE Senior Vice President Kumar Sreekanti. Sreekanti—who is


taking on a dual role as both CTO and the head of software—is the one-time co-founder and CEO of artificial intelligence/big data highflier BlueData, which HPE acquired in 2018. Last but not least, Neri now has all seven of HPE’s business group leaders reporting to him as part of a new executive committee charged with accelerating the company’s Everythingas-a-Service strategy. C.R. Howdyshell, president of Advizex Technologies, No. 110 on the CRN 2020 Solution Provider 500, said Neri’s bold Everything-as-a-Service bet has had a “transformative” effect on Cleveland-based Advizex. In fact, he said, it has been pivotal in moving Advizex to a business-outcome-based services sales model that is designed to provide customers the ability to consume everything as a service. “At this time when it comes to everything as a service and an on-prem[ises] consumption model, HPE has a distinct competitive advantage,” said Howdyshell. That competitive advantage is paying off, with the Advizex GreenLake consumption sales pipeline up 40 percent this year, said Howdyshell. “GreenLake changes the conversation for us to what impact the cloud has on the business versus how much compute or storage do you need,” he said. “It changes the game to what are the business challenges customers are facing and how we can put together a solution that will address those challenges. Kudos to HPE for doing this. This is all about consumption. HPE gets it. This is accelerating our transformational efforts.” The financial pressures from the global pandemic are driving a significant uptick in interest in GreenLake, particularly among customers in markets facing cash-flow challenges, such as health care, said Howdyshell. “With one health-care customer, we moved away from the storage conversation and put together a proposal for everything in their data center that they could take action on and not have to pay anything until January,” he said. “GreenLake gives you the ability to look at things holistically.” Partners said HPE’s leadership in consumption-based offerings has given them a potent weapon to help customers build a hybrid cloud strategy that provides the right cloud for the right workload—at the edge, at the core, in containers or even in public cloud. The hybrid cloud security, cost and compliance benefits of GreenLake Central are causing more customers to adopt the GreenLake model. One of the biggest Advizex GreenLake wins was an impressive on-premises cloud services deal announced earlier this year with an initially skeptical Mohawk Valley Health System of Utica, New York. Advizex, a 35-plus-year HPE partner, implemented GreenLake cloud services as part of a complex move from four electronic health-care records systems down to a single Epic Systems software electronic health-care records system. Key to winning the deal was providing an on-premises cloud-like customized consumption model with licensing and


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support bundled together in a predictable monthly pay-per- and CEO of IT Partners, an HPE Platinum partner based in use model that has won raves from the customer, according Tempe, Ariz. to Howdyshell. Neri and HPE have stepped up repeatedly during the pan“If customers can experience the flexibility and agility of demic to backstop partners, said Tepedino. “HPE’s channel cloud on-premises, I don’t know of any customer who wouldn’t commitment goes beyond words,” he said. “HPE has made trelisten to that,” he said. mendous progress on Everything as a Service. A real hallmark Howdyshell credits Neri with making a gutsy Everything- of Antonio’s leadership has been his vision and the ability to as-a-Service bet that has the potential to reshape the channel execute against that vision. For a partner, that is refreshing.” landscape by ushering in a deeper, longer-lasting strategic During a crisis that has tested all leaders, Neri has provided relationship with customers and a more stable recurring rev- a “strong and steady leadership hand,” said Tepedino. “There enue model for partners. he was at HPE Discover [Virtual Experience] with COVID-19, “This is not an experiand he didn’t miss a beat,” ment,” said Howdyshell. said Tepedino. “These are “This is HPE putting a stake uncharted waters. Antonio’s ‘GreenLake changes the conversation in the ground with convicleadership is so solid with for us to what impact the cloud has on tion. It’s a collective effort. the pandemic and civil unthe business versus how much compute Antonio is genuine, authenrest. He is consistently in or storage do you need. tic and has channel comfront with steady, calm and mitment. If you’re going to clear leadership. It’s very It changes the game to make a bet on consumption, impressive. In times of what are the business you want to do it with somechaos and crisis, the steady challenges customers one that has those three key and calm hand is the most are facing and how attributes. Where Antonio valuable. That was Antonio is taking HPE is where we just being himself. It was we can put together a want to go as a company. pretty cool.” solution that will address I have confidence in HPE Neri’s consistent vision those challenges. and Antonio’s leadership. regarding Everything as a Kudos to HPE for Our leadership team feels Service has been key to the same. This is a good bet helping the channel make doing this.’ for Advizex.” the move to a complete —C.R. Howdyshell, Advizex’s push toward on-premises consumptionPresident, Advizex Everything as a Service— based offering, said TepediTechnologies which started with a highno. He credited HPE with level two-and-a-half-day investing in and carefully strategic training session honing the Everything-as-alast year—is accelerating Service channel model over Advizex’s own transformation. As part of that transformation, many years, a strategy that has given HPE a battle-tested Advizex has hired Kurt Schnieders, the former CIO of Dick’s offering to go up against Amazon Web Services. Sporting Goods, as its chief operating officer. “Bringing Kurt in “We wouldn’t have a good story to fight against AWS if as COO was a big move for us, but it has paid off significantly,” GreenLake was not as mature as it is,” he said. “All the investsaid Howdyshell. “He has challenged us to look at some things ments that HPE has made over the years have made HPE the differently and has been behind this whole consumption-based most ready as-a-service technology company today.” effort. We’re encouraged about where we’re going.” The flexibility GreenLake provides is key to enabling channel The company is also investing heavily in emerging technologies, partners to truly compete in the as-a-service space, Tepedino including artificial intelligence, DevOps and container-based solu- said. tions. “This is part of the commitment we are making to helping “Other vendors are going to struggle because catching up our customers with the challenges they are facing,” he said. takes time,” he said. “The flexibility that GreenLake provides currently isn’t available through other OEM cloud provider Channel Commitment That Is services.” ‘Second To None’ As long as HPE keeps accelerating with breakthroughs like HPE’s commitment to work hand in hand with partners has the new standardized GreenLake building blocks, the lead will always been “second to none,” but during the pandemic Neri remain significant, said Tepedino. has taken it to another level, said Steve Tepedino, president “The GreenLake pipeline is building,” he said. “Some of the


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C O V E R S T O RY deals are really big and could be truly game-changing. With every new customer conversation, GreenLake has become a door-opener. I’m expecting it to be a big factor in the second half of the year with customers conserving capital and protecting the balance sheet. In tough economic times, you protect the balance sheet. That’s what GreenLake does—it allows you to still be able to provide services while protecting the balance sheet.” HPE’s pandemic relief efforts have also provided partners with much-needed additional financial liquidity in the midst of the crisis. IT Partners’ customers in late March/early April began delaying payments, said Tepedino. “Without HPE backstopping distribution it would have been really difficult to keep the supply chain going,” he said. “Distribution is where the credit comes from, so between HPE and Tech Data we were able to continue to navigate the pandemic.” HPE putting “liquidity back into the channel” with extended terms is comparable to the Federal Reserve taking action to stimulate the U.S. economy, Tepedino said. “We absolutely need that liquidity to keep moving on,” he said. “We haven’t had to use too much of it, but the fact that it is there is important. ... It has to be in place to prevent order loss. You sleep well knowing it is there.” One of the big benefits of working with HPE is its strong channel leadership in every part of the organization, including HPE Worldwide Head of Partner Sales Paul Hunter; North America Channel Chief Leslie Maher; HPE Senior Vice President and Managing Director, North America Dan Belanger; U.S. Enterprise East Vice President and General Manager Terry Richardson; Vice President and Managing Director of Global and Enterprise Accounts Peter Brennan; and HPE North America Senior Sales Director Marc Sarazin, said Tepedino. “These are channel stalwarts, longtime friends to the channel,” he said. “It’s great when you have the entire organization behind the channel.” Case in point: IT Partners’ ability to close a blockbuster HPE Superdome high-performance supercomputer deal with a major credit card processing company in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. That deal is helping the financial services player process 30 million-plus transactions a day, a big boost to the small and medium businesses across America relying even more on credit card transactions during the pandemic. “We are a big part of keeping that infrastructure rolling,” said Tepedino, noting that it’s not the type of business that is for the faint of heart. “When you are in the credit card business you can’t drop a single transaction, a single bit of data. Superdome is simply rock-solid, so we could support the heavy volume of transactions and the absolute highest level of availability in the industry. There aren’t many infrastructure products that you can say will have zero mistakes. That is what Superdome delivers,” he said. Tepedino credited Sarazin and his team with helping IT Partners close the deal. “Marc understands the customer, the


deal and the channel,” he said. “That’s powerful stuff. The HPE partnership was critically important to getting that deal done. Nobody wins a big deal alone. You win it because you have a strong partnership.”

HPE’s Intelligent Edge Advantage It has been five years since HPE acquired Aruba Networks, a deal that was architected by Neri, who at the time was heading up HPE’s enterprise compute business. That acquisition has been critical to the reinvention of HPE, a defining moment that paved the way for the company’s edge-to-cloud Platformas-a-Service strategy. “HPE was the first to actually declare that there is an opportunity at the edge, so we built an organization called Intelligent Edge,” said Keerti Melkote, Aruba founder and president of HPE’s Intelligent Edge business. “Antonio called it first from a vision standpoint. Now I see AT&T and Microsoft [each] have an intelligent edge organization. AWS is talking about intelligent edge. The industry is validating that vision Antonio had.” Ultimately, Neri has reignited the HPE innovation engine, focusing the company and its employees on what’s possible in the future, said Melkote. That has resulted in an edge-tocloud Platform-as-a-Service strategy that is focused sharply on where customers need to go to be successful, not where they have been. At the same time, Neri has focused HPE squarely on innovating—one of the original hallmarks of the Silicon Valley jewel. He has also restored the Hewlett-Packard culture of trust and respect for individuals and being a force for good, a central doctrine of Neri’s leadership philosophy. Those cultural tenets from HP founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard have struck a chord with HPE employees, said Melkote. “There has been a fantastic congruence of forces within the company,” he said. “That has really given us a lot of energy to move forward with confidence.” As Neri has moved HPE into position to capitalize on fastgrowing market opportunities like edge, artificial intelligence and data insight, he has at the same time been forced to grapple with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Obviously every CEO gets tested and every organization gets tested,” said Melkote. “The first half of 2020 has been a severe challenge for many organizations. This is where I feel organizations that are built to last will not only survive but actually do well coming out of a crisis like we have today. It was really heartening to see us as an organization under Antonio’s leadership really meet the moment.” With the coronavirus crisis taking hold, Neri moved quickly to reach out to HPE’s more than 61,000 employees worldwide, assuring them that their safety was priority No. 1 and that HPE and its employees would emerge stronger from the crisis. “Acknowledging the tough times and reassuring employees we would get through this was very meaningful,” said Melkote of Neri’s leadership.


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After Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Neri became a strong “As a team member you want to work for him. You want to voice against “systemic oppression and racism,” telling em- do good and excel,” he said. “That is the team culture that ployees that he is “personally committed” to ensuring the Antonio has built over the last two years. That is one thing he company is “doing everything within our control to ensure will be known for—rejuvenating the culture, bringing it back equal treatment, equal opportunity and equal inclusion” for to what it once was.” all HPE employees. Neri’s decision to double down and reinvent the business Maintaining strong communication with employees, partners in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis is another sign of his and customers is a critical ingredient of Neri’s leadership, “action”-oriented leadership, said Melkote. “That’s a critical said Melkote. decision,” he said. “We need to reinvent the company, and the The entire organization took Neri’s “force for good” pledge next 18 months is the time to make it happen.” to heart, from providing To accomplish that, HPE hospitals with telemedicine is innovating at a breakneck capabilities and schools with pace with aggressive inter‘Obviously every CEO gets tested and remote learning solutions to nal research and developevery organization gets tested. The first providing supercomputing ment and a targeted acquisicapabilities for COVID-19 tion strategy. That includes half of 2020 has been a severe research to providing finanHPE’s $925 million blockchallenge for many orgacial relief to those impacted buster deal in July to buy nizations. This is where by the pandemic with supSD-WAN superstar Silver port for the COVID-19 SoliPeak Systems. I feel organizations that darity Response Fund. That “targeted M&A” are built to last will not Neri called it embracstrategy has added ho t only survive but actually ing the HPE spirit of “Yes new technology talent and We C a n ” — s u p p o r t i n g boosted the “value proposido well coming out of team members, customers, tion for customers and parta crisis like we have partners and communities ners,” said Melkote. today.’ through the unprecedentCurtis Dery, vice presied crisis and being there dent of sales and strategy —Keerti Melkote, to help all the company’s for Powerland, the $100 Aruba founder, s t a ke h o l d e rs “ re c ove r, million Winnipeg, Manitopresident, HPE’s evolve and thrive.” ba-based solution provider Intelligent Edge Melkote said the “force that is betting big on Greenbusiness for good” ethos that Neri Lake and Aruba, said the has put in place inspired Silver Peak deal is going to HPE employees to step up have a dramatic impact on and act. “That is the power customers. of a leader who can actually set the course with the culture The combination of Silver Peak with SD-WAN services, of the organization and then be there to back it up,” he said. security and micro-segmentation combined with Aruba’s edge When Melkote came up with the idea for an Aruba Airheads muscle provides a “disruptive” technology force that is going Volunteer Corps—an opt-in registry of engineers to help build to power big opportunities for partners, said Dery. network infrastructure for medical facilities in need—the en“That’s a massive, massive edge benefit that HPE can levertire program was launched over a weekend. It was Neri who age,” he said. cleared the legal and financial path—on a Saturday. “We behaved like a startup would,” Melkote said, noting that The Education Of A CEO a large bureaucratic organization could not have accomplished Neri, who is the 11th HPE CEO and just the fifth from inside the same. “It starts with somebody at the top who says, ‘This is the company, said he has been fortunate during his 25-year the culture I want to support, build and emphasize.’ Antonio is HPE career to learn critical leadership skills from some of the always there—always there—anytime you want to get a hold best and brightest executives in the business. “These were leaders that created multibillion-dollar franof him. Email, text, instant messaging, it doesn’t matter. He is responding within an hour. Even when he was going through chises like the printing and the PC business in the old days,” he said. “I picked [leadership qualities] from everybody here the COVID-19 illness, he was available.” It has been “inspiring” to see the impact Neri’s “servant and there. As a leader, I don’t reflect just one person. I reflect leadership” style has had on the HPE culture, said Melkote. multiple aspects of leadership—somebody I worked with was


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C O V E R S T O RY strong in communications, somebody was strong in strategy, A Year No One Could Have Imagined somebody was strong in financial acumen. I tried to absorb Neri said no one could have predicted the pandemic, social and learn from as many people as possible. It could be busi- unrest and the myriad issues that have hit the world economy this year. ness leaders, community leaders or others.” “If you would have told me on Dec. 31, 2019, this was Neri’s discipline, drive and empathy as a leader—partners how 2020 was going to look said he leads with both his I would not have believed head and his heart—were it,” he said. “Nobody could forged in a loving, tight-knit ‘It is unfortunate what we are living have imagined this.” Italian family. Given all the challenges, Looking back on his through today with the pandemic and Neri said, he is most proud parents’ influence, Neri other issues that are creating social that HPE’s strong culture credited his Italian roots for unrest. But what these unfortunate came to the fore during the instilling in him a strong events have proven is that our strategy crisis, with an emphasis on sense of family and giving protecting team members back. “We always reflect could not be more spot on. We said while at the same time confirst and foremost our parthree years ago that the enterprise of tinuing to act as a “force for ents, how they teach you the future will be edge-centric, good” by giving back to the life,” he said. “Then ulticloud-enabled and data-driven. communities that HPE is mately you see them as a part of. That, he said, is part mirror of yourself.” Guess what? That is exactly what it of the essential HPE charNeri’s parents, Salvatore is. We are living now in acter to do the right thing. and Carmela, both were a massive distributed “I’m really proud of the fact raised in rural Sicily with edge world with more that this is a company with humble beginnings. Both a very strong culture that c a m e f ro m l a rge fa m i and more people puts our team members at lies—eight siblings on his working from home. the core of what we do,” mother’s side and seven on The enterprise is he said. his father’s side—and both going to be more That strong cultural comexperienced the pain and mitment has paid off in ravages of war. distributed than it soaring scores from HPE’s In fact, Neri’s grandfather ever has before.’ all-team member meetings served in both World War I —Antonio Neri, during the pandemic. In surand World War II. That left President, CEO, veys conducted from March Antonio’s father and his two HPE 18 to June 25, 96 percent of brothers as the caretakers of team members polled said a large family during trying they were confident in the times. “They had very hard leadership of HPE, with 93 times,” said Neri. “They appercent confident in the fupreciated everything they ture of HPE. What’s more, could get in life.” 95 percent were confident Neri said he is proud of his parents and the values they instilled in him. They were in the actions HPE is taking to better drive diversity and married in 1960 when his mother was just 20 and his father unconditional inclusion. In times like these, Neri said, trust is paramount. “Right was 33. They lived a “very happy, humble life together for 52 now we are living in a very chaotic time where I think there years” before Neri’s father passed away in 2012. Neri’s mom—who lives in Argentina, as does his sister—re- is a little bit of a vacuum when it comes down to leadership mains an inspiration for him as she turns 80 this year. In fact, and being steady at the helm,” he said. “That is why channel partners are all interested in seeing who they can work with Neri speaks with her every day. Neri said the values of hard work, family and the commit- and who can they can trust. Trust is essential. … Ultimately, ment to give back were instilled in him by his parents. “I have people will follow leaders they can trust.” One thing partners can count on—no matter what kind of worked hard since I was 15,” he said. “I am proud of carrying challenges HPE faces with the continued uncertainty from out those values, and I hope my kids will do the same.”



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25 MOST INFLUENTIAL the pandemic—is HPE’s “unwavering” commitment and trust, said Neri. In fact, he remains optimistic about HPE’s future and the prospects for its partners even in the midst of a challenging year. He said he feels the same drive and spirit that he did when he took the CEO job two and a half years ago—when he called it “living the dream.” He considers himself to be “incredibly privileged” to lead more than 61,000 employees at a company with a rich 81-year history. Neri sees his legacy as not being just about the numbers, but what he leaves for employees, channel partners and the communities that HPE is part of. “We are here for the long game, not for the short game,” he said. “If it was only for the short game, trust me, there would be other ways to create value. But I am here to create long-term value so that this company continues to be very relevant and important to our customers and partners for years and years to come.”





Michael Dell

Andy Jassy

Chairman, CEO


Dell Technologies

Amazon Web Services

The IT legend is striving to win more market share in storage, server and hyperconverged infrastructure with Dell’s new Power portfolio, while at the same time doubling down on emerging opportunities around Kubernetes, edge computing and the Dell Technologies Cloud.

With a keen eye focused on customers and constant and rapid innovation, Jassy has grown Amazon Web Services into the largest cloud service provider with a $40 billion-plus revenue run rate and vibrant partner ecosystem.



Pat Gelsinger

Chuck Robbins


Chairman, CEO


Cisco Systems

Gelsinger is aggressively attacking the security, container and hybrid cloud market by going on a massive acquisition spree. Since 2019, VMware has purchased 13 companies in a move to make the company the world’s leading hybrid cloud software powerhouse.

Faced with global economic uncertainty, Robbins, a reliable and steady force, has been driving Cisco’s software and services focus faster than ever before to help customers in need. Robbins has also been very vocal on social justice issues this year, with Cisco pledging $5 million to various charities.




Thomas Kurian

Rich Hume

Satya Nadella

Bob Swan

Enrique Lores





President, CEO

Google Cloud

Tech Data



HP Inc.

Kurian has re-energized Google Cloud as a serious cloud threat driven by an open-source, hybrid and multi-cloud strategy. He is emphasizing vertical solutions targeting financial services, health care, manufacturing and industrial, the public sector, retail, and media, telecommunications and entertainment.

Hume has emerged as the visionary voice for how distribution propels partners forward in a postCOVID-19 world. With expertise in all segments of the channel ecosystem, he has architected a plan for how partners will succeed in the future with a robust Tech Data portfolio of 21st century digital tools.

Nadella has accelerated the cloud momentum with the company continuing to see stunning growth under his watch in the Azure and Office 365 platforms. This growth comes even as it captures massive new opportunities, such as with the Teams collaboration app and Windows Virtual Desktop service.

In the face of a highly competitive environment, Swan has acted quickly to expand Intel’s compute prowess with new investments in artificial intelligence, big data and connectivity while also making key divestitures, supply improvements and a return to quicker transitions for future architectures.

In less than a year as CEO, Lores has reorganized HP to improve efficiency, managed through unprecedented manufacturing challenges and fended off a hostile takeover bid by rival Xerox—all while keeping the focus on innovation and growth opportunities across print, personal systems and 3-D printing.


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Channel Partners Win With AMD Q. How has AMD’S relationship with the channel evolved since its inception? A. AMD’s place in the channel includes people who buy and build their own system or bespoke computer makers. We haven’t had the portfolio of products that we have today. That’s changed. AMD purpose-built microprocessors go into commercial notebooks and desktops. Several years ago, we began investing in channel partners. We started offering MDF, boosted sales and marketing and established a volume incentive rebate program. We’ll continue to expand as we grow in the channel.

Q. AMD experienced many successes in the past few years, following a period where the business struggled. What initiated the turnaround? A. We brought in a new management team four years ago that said ‘There’s so much data available in the future, we must focus on giving people time to value and making sure it’s secure.’ It was a new approach in how we designed our CPUs and disciplined execution. That’s how we turned the company around. It’s an amazing story to be a part of and we’re just getting started.

Q. Why should solution providers choose AMD?

John Morris

Sales and Business Operations Executive, AMD

We deal with budget, resources and time. We’ve been able to innovate around computer chips to allow time to value to get to the product faster. AMD has driven this industry’s innovation.

A. We broaden their portfolio solutions. One size doesn’t fit all in the server, notebook and desktop markets. Users may have a different use case. Partners are managing budgets, but because we provide better performance and value, partners can build a more balanced system. We know that a better all-around configured notebook or server is important.

Q. What’s next for AMD and what role will solution providers play in AMD’s future? A. We have an exciting roadmap. We announced our Ryzen 4000 series processors. In 2017, we started the 1000 series. We’ve provided the market four successively better generations of microprocessors in three-and-a-half years. It’s exciting for us because not only does AMD continue to innovate, but now we’re an execution engine. People like innovation, but they want predictability and consistency. AMD is an innovative company and partners have confidence in us because we’re reliable and consistent. This is a foundation for our consistent and growing presence in the channel working with solution providers. We want to support our partners. You’ll continue to see us increase our sales and marketing coverage and channel enablement. We want these partners to provide the best to the customers, and we believe it’s AMD.

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Jensen Huang

Yang Yuanqing

Eric Yuan

Founder, President, CEO

Chairman, CEO

Founder, CEO



While it’s still early innings for Nvidia’s ascendance in the data center, Huang has continued to push the envelope for the future of compute with a new gamechanging GPU for artificial intelligence and the acquisition of the world’s leading interconnect provider, Mellanox Technologies.

Yang has kept Lenovo atop the global PC market, buoyed in part by an expanded push in North America, while continuing to drive the company’s efforts as a challenger in the data center market—in both cases with a strong emphasis on working with solution providers.

Zoom Video Communications


One of the most visible tech CEOs this year, Yuan is heads-down-focused on scaling and securing his highly sought-after video platform, which has seen astronomical demand globally. Under his leadership, Zoom Phone was rolled out to complement the popular videoconferencing service.



14 Marc Benioff

Founder, Chair, CEO Salesforce

15 Bill McDermott President, CEO ServiceNow

The now-solo CEO is one of the few individuals who can single-handedly shift the ethos of the corporate world, though he’s been busy of late overseeing his company’s transition to a “new normal” and helping customers do the same.

In his first year as CEO of ServiceNow, McDermott has had no trouble convincing customers and the company that he is the right person for the job. His bold statements, clear vision for the future and ambitious plans have fired up employees and investors alike.



Dheeraj Pandey

Ken Xie

Kris Hagerman

Charles Giancarlo

Founder, Chairman, CEO

Founder, Chairman, CEO


Chairman, CEO




Pure Storage

With Pandey leading the charge, the innovation engine at Nutanix is in high gear, regardless of any hurdles put in its way. The industry influencer has reshaped Nutanix from a hyperconverged infrastructure pioneer into a hybrid cloud software and subscription superstar.

Xie continues to forge a path of profitable growth as Fortinet extends its footprint well beyond the firewall to cement a leadership position in SD-WAN. Xie has also upgraded the vendor’s network processor to deliver a new firewall that’s 14 times faster than similarly priced products from competitors.

Hagerman engineered the company’s sale to Thoma Bravo for $3.9 billion, providing it with the deep pockets needed to keep pursuing acquisitions in emerging technologies. He also attacked the mobile security market, rolling out an offering that protects Chrome OS users against malicious web content.

Giancarlo more than anyone has made it clear: Allflash tied to the cloud is the future of storage. Pure Storage remains the only top five storage vendor with an all-flash strategy, and he has pushed the company to embrace the cloud as a key part of that plan.

Monie´ has spent 2020 drilling into the company’s cloud, commerce and lifecycle businesses. He has focused on helping partners with artificial intelligence-powered marketing tools and innovative financing options that pay a customer’s contract total value up front so partners don’t need to wait to collect.






Alain Monié CEO Ingram Micro

Dan and Michael Schwab

George Kurian

Dennis Polk

Mike Long

Nikesh Arora

President, CEO

President, CEO

Chairman, CEO




Chairman, President, CEO

Kurian took NetApp from a struggling disk storage vendor to becoming one of the leading proponents of the cloud. NetApp under Kurian has shown the world how to seamlessly tie together on-premises and cloud-based data, a move that some of its competitors are still trying to figure out.

Polk knows the IT distribution business is changing, and he’s looking to keep Synnex growing by spinning out Concentrix, the services business it acquired in 2006. The move will let both parts better concentrate their resources and improve their competitiveness.

D&H Distributing

The SMB dynamic duo delivered the goods for partners grappling with the COVID-19 crisis—not surprising given their stellar track record and the company’s 102-year-old family history. D&H provided $50 million in credit and 60-day terms to power partners through the crisis.



Arrow Electronics

Long has emphasized during this turbulent year that doing good is good for business, and in April Arrow joined the effort to manufacture 19,000 ventilators. He is now focused on Arrow’s services business to deliver the sticky relationship with partners needed for the long term.

Palo Alto Networks

Arora has charted a course of aggressive growth for the world’s largest pure-play cybersecurity vendor with eight acquisitions in his first two years as CEO. His pursuit of best-of-breed startups like Demisto, CloudGenix and Twistlock has allowed the company to establish a leadership stance in newer technologies.


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Executives APC’s Partner Program Delivers Next-Generation Solutions Q. How have APC’s partner programs evolved in 2020?

A. While we’ve taken multiple measures to improve our offerings to partners, the biggest effort surrounds our Opportunity Registration Program, which is now ORP Simplified. We evolved this program after listening to our channel partners, making it easier for partners to protect their projects and increase their profitability.

Q. How has APC identified gaps in its partner program to improve its offering to partners?

A. We’ve created the Monitoring and Dispatch offer, which is a service that allows

partners to provide fleet management for power protection, without having to have expertise in that field. In speaking with our partners, we are seeing them evolve and build managed service or SLA models and this new offer allows them to quickly and easily integrate this type of service into their new business. Customers are not always where the IT is, especially with the increase in working from home that we see across industries this year. They are not on site to see their physical IT equipment, such as a UPS that needs maintenance or refresh. This service allows our partners to fill a gap in their service portfolio that they might know that they have. It allows them to offer their customers’ peace of mind, especially in their growing remote or unstaffed IT deployments.

Q. With more managed service/SLA models being used, what drove APC by Schneider Electric to enter the fray?

A. By listening to our partners’ feedback, especially that of our Partner Advisory Council, we found this type of service was needed in our industry. Prior to the development of this service, partners would be able to offer this service by leveraging our cloud-based, vendor-neutral management software EcoStruxure IT Expert and then dispatch a truck when an incident occurred. We offer them the partnership to store the equipment/spare batteries for them or they need someone to be the middleman. There was this gap that we saw an opportunity step in and address.

Shannon Sbar

Vice President of Channels, North America at APC

We recognize the challenges our partners are facing and have evolved and simplified the new Opportunity Registration Program to better meet their needs and the needs of their customers.

In response to these factors, we’ve evolved and simplified our programs and offerings. This includes simplifying our previously complicated registration program and evolving our products to enhance their competitive capabilities. Partners have many challenges and we’re here to help solve these issues. If you’re not a partner with us, join our program. Be a part of this program that’s best-in-class, best-of-breed and the number-one partner of choice for power protection and services.

If you aren’t an APC partner and want to take advantage of our evolutionary partner program, sign up today! Visit to enroll.

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25 SALES LEADERS As channel chief for the past two years, Tuszik has been encouraging Cisco partners to “find their edge”—a phrase that to him means pushing the boundaries of their expertise to create unique and profitable solutions to help end customers address rapidly changing business requirements. He’s doing that through new programs, inOLIVER TUSZIK centives and certifications to SVP, Global Partner Organization help partners evolve their own Cisco Systems businesses. 2020 has been a remarkable year for the IT industry, but Tuszik hasn’t let economic uncertainty get in the way of the channel. He has spent the past five months working with partners to understand “the new normal” and how Cisco partners can embrace and cash in on emerging tech opportunities. Specifically, Tuszik is helping partners zero in on flexible consumption models and turning free trials of Cisco security and collaboration solutions into brand-new revenue streams.


6 Rob Cato and Steve Biondi North America Channel Chiefs






Paul Hunter

Doug Yeum

Worldwide Head of Partner Sales

Head of Worldwide Channels, Alliances

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Amazon Web Services

Hunter is driving what is the biggest on-premises consumption-based cloud model in the business. Over the past year, there has been a 47 percent increase in HPE GreenLake orders from partners, with 700 HPE partners now selling the cloud service platform.

Yeum, who launched a partner program for technology startups in his first year as channel chief, has managerial chops from running South Korea for AWS, and a unique, in-depth view into the business from shadowing CEO Andy Jassy as his former technical adviser and chief of staff.


4 Kendra Krause

Jason Kimrey

VP, Global Channels, Sales Operations

GM, U.S. Channel Scale, Partners



Krause has notched integrations with PSA and RMM vendors to give Sophos partners a single place to manage their security platform. Managed security services have been the No. 1 ask from customers, and Krause has responded by making it a top investment priority.

As the U.S. channel chief, Kimrey has helped lead the charge in transitioning partners to a new comprehensive channel program and in creating new financial, informational and programmatic resources to help partners weather the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.



Donna Grothjan

Carolee Gearhart

Gavriella Schuster

Curtiz Gangi

VP, Worldwide Channels

VP, Worldwide Channel Sales, Global SMB Sales

VP, U.S. Channels, Data Center Sales Segment

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard

Google Cloud

Corporate VP, One Commercial Partner Organization


Enterprise company

Cato and Biondi are spearheading the channel charge across intelligent devices and data center technologies, respectively. They are helping to drive Lenovo’s goal of surpassing rivals in those markets with a strictly enforced channel-first approach.

Grothjan is simply one of the smartest and most underrated channel pros in the business, providing the leadership to move the Aruba partner program into the Everything-as-aService era with big advances in Aruba’s Partner Ready for MSP Program.

Gearhart drives channel growth and innovation for Google Cloud Platform, G Suite and Chrome as channel chief of the Google Cloud Partner Advantage Program that she helped revamp, rebrand and launch last year.


Schuster has been key to bringing Microsoft’s push around cloud and hybrid IT to the company’s massive partner community—helping to position the channel to capture growing recurring revenue opportunities and meet the surge in demand for remote work solutions.


When partners needed help during the pandemic, Gangi stepped up to the plate by giving them the company’s power management software for free. The software can be deployed and utilized remotely, solving a slew of coronavirusrelated use cases to help keep customers afloat.


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Sammy Kinlaw

Frank Rauch

Kevin Rooney

Scott Lannum

VP, Worldwide Channel, OEM Sales

Head of Worldwide Channel Sales

VP, Americas Channel Sales

VP, GM, Commercial Channel Sales


Check Point Software Technologies

Veeam Software

HP Inc.

Head of Global Partner Go To Market, Programs NetApp

Rooney is preparing for a brand-new future. Veeam is moving its headquarters to the U.S. to get closer to the cloud and Microsoft while shifting focus to data management, making Rooney and his ability to recruit channel partners key to growth.

Lannum has taken the channel reins to continue HP’s focus on expanding managed print services and Device as a Service. His tenure has included the development of HP’s upcoming Amplify Partner Program, which will revamp its approach for a digital- and services-focused market.

Lamborn knows NetApp’s future depends in large part on moving its channel partners to taking a cloudfirst approach to storage while balancing it with a strong on-premises infrastructure play. Few if any channel executives have proven as adept at the task as he has.

Kinlaw reinvented Lexmark’s go-to-market approach with the spacesaving Go Line and a new custom plan for SMB solution providers—both perfectly timed to meet the demand for remote work solutions. Lexmark also extended financing terms for its partners earlier this year.


Rauch is laser-focused on developing relationships with partners that have C-level access in prominent customer accounts but were historically more focused on selling data center or cloud products than cybersecurity.



Chris Lamborn



Shannon Sbar

Christian Alvarez

Ken McCray

Craig Schlagbaum

Jon Bove

VP, Channels, North America APC by Schneider Electric

SVP, Worldwide Channels Nutanix

Head of Channel Sales, Operations, Americas

SVP, Indirect Sales Comcast

VP, Channel Sales


With more than 20 years’ worth of channel experience, Sbar has elevated APC by Schneider Electric’s partner business for years by consistently shifting to meet emerging channel needs, creating new strategic relationships and boosting customer satisfaction.

Alvarez has spearheaded Nutanix’s channel sales charge around COVID19-related opportunities this year by providing new programs and financing for partners around virtual desktop infrastructure. His efforts have led to a recent surge in new partner signups.

McCray spearheaded a new training and enablement program for partners that’s tightly aligned with the company’s bets around emerging technologies such as MVision Cloud, MVision EDR and MVision Insight.

Comcast has always had success selling its core connectivity offering, but under Schlagbaum’s leadership its business division has been helping partners become even more valuable to customers through virtualized network-bolstering services such as SDWAN through the Comcast ActiveCore platform.

Bove architected Fortinet’s new Engage Partner Program to supercharge investment in emerging technologies through specializations focused on fast-growing areas like SD-WAN and cloud. He designed the program to deliver support that meets all partners’ needs.







HoJin Kim

Joe Sykora

Gordon Mackintosh

Karl Soderlund

Laura Padilla

VP, Worldwide Channels, North America Sales

VP, Global Sales, Channels

VP, Worldwide Channel, Virtual Sales Juniper Networks

SVP, Worldwide Channel Sales

Head of Business Development, Channels

Palo Alto Networks

Zoom Video Communications


Kim revolutionized pricing for MSSPs with a pay-asyou-go model for SonicWall’s software products that delivers a cost savings of 20 percent over buying an annual license. The flexible pricing helps many MSSPs alleviate previous cash-flow issues.




Sykora has driven development of Bitdefender’s first Security Operations Center to help protect MSPs and customers. He has also tightened the company’s bond with MSPs by forming relationships with RMM providers and distributors, reducing channel conflict and growing profitability.

Mackintosh kicked off the year with a brand-new gig: leading the channel and virtual sales for Juniper Networks. Under Mackintosh’s leadership, new logos for Juniper’s Mist AIpowered offerings are up 100 percent year over year for both Mist wired and wireless LAN offerings.

Soderlund has helped Palo Alto Networks push into the systems integrator market, expanding its partnership with NTT to offer products that will reduce the time needed to predict, detect and respond to attacks. He also helped Palo Alto Networks build out a partnership with Accenture.

No stranger to the channel, Padilla jumped into overdrive to help Zoom handle the massive onslaught in new users this year as the pandemic hit. Padilla is working to help partners harness the massive selling opportunities around video for remote-work use cases.


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2 There’s a reason why Sreekanti is referred to as “the professor” inside HPE. That’s because of the software smarts and intelligence he has brought to bear to drive HPE’s cloud-native, software-defined edge-tocloud Platform-as-a-Service strategy. Sreekanti—who was CTO for HPE’s hybrid IT busiKUMAR SREEKANTI ness before taking on the CTO, Head of Software bigger software job in May— Hewlett Packard Enterprise has brought an architectural clarity and simplicity to the HPE cloud-native, softwaredefined stack. At the HPE Discover Virtual Experience event, Sreekanti made his debut as the new software boss with the launch of the blockbuster Ezmeral container platform that is already turning heads for its artificial intelligence and machinelearning superiority. Sreekanti’s new softwaredefined stack is sure to give fits to Amazon Web Services, VMware and Red Hat. That’s a lesson plan sure to get an “A.”






Keerti Melkote

Todd Nightingale

Founder, President Aruba, a Hewlett Packard

SVP, GM, Enterprise Networking, Cloud

Enterprise company

Cisco Systems

Melkote’s cloud-first vision and his impressive resume as both a technologist and entrepreneur continue to power HPE’s intelligent edge strategy. Add HPE’s planned acquisition of Silver Peak to the equation and you’ve got a robust HPE Aruba enterprise networking story.

Enthusiastic former Cisco Meraki leader Nightingale has had a big year. He’s now heading the Enterprise Networking and Cloud Business and is a member of the executive leadership team, driving business strategy and development efforts for Cisco’s core $34 billion business unit.


4 Robert Enslin

Jeff Clarke

President, Cloud Sales

Vice Chairman, COO

Google Cloud

Dell Technologies

The 27-year SAP veteran was instrumental in overhauling Google Cloud’s sales organization, including the hiring of enterprisesavvy AWS, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, Salesforce and SAP alums as leaders reporting to him under a new framework.

Other than Michael Dell himself, Clarke has been arguably the most strategic asset at Dell Technologies over the past several years in terms of R&D vision and go-to-market dominance. He has reshaped Dell’s infrastructure portfolio to meet the needs of the new data-driven world.



Alex Cho

Rose Schooler

Kyle Hanslovan

David Brown

Jeff Teper

President, Personal Systems Business

Corporate VP, Data Center Sales

Founder, CEO

VP, Elastic Compute Cloud

Corporate VP, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive

HP Inc.


Amazon Web Services


Cho has kept the innovation engine roaring in personal systems at HP Inc. He has overseen HP’s launch of new laptops at a rapid clip with enhancements aimed at meeting work-from-home computing needs, such as improved portability, battery life and 5G connectivity.

As the head of Intel’s data center sales, Schooler is pushing partners to embrace cloudification as an architecture and deployment model as time to value becomes just as important as total cost of ownership and as software plays an increasingly important role in the data center.

Since March 2018, Brown has led Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2)— AWS’ cornerstone web service that helped kick off the public cloud movement—after joining the team as a software development engineer in 2007, a year after EC2 shipped.

Teper, who in 1998 formed the group that would deliver Microsoft SharePoint, now leads the engineering teams for that product in addition to Microsoft Teams—whose usage exploded during the coronavirus pandemic—and OneDrive.

Huntress Labs

Hanslovan has been sowing goodwill among MSPs by taking the fight to the hackers. In February, Huntress Labs posed as a potential buyer on the dark web and convinced a hacker to send screen shots of a compromised system, allowing Huntress to warn the MSP and resulting in an arrest.


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Executives Samsung Succeeds Through Helping Partners Ascend Q. How has Samsung fared this year with all of the unforeseen economic turbulence that has taken place?

A. Over the last seven months, the world has completely changed. Businesses, in

particular, have faced a massive challenge: keep employees safe while ensuring the health of the company. Doing this requires new technology, new solutions and new ways of doing business. Despite global economic headwinds, we are continuing to grow in the B2B space. We plan to maintain growth with new initiatives in the second half of this year.

Q. What role have the channel and solution providers played in Samsung’s success this year?

Taher Behbehani

A. The channel is a very important part of the business strategy and our team continues to grow. Already this year we’ve had some key achievements in the channel space, including our Ascend Partner Program. The Ascend Partner Program was designed to serve our partners and ensure they have the tools to drive business success. This year, we launched the Ascend Partner Portal, a ‘one-stop shop’ for program information, discounts offers, sales tools, marketing resources, education assets and much more.

Q. What does the future hold for Samsung in terms of new products and new opportunities for solution providers?

A. As we look ahead, our team is focused on creating new products and platforms built for businesses. We have already invested in new products, including:

• The Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition: A mission-ready smartphone solution tailored to the unique needs of operators in the federal government and Department of Defense. • The Galaxy XCover Pro: A purpose-built ruggedized solution, designed to meet the needs of industries in rougher environments.

GM and Head of Mobile B2B, Samsung Electronics America

Our partners are always top of mind. We are committed to building and helping them sell products, platforms and solutions made for business.

• The Tab Active Pro: A rugged B2B tablet stands up to real-world challenges and maximizes your team’s productivity. • Chromebooks: A new range of Chromebooks for students are in high demand, delivering the channel new opportunities.

Visit our site for more details:

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William Largent

Douglas Brockett

David Bennett

Rami Rahim

Taher Behbehani

Chairman, CEO




GM, Mobile B2B Division

Veeam Software



Juniper Networks

As Veeam’s founders step out of the limelight, Largent is responsible not only for moving Veeam’s headquarters to the U.S. to be closer to the cloud, but also for shifting focus from data protection to the fastgrowing but technically more complicated data management space.

The IT industry traditionally has had primary storage and secondary storage vendors. Since Brockett joined StorageCraft in 2017 with the acquisition of Exablox, where he was CEO, he has led the push to help the company blur the line and make it a true provider of unified storage.

Axcient is all about protecting data, and Bennett is all about making that protection end to end. He has led Axcient through multiple acquisitions, and recently melded its acquired technologies into a single platform while adding a unique take on ransomware protection.

Cloud-first, AI-empowered networks are more critical than ever before and Rahim is taking full advantage of Juniper’s Mist Systems acquisition, which he led, to revamp Juniper’s road map. Under Rahim, Juniper is becoming a formidable player once again in the wired and wireless networking space.

Samsung Electronics America

Behbehani has been driving the efforts around B2B devices and mobile offerings— such as with the launches of two rugged businessfocused devices, the Galaxy Tab Active Pro tablet and XCover Pro smartphone, and the debut of Project AppStack for B2B SaaS and native app delivery.






Salvatore Sferlazza

Mark Barrenechea

Rohit Ghai

Orion Hindawi

Rob Rae


Vice Chair, CEO, CTO


Co-Founder, Co-CEO

SVP, Business Development






As some legacy RMM tools have fallen prey to exploits, Sferlazza invests heavily in engineers and drives a relentless 45-day update cycle for the company’s flagship product. NinjaRMM debuted mobile capabilities and revealed the company is rolling out a partner program to drive growth.

It’s Barrenechea’s turn to try to unify security and storage. Others have tried—think Symantec/Veritas—but did not succeed. Barrenechea engineered the late 2019 acquisitions of Webroot and Carbonite, and his ability to bring them together will define OpenText’s future.

Ghai is making RSA more nimble and agile by carving the encryption pioneer out from the Dell Technologies behemoth and reconstituting it as an independent company under the stewardship of STG Partners.

Hindawi has been laserfocused on building a mission-oriented culture at Tanium that provides the world’s largest enterprises with more visibility into their IT ecosystems. He has expanded Tanium beyond security to help customers address challenges they have around IT operations.

As Datto continues to become the industry’s top provider of the widest range of MSP-focused automation, storage, networking and management platforms, Rae is at the center of innovating the channel programs that bring those disparate technologies to MSPs large and small.






Todd McKinnon

Eva Chen

Jim Whitehurst

Jed Ayres

Gajen Kandiah

Co-Founder, CEO






Trend Micro



Hitachi Vantara

McKinnon has made it easier for large organizations to authenticate the traffic generated by immersive digital experiences through Okta DynamicScale. He has also simplified the identity giant’s training and accreditation process to help solution providers get sales and technical certifications.

Chen purchased Cloud Conformity to help Trend Micro handle misconfigurations and unprotected user accounts in the public cloud. She has gone all in on hybrid cloud security, which now accounts for one-quarter of Trend Micro’s nearly $1 billion in annual sales.

Whitehurst went from the staid airline industry to what he described to CRN as the “mind-bending” innovation and disruption of the open-source software business at Red Hat. Now he’s No. 2 at Big Blue following its acquisition of Red Hat—a leader IBM hopes can combine the best of those worlds.

The channel, technology and marketing-savvy CEO has established IGEL as the undisputed edge operating system market leader for cloud workspaces. Under Ayres’ leadership, IGEL is headed toward 1 million IGEL operating system seats being sold and activated each year.

As Hitachi Vantara’s new CEO, Kandiah is bringing an integral services mindset to the vendor amid its transformation to becoming a key IoT and big data player. Having previously led Cognizant’s digital business, Kandiah knows what it takes to bring digital practices to the next level.


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2 A partner-savvy, cloud services superstar with a Midas touch, White, a cloud computing veteran and former 20year Microsoft executive who was instrumental in driving dramatic Azure sales growth, is working the same magic at HPE. White is disrupting cloud behemoths Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google by deliverKEITH WHITE ing a GreenLake on-premises SVP, GM, GreenLake cloud experience that is lookHewlett Packard Enterprise ing more and more like the public cloud experience. In just nine months on the job, he has already made big advances, bringing a simpler, point-and-click cloud consumption experience to GreenLake. At the HPE Discover Virtual Experience event, White led the cloud services charge, rolling out 17 new standardized offerings for small, midsize and large businesses. The building block breakthrough opens the door for partners to reduce the sales cycle from what previously took six months to even a year down to just 14 days or less from price quote to delivery on many deals.




Prem Jain

Bill Scannell

Co-Founder, CEO

President, Global Sales, Customer Operations


Jain is leading the charge to flat out deliver better performance and security at the edge than rival Amazon Web Services’ Nitro system. Besides engineering chops, Jain brings a deep knowledge of working closely with partners to make blockbuster market transitions.

Dell Technologies

The veteran Dell channel supporter took over the new unified commercial and enterprise sales organization with the goal of driving massive marketshare gains. Scannell was critical in not letting Dell sales slip due to the pandemic during the company’s first fiscal quarter.


4 Michael Gold

Deepak Patil

CEO Intermedia

SVP, GM, Dell Technologies Cloud

Under Gold’s leadership, Intermedia’s UC and Contact-Center-as-a-Service businesses are having their best year as demand for reliable, secure business communications explodes. Gold has been busy driving global expansion via a new partnership with Japanese telecom equipment maker NEC.

A Microsoft Azure founder, Patil recently joined Dell and has hit the ground running by driving innovation around the Dell Technologies Cloud, including new integration with Google Cloud, VMware Horizon and Kubernetes and a boost to its SD-WAN and security capabilities.


Dell Technologies



Jeff Ready

George Kurtz

Charles Meyers

Jay Chaudhry

Ryan Walsh


Co-Founder, President, CEO

President, CEO

Founder, CEO

Chief Channel Officer




Under Meyers’ leadership, the data center giant didn’t skip a beat because of the coronavirus pandemic as Equinix kept its more than 200 data centers operational while at the same time boosting sales 6 percent year over year in its first quarter.

Chaudhry has disrupted traditional network security by authenticating users and connecting them to applications without requiring firewalls or putting boxes in the cloud. He acquired Cloudneeti to protect public cloud data and Edgewise Networks to verify the identity of application software and services.

With Walsh in charge of channel sales, Pax8 continues to grab market share by sticking with its plan of delivering a few high-functioning products that are fully integrated and ready to drive simplicity for MSPs. “Take some noise out of their day. Take some headache,” Walsh has said of Pax8’s approach.

Scale Computing

Ready is always ready for a fight with larger competitors in the edge computing, virtualization and hyperconverged markets. His bold innovation strategy has led to some revolutionary products for the edge, VDI and remote work infrastructure including a new all-flash, NVMe appliance.


CrowdStrike notched the largest IPO valuation in cybersecurity history and now has a market cap nearing $22 billion. Kurtz has spearheaded massive growth in CrowdStrike’s AWS partnership as customers look to secure cloud workloads and endpoints that reside on their corporate network.


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Prakash Panjwani

David Friend

Sanjay Mirchandani

Liz Centoni

Lisa Su


Co-Founder, President, CEO

President, CEO

SVP, Emerging Technologies, Incubation

President, CEO

WatchGuard Technologies

Panjwani expanded WatchGuard’s footprint into the endpoint with the blockbuster acquisition of Panda Security, creating a security platform that bridges the network and user perimeter. He plans to drive the fusing together of WatchGuard’s network and Panda’s endpoint intelligence and telemetry data.

Wasabi Technologies

After helping Carbonite shake up the SMB cloud storage market, Friend is now pushing Wasabi to potentially disrupt Amazon Web Services’ business model by cutting data storage and protection costs to the bone while building the world’s fourth-largest public cloud.



Talk about a transformation. Since joining Commvault in early 2019, Mirchandani first disrupted his own company with a new focus on cloud and SMBs and in the process turned Commvault into a prime competitor to many startups.


Cisco Systems

Cisco veteran Centoni had not one, but two promotions in the past year. Most recently, she was called on to head up a brand-new business unit for Cisco— the Future Technologies and Incubation Group— which is busy developing new business opportunities for the tech giant.



In her nearly six-year tenure as AMD’s president and CEO, Su has turned around the company and brought it to the forefront of high-performance computing with new 7-nanometer processors for servers and PCs and widespread support among OEMs and cloud service providers.



Paul Hooper

David Wagner

Andrew Gregoire

Fred Voccola

Rory Read


President, CEO







CEO Vonage

Hooper has been focused on extending Gigamon’s technology that allows users to peer inside and understand east-west and north-south traffic from applications inside the cloud, providing organizations with visibility into data in motion.

Wagner has spent $20 million to develop Secure Cloud and enhance Zix’s platform and application capabilities since closing its purchase of email security peer AppRiver 18 months ago. Zix’s investments under Wagner at the application level have improved Secure Cloud’s advanced threat capabilities.

LTE connectivity for primary use wasn’t a reality until a light bulb went off for Gregoire, a former MSP founder, which led to the launch of business LTE provider For2Fi. For2Fi is making LTE connectivity more than just a backup solution for businesses.

The outspoken leader of IT service management provider Kaseya spent the past two years bringing key offerings into its platform through the acquisitions of IT Glue, ID Agent and RapidFire Tools, among others. The company debuted IT Complete earlier this year to raves from partners.

Read, a longtime tech veteran who led AMD as well as Dell’s Virtustream division, in June revealed he was jumping to cloud communications firm Vonage. As CEO, the proven leader is helping Vonage become a household name for all things business communications.






Bart Giordano

Joe Alapat

C.R. Howdyshell

Peter Bauer

Tom Galizia

SVP, Ruckus Wireless, Cloud





Advizex Technologies


Alapat spent years creating the automated documentation tool that lets MSPs run their business and not get bogged down “kneedeep” in manual tasks, as he recently put it in a blog post. In May, Liongard was awarded $17 million in Series B funding to build a bigger team to assist with its booming customer growth.

The technology-savvy 30year sales veteran is driving a revolutionary businessoutcome-based services sales model designed to give customers the ability to consume everything as a service. The new model is gaining momentum as cash-strapped customers look to move to consumption-based models.

Bauer tasked Mimecast’s channel team with pursuing and landing larger accounts by devising an approach that covers everything from training and technical support to marketing and vendor alliances. Bauer added more tools to Mimecast’s arsenal by buying DMARC Analyzer and Segasec.

Global Chief Commercial Officer, Alphabet/Google Practice


Cloud strategy guru Giordano combined his wireless and cloud expertise during his time with Ruckus Networks. Since the company was acquired in 2019 by CommScope, Giordano today is spearheading WiFi, IoT and cloud services product management, marketing and business development for Ruckus.



Deloitte Consulting

Galizia commands what is expected to be Deloitte Consulting’s fastest-growing billion-dollar business, a milestone that Google Cloud’s largest partner anticipates reaching within two years. The two are focused on large-scale SAP workload migrations.


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How To


by Seeing the Whole Story

Freshworks Finds Success Delivering Great Customer Experience Q. What has led to Freshworks’ success?

A. Freshworks provides innovative customer engagement software for businesses of all sizes, enabling teams to acquire, close and keep their customers for life. Our products provide a 360-degree view of the customer for marketing, sales, support and success functions. We believe our customer-centric vision and end user-focused products helped win customers for life. Today, we are valued at $3.5 billion and have 40,000+ customers in 120+ countries.

Q. How has the channel played a role in Freshworks’ success?

A. Initially, our channel ecosystem was built to support non-English-speaking regions. We started our partner program earlier than most companies would since we wanted to be closer to our customers. We began with Europe, then Latin America and APAC -- we localized products and onboarded regional partners. Today, our channel business contributes to around 20 percent of our revenue. We opened the Freshworks Marketplace for ISVs and now have 1,000+ apps to help businesses with third-party integrations, greatly increasing usability, customer experience and feature adoption. We’re extremely proud of its adoption, making it among the fastest-growing in the B2B marketplace.

Q. How will Freshworks partners impact that success going forward?

A. Starting in 2019, we expanded to English-speaking markets, with a major focus on North America. Today, our channel revenue contributes to around 20 percent of the company’s business and continues to grow strongly as we get deeper into regional territories to serve them better. We’re building a channel and system integration ecosystem in North America, especially the United States, to support the midmarket/enterprise segment. We doubled down in the last 12 months by aligning with global solution partners like TCS, Amberleaf, CDI and TTEC. We signed a distribution agreement with Climb Channel Solution to penetrate the state local education (SLED) vertical. We continue to recruit via our partner program that offers the best perks in the industry -- no program fee, free sales/services enablement and generous margins.

Q. What are Freshworks’ big plans for the next 12 months?

A. Freshworks is strongly positioned to deliver value to companies as they navigate through the

new normal. We’ll continue to invest in our AI/ML-powered technology, which enables conversational customer engagement while reducing workload via automated processes.

Anand Venkatraman

VP of global partnerships at Freshworks

Freshworks’ cloud-based software helps businesses deliver great customer experiences across their marketing, sales and customer support functions while providing faster time to value. The AI/ML powered solutions reduce workload on teams and enable conversational engagement across multiple channels for a frictionless customer experience.

We see great potential in the industry for vertical plays and will further align with global system integrators and business process outsourcing companies eager to add Freshworks to their CRM, support and ITSM portfolio. Using the Freshworks platform and their vertical expertise, our partners can create customer-centric solutions.

To become a Freshworks partner, visit - https://www.freshworks. com/company/partners/home/partner-program-signup/

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8/4/20 11:23 AM


( S O FA R )

IT HAS BECOME AN ANNUAL TRADITION once we cross into the second half for CRN to look back at the year so far to assess how key companies are performing and how important trends are shaping up. The first six months of 2020 were dominated by the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic. This led to tough economic times for the world at large as countries closed their borders, businesses shut down and 12.6 million people globally were diagnosed with COVID-19, resulting in 560,000 deaths, according to figures reported by the World Health Organization in mid-July. Millions of workers became unemployed, while millions more found themselves working from home. As companies, schools and health-care organizations scrambled to adjust to doing business amid the lockdown, it became apparent that technology vendors and channel partners had a key role to play: working with customers to jump-start their digital transformation initiatives; getting laptops, printers and videoconferencing tools into the hands of people working and learning remotely; and helping hospitals, clinics and doctors find new ways to treat patients. Then the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis set off a wave of protests and civil unrest, not only in the U.S. but also across the world, bringing calls for increased efforts to end racism. Meanwhile, the channel itself had to adjust to doing business in the new normal as partner conferences and other industry tech events were canceled or turned into virtual events, sales meetings turned into Zoom calls and solution providers looked to their vendor and distribution partners for financial help during trying times. With all of this going on, it’s perhaps no surprise that the CEOs of some of the world’s biggest tech companies had a few thoughts to share. Here are the ones that best encapsulate the important happenings and trends of 2020 so far. —CRN Staff

On The Coronavirus Pandemic Marc Benioff, founder, chair and CEO of Salesforce, during the

company’s first-quarter fiscal 2021 call with financial analysts on May 28 “I’ve been on more sales calls with more CEOs in the last two months than at any time in my career, and there’s universal agreement among them: Digital transformation, while this isn’t a one app [solution], it’s a must-have. Organizations and governments around the world have a digital transformation imperative like never before, and many of them are accelerating their plans for a digital-first work-fromanywhere environment.”

Sanjay Mirchandani, president and CEO of

Commvault, in an interview with CRN published July 6

“I don’t know if the world’s [ever] going to look like it did five months ago. You know, you jump on a plane, you fly across the country, you go for a couple of meetings, you meet customers. I don’t know if it’s going to be quite that way anymore. I think there’s a level of efficiency, of being able to do things without all of that. That will be part of the new world. And I think that our channel is doing the same.”

Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, in two March 19 tweets referencing a video showing people in Miami on spring break without practicing social distancing or wearing masks

“Anyone in this video, please don’t apply to work at Dell [Technologies or] at VMware. And also please don’t apply to [SecureWorks, The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Boomi] or MSD Capital.”



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On Racism Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in a June 1 tweet “There is no place for hate and racism in our society. Empathy and shared understanding are a start, but we must do more. I stand with the Black and African-American community and we are committed to building on this work in our company and in our communities.”

Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, in a May 30 tweet “*What* will it take for us to refuse to accept these unjust killings of Black people? How many people must die, how many generations must endure, how much eyewitness video is required? What else do we need? We need better than what we’re getting from courts and political leaders.”

Chuck Robbins, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, in

a May 30 tweet

“What’s happening in the U.S. is abhorrent. It’s far overdue for all of us to take action to eradicate systemic racism, xenophobia, inequality and all forms of bigotry in America. How we respond will be an important moment in our nation’s history. Cisco will lead. #blacklivesmatter”

On The Channel Bob Swan, CEO of Intel, in a keynote address during the virtual Intel Partner Connect conference May 20, marking the first time in several years an Intel CEO had appeared at the chipmaker’s annual channel partner event “These partnerships are so important to us. Your innovation, your ideas, your leveraging [of] technology to solve big problems is such an important part of what it is that we do because on our own we can’t do that much. We’re so dependent on our partners and our channel partners to solve some of these challenges.”

Rich Hume, CEO of Tech Data, in an interview with CRN published March 20 in which he discusses the impact of the pandemic on the channel “It’s becoming very clear that our IT ecosystem is a vital link to enable companies to continue with workfrom-home efforts. Vendors, distribution and resellers are enabling the world to be able to do that. ... The community becomes very small and tight when crisis emerges. We turn to one another with any challenges and issues and hope to resolve them. ... I would encourage any part of the ecosystem to reach out. If Tech Data can assist in any way, we’re happy to help.”


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8/10/20 9:19 PM


Off To A Flying Start


By Rick Whiting

HE IT INDUSTRY runs on innovation. Startups, perhaps because they are unencumbered by legacy products or legacy thinking, are often the source of the biggest technology breakthroughs in big data, the cloud, data center, the Internet of Things, networking, security and storage. The CRN 2020 Emerging Vendors addresses all of these technologies and includes 125 companies that were founded in 2014 or later, have annual sales of less than $1 billion, and are working with channel partners in North America. These companies may not be household names yet but many of them are gaining market traction, earning name recognition within the IT industry and, in some cases, have their eyes on future initial public offerings. Rubrik, for example, has become a force in the cloud data management and enterprise backup/recovery space. Streaming data technology developer Confluent, a darling in the big data arena, has raised $456 million in funding and grew its sales by 450 percent in 2019. And Wasabi Technologies has been making a name for itself as it competes against Amazon Web Services with its simple and affordable cloud storage. Others are just out of the gate, founded in the past one to two years or recently exiting stealth. Kubernetes infrastructure company Spectro Cloud launched in August 2019, for example, while distributed cloud application services provider Volterra exited stealth in November 2019. IT startups also have been attracting a lot of venture capital this year. This year alone they include big data startup Starburst Data ($42 million), security startup Huntress Labs ($18 million), IoT startup FogHorn ($25 million), cloud security startup CloudKnox Security ($12 million) and AIOps platform startup OpsRamp ($37.5 million). Snyk, whose development tools are used to find and fix vulnerabilities in software code, raised an impressive $150 million in January after rapid revenue and customer growth in 2019. The funding will “accelerate our vision of enabling businesses to continuously build security into their application de-


velopment process and culture,” said Snyk CEO Peter McKay. Startups in their early years have traditionally focused on selling directly to a limited number of customers, not turning to the channel until they are well along in broadening their sales efforts. But they now seem to be turning to the channel earlier in their development, recognizing that solution providers can introduce a startup and its products to their customers and apply its leading-edge technology to real-world solutions. In April, Fluree, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based developer of a platform for developing blockchain-based applications, launched its first formal channel program, the Fluree Partner Network, to work with ISV, systems integrator, VAR and cloud infrastructure partners. The chief goal of the program is to recruit and assist partners that provide applications and services that “bridge the last mile” between Fluree’s blockchain technology and customer implementations, according to the company. “The idea is to find projects where clients can benefit from Fluree’s software and build around that. Definitely our [strengths] are around software implementation and technical consultancy,” said Pawel Dyrek, technology consulting manager at Codete, an IT consulting and software developer and Fluree partner based in Krakow, Poland. Of the new partner program, Dyrek said the co-marketing projects and lead-generation services “will be greatly beneficial.” Startups with hot technologies also can be acquisition targets for large vendors looking to spice up their product portfolios. In just the short time since CRN compiled this list, Zscaler acquired application security startup Edgewise Networks, SUSE struck a deal to buy container technology startup Rancher Labs, and Fortinet snapped up cloud security developer Opaq Networks. The following is the complete list of 2020 Emerging Vendors, organized by technology, along with a snapshot description of each company. In addition to this information, more details about these companies are available by scanning here.


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2020 Big Data

Emerging Vendors

The List

Data is not only growing in volume, it’s being scattered across on-premises, hybrid and multicloud systems. Startups are busy helping businesses access, integrate, manage and govern it.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Haoyuan Li, Founder, CEO

Alluxio’s virtual distributed file system provides a data orchestration layer that brings data close to compute resources for big data and AI/machine-learning workloads in the cloud.

Cockroach Labs

Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Spencer Kimball, Co-Founder, CEO

The CockroachDB relational database is designed to support next-generation, cloud-native transactional applications. In October 2019 the startup launched CockroachCloud, a fully managed cloud edition of its database.


Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Ryohei Fujimaki, CEO

DotData’s AutoML 2.0 data science automation platform helps enterprises accelerate machine learning and AI projects and deliver more business value by automating the hardest parts of the process—feature engineering and operationalization.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Brian Platz, Co-Founder, Co-CEO

The Fluree platform organizes blockchain-secured data in a highly scalable semantic graph database, providing data with native interoperability, provable historic integrity and inherent security.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Asaf Somekh, Co-Founder, CEO

The Iguazio Data Science Platform lets enterprises develop, deploy and manage AI applications, transforming AI projects into real-world business outcomes. Organizations can build and run AI models in real time and deploy them anywhere.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: David Drai, Founder, CEO

Anodot’s platform uses machine learning to monitor business metrics, detect significant anomalies and help forecast performance. Anodot provides real-time alerts that help users cut incident costs by as much as 80 percent.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Jay Kreps, Co-Founder, CEO

The Confluent Platform organizes and manages massive volumes of streaming data and makes the data available to business applications and information workers. The event stream processing software is based on Apache Kafka.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Billy Bosworth, CEO

Dremio’s Data Lake Engine delivers fast query speed and a self-service semantic layer operating directly against data lake storage. Dremio eliminates the need to copy and move data to proprietary data warehouses or create cubes.


Founded: 2018 Top Executive: David Flynn, CEO

Looking to overcome the siloed nature of hybrid cloud systems, the Hammerspace Data-as-a-Service platform unifies data management across the hybrid cloud and provides a global file system that manages and protects data wherever it resides.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Buno Pati, CEO

The Infoworks enterprise data operations and orchestration system enables digital transformation by automating and accelerating development and orchestration of data and analytics projects at scale.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Prat Moghe, Founder, CEO

Cazena offers a managed Data Lake as a Service for building data lakes on public cloud platforms. The service includes cloud storage and infrastructure, data and analytics workload engines, and security and encryption.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Thomas Kehler, CEO

CrowdSmart’s prediction platform helps achieve discoveries for critical initiatives. CrowdSmart uses human-empowered AI to automate knowledge acquisition, creating a collective knowledge model from iterative group exchanges.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Adam Famularo, CEO

Erwin’s data governance software platform delivers integrated capabilities for enterprise modeling, data cataloging and data literacy. Erwin facilitates collaboration between IT and business to discover and govern data at rest and in motion.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Richard Agee, CFO

IdentityLayer tackles the problem of sensitive data exposure resulting from limited-to-no coordination between data access and user workflow behavior when companies use cloud file sharing services such as Google and Microsoft.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Michael Howard, CEO

The MariaDB database is a community-developed, commercially supported offshoot of the MySQL relational database. Earlier this year MariaDB launched SkySQL, its cloud Database as a Service.


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Emerging Vendors

Big Data continued Octopai

Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Amnon Drori, Co-Founder, CEO

Octopai’s automated business intelligence platform provides automated data lineage, data discovery and business glossary capabilities that enable business intelligence and analytics teams to quickly find and understand their data.

Starburst Data

Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Justin Borgman, Co-Founder, CEO

Starburst Data provides a commercial edition (and related services and support) of the Presto high-performance, distributed SQL query engine for finding and analyzing data that resides in a variety of data sources.


Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Kaycee Lai, CEO

Enterprises struggle to be data-driven when data resides in multiple systems and processes can’t deliver answers quickly. Promethium automates the process using augmented data management and AI, accelerating analytics projects.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Ajay Khanna, Founder, CEO

Tellius’ platform enables anyone to ask questions of their data and quickly get insight. Tellius combines an intelligence layer that automates discovery with machine learning, a natural language search interface and self-service data preparation.

Founded: 2014 Top Executive: John Randles, CEO

Rooted in academic R&D around information retrieval and distributed computing,’s investigative intelligence platform combines search, business intelligence, link analysis, and big data operational logging and alerting.

Yellowbrick Data

Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Neil Carson, CEO

Yellowbrick Data was founded by experts in database and flash memory technologies. Its systems provide high availability and scalability, run complex mixed workloads, support ad-hoc SQL and handle large numbers of concurrent users.

Startups are developing the tools needed to deploy, monitor and manage IT infrastructure and applications across dispersed public and private clouds and hybrid cloud and multi-cloud networks.

Captain’s Chair

Founded: 2018 Top Executive: John Kalanik, President

Captain’s Chair is designed to provide MSP partners a client services platform with a competitive advantage. Captain’s Chair is a client-facing, real-time dashboard product that gives clients more visibility into their infrastructure and operations.

Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Tomer Levy, Co-Founder, CEO’s platform consists of log management built on the ELK log management stack, infrastructure monitoring based on Grafana, and an ELK-based cloud SIEM. provides these open-source tools as a fully managed cloud service.

Spectro Cloud

Founded: 2019 Top Executive: Tenry Fu, CEO

Spectro Cloud provides enterprise cloud-native infrastructure that delivers scalable, policy-based cluster management of Kubernetes for enterprises that need flexibility. It emerged from stealth earlier this year with $7.5 million in funding.




Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Michael Morrison, CEO

CoreView’s SaaS management platform combines actionable visibility with granular management capabilities in a singlepane interface to increase productivity of Microsoft 365 and other SaaS applications.

Morpheus Data

Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Ted Danielson, Chief Revenue Officer

Customers use the Morpheus enterprise hybrid cloud management platform to rapidly enable self-service private clouds and standardize public cloud consumption by integrating natively with 90-plus third-party technologies for speed and agility.


Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Mark Hinkle, CEO

TriggerMesh provides a cloud-native, scalable platform that integrates applications and automation workflows from the data center to the cloud and back. It accelerates development speed and unifies multiple clouds and legacy infrastructure.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Kevin Dillon, Executive Chairman

HyperGrid’s cloud management and governance platform helps IT discover, plan, optimize, secure, manage and scale workloads across on-premises, private and public cloud systems.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Varma Kunaparaju, Co-Founder, CEO

OpsRamp’s cloud platform discovers, monitors, manages and automates hybrid environments, giving IT a unified view of infrastructure health while consolidating point tools and maintaining business-critical digital services.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Ankur Singla, Founder, CEO

Volterra’s distributed cloud platform deploys, connects, secures and operates applications and data across multi-cloud and edge sites. DevOps and NetOps teams can improve application time-to-service and security across multiple clouds.


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2020 Data Center

Emerging Vendors

Hyperconverged systems, modular data centers at the edge, Data Center as a Service, containers and new development and testing tools: Startups are redefining the traditional data center.

Agile Stacks

Founded: 2017 Top Executive: John Mathon, CEO

Agile Stacks is reinventing how enterprises implement multi-cloud infrastructure-as-code. Its cloud-based service helps accelerate software delivery by deploying composable, automated, full-function software infrastructure in minutes.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Tom Barton, CEO

Diamanti, creator of a bare-metal, hyperconverged platform for Kubernetes and containers, delivers a Kubernetes offering integrated with a patented I/O-optimized architecture. Diamanti Kubernetes is an out-of-the-box offering.

IntelliTransit Solutions Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Manish Bhardwaj, CEO

IntelliTransit is a next-generation transit technology provider specializing in paratransit on-demand offerings, automatic vehicle location systems, mobile data terminals, fixed route offerings, fleet management and more.

Internet of Things


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Mansour Karam, Co-Founder, President

Apstra automates the architecture and operations of data center networks, enabling changes to networks quickly and reliably, while making efficient use of human capital and eliminating hardware vendor lock-in.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Mike Hagan, Co-Founder, CEO

Colocation startup EdgeMicro provides carrier-neutral, modular data centers and the company’s Edge Traffic Exchange technology that puts compute, storage and network resources as close as possible to end users.

Rancher Labs

Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Sheng Liang, Co-Founder, CEO

Rancher Labs’ flagship product, Rancher, is an open-source Kubernetes management platform that enables organizations to deploy and manage Kubernetes at scale. On July 8 Linux powerhouse SUSE struck a deal to acquire the company.

Bamboo Systems

Founded: 2019 Top Executive: Tony Craythorne, CEO

Bamboo servers deliver high throughput for microservicesbased software like containers, with extremely low power and space consumption. They promise 10 times the compute density at a fraction of power usage.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Tamas Cser, Founder, CEO

The Functionize automated software testing platform leverages AI technology to create an autonomous intelligent test agent that transforms plain English language test cases into AI-driven assets.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Andy Kalambi, CEO

Rize offers industrial 3-D printing systems that drive sustainable innovation in manufacturing, life sciences, consumer packaged goods, architecture, research and education.

As IoT networks proliferate, key will be better ways to deploy, manage and secure potentially thousands of edge devices. Startups are building the technologies that make that possible.


Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Albert Behr, CEO

BehrTech’s MyThings is a low-power, WAN system for Industrial IoT deployments. The low-power MIOTY protocol it uses has lower interference than the LoRa proprietary wireless protocol prevalent in IoT, the company said.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Jonathan Langer, Co-Founder, CEO

Medigate provides cybersecurity for connected devices in hospitals. The platform delivers comprehensive and accurate identification, contextual anomaly detection and automated clinical policy enforcement.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Kilton Hopkins, Co-Founder, CEO

Edgeworx’s infrastructure platforms and tools enable developers and IT operators to extend their cloud-native applications to the edge. Key is its ioFog Engine for remotely deploying microservices that turn hardware into intelligent edge nodes.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Matthew Gregory, CEO

Ockam’s development tools are used to build applications that connect cloud servers, Linux boxes at the edge, and embedded and IoT devices. The company’s hosted cloud services include the Ockam Router.

FogHorn Systems

Founded: 2014 Top Executive: David King, CEO

FogHorn’s edge intelligence IoT platform brings advanced analytics and machine learning to on-premises edge environments, enabling advanced monitoring/diagnostics, performance optimization, proactive maintenance and more.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Sanjit Biswas, CEO

Samsara provides a portfolio of complete IoT offerings combining hardware, software and cloud to bring real-time visibility, analytics and AI to operational applications such as fleet management and industrial infrastructure.


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Emerging Vendors

Internet of Things continued


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Said Ouissal, Co-Founder, CEO

Zededa offers a cloud-based IoT edge orchestration system that provides visibility and security for the distributed edge, deploying and managing any application on any hardware at scale and connecting to any cloud or on-premises system.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: George Bardissi, CEO

Bvoip is a channel-only company designed to fill the gap in the UC category for the MSP space. It solves two challenges: interconnecting with many tools, systems and platforms that MSPs use and offering a VoIP and UC offering that MSPs can adopt.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Andrew Gregoire, Co-Founder, CEO

For2Fi provides unlimited, high-speed 4G LTE wireless internet services for hard-to-reach businesses and those that need connectivity immediately. It does 100 percent of its business through the channel, working with master agent Telarus.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Galeal Zino, Founder, CEO

NetFoundry enables businesses to simply and securely connect applications via software-only, zero-trust, SASE architectures without the constraints of MPLS WAN, SD-WAN or VPN. It provides Network as a Service for enterprises globally.

Tikal Center

Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Doron Dovrat, Co-Founder, CEO

The Tikal Call Center is a unified platform for inbound, outbound and blended operations with advanced cloud-based and AI-driven features, reporting and management controls. Partners use the platform to deliver call center solutions.


Networking/Unified Communications

Startups are creating the technologies needed for a connected world.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Olivier Pailhes, Co-Founder, CEO

Aircall’s cloud-based phone offering helps SMBs manage customer support and/or sales calls. Aircall replaces outdated systems with a collaborative platform that provides relevant customer data and agent-facing tools at the onset of every call.


Founded: 2019 Top Executive: Rajeev Shah, Co-Founder, CEO

Celona provides end-to-end private mobile network offerings leveraging the CBRS spectrum band. These cellular technologies include private LTE and 5G wireless network offerings that incorporate AI and are as easy to deploy as Wi-Fi networks.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Ian Bresnahan, President, CEO

Itential provides intelligent automation for multidomain networks. Its low-code automation platform connects IT systems with network technologies for network automation across configuration, service life cycle and policy management.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Neil Darling, Founder, CEO

Specializing in social communications technology, RingLeader enables groups or emerging enterprises of any size to integrate their legacy voice and data infrastructure into a distributed, secure platform, which RingLeader calls “CrowdVoicing.”

Uplevel Systems

Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Tom Alexander, CEO

Uplevel designed a hybrid cloud, on-premises-based, Infrastructure-as-a-Service model specifically for MSPs that easily scales, reduces support and deployment times, and preserves SMBs’ capital.


Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Amir Khan, Founder, CEO

Alkira delivers an on-demand, multi-cloud Network as a Service that allows companies of all sizes to quickly build and deploy global cloud networks and auto-scale to address business requirements.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Ido Susan, Co-Founder, CEO

DriveNets revolutionizes communications service provider networks by disaggregating the network infrastructure from the core to the edge in the same way hyperscalers disaggregate cloud infrastructure.

Lumina Networks

Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Andrew Coward, CEO

Lumina provides open-source networking offerings that automate and simplify heterogeneous networks. It acquired Brocade’s emerging SDN technology and now offers an OpenDaylight-based SDN controller and related products.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Yaron Ravkaie, CEO

Teridion’s global SD-WAN service is built on the public cloud and improves site-to-site performance, accelerating access to SaaS applications and cloud workloads. Its Internet Overlay Network is powered by Teridion Curated Routing technology.


Founded: 2019 Top Executive: Brian Russell, CEO

UX2D is a hosted, cloud-based, content management software system providing simplified scalability for digital signage networks. Its platform maximizes the benefits of digital signage, including the integration of prebuilt apps.


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Emerging Vendors


As corporate IT expands to the edge and into the cloud, securing dispersed systems, networks and data becomes increasingly complex. These startups’ security technologies are meeting that challenge.

Aqua Security

Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Dror Davidoff, Co-Founder, CEO

Aqua’s Cloud Native Security Platform enables enterprises to secure their container-based, serverless and cloud-native applications. In 2019 Aqua expanded into cloud security posture management by acquiring CloudSploit.

Avalanche Global Solutions

Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Manan Shah, Founder, CEO

Avalanche Global Solutions provides complete cybersecurity offerings, delivering customized systems, customer remediation and preventative maintenance services to large enterprises and governments.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Dean Sysman, Co-Founder, CEO

Axonius’ cybersecurity asset management platform provides organizations with a comprehensive asset inventory, uncovers security solution coverage gaps, and automatically validates and enforces security policies.


Founded: 2019 Top Executive: Prakash Linga, Co-Founder, CEO

BluBracket’s security technology secures one of a business’ most valuable assets: software code. Launched by the former CEO and CTO of document security company Vera, BluBracket exited stealth this year with $6.5 million in seed funding.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Yaniv Vardi, CEO

Claroty is focused on protecting industrial networks from cyberattacks, ensuring safe operation of critical infrastructure. Its platform provides a complete OT security offering that integrates seamlessly with existing IT security infrastructure.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Andreas Pettersson, CEO

Arcules addresses the need for an integrated, cloud-based video surveillance, access control and IoT service. It combines previously untapped video with sensor data and analytics to deliver insight that improves operations and safety.

Awake Security

Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Rahul Kashyap, CEO

Awake Security delivers network traffic analysis capabilities that provide answers, not alerts. By combining AI with human expertise, it autonomously hunts for insider and external attackers, while providing triage, digital forensics and more.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Gaurav Banga, Founder, CEO

Balbix leverages specialized AI to provide organizations with a comprehensive and real-time view into their breach risk and prescribes prioritized mitigating actions to enable them to reduce cyber-risk by 95 percent or more.

Cambridge Blockchain Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Alok Bhargava, CEO

Cambridge Blockchain’s IDBridge and Confidare products return control of personal data back to users while delivering the benefits of trusted, distributed identity to consumers and organizations.

Clear Skye

Founded: 2016 Top Executive: John Milburn, CEO

Clear Skye IGA is a full-featured identity governance and administration offering built on the ServiceNow platform. Customers leverage their investment in ServiceNow to be able to automate and review user access to enterprise applications.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Yevgeny Dibrov, Co-Founder, CEO

The Armis agentless device security platform is built to protect unmanaged IoT devices, providing passive, realtime and continuous asset inventory, risk management and detection response to prevent cyberattacks.

Axis Security

Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Dor Knafo, Co-Founder, CEO

Axis Security’s Application Access Cloud is a purpose-built, cloud-based offering for private app access. Built on a zerotrust approach, it can connect users anywhere on any device, to private apps, without touching the network or applications.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Dimitri Sirota, Co-Founder, CEO

BigID redefines data privacy and protection. The company uses advanced machine learning and data intelligence to help manage sensitive data, meet data privacy and protection regulations and leverage coverage across all data stores.

Cato Networks

Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Shlomo Kramer, Co-Founder, CEO

Cato Networks’ SASE platform converges SD-WAN and network security into a global cloud service. The company secures application access for all users and locations, replacing legacy security products and network services with an agile global network.

CloudKnox Security Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Balaji Parimi, CEO

CloudKnox ensures that every human and non-human that touches cloud infrastructure always has the least amount of permissions to do their jobs through a patented activity-based Authorization Protocol and Just Enough Privileges Controller.


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Emerging Vendors

Security continued Concentric

Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Karthik Krishnan, Founder, CEO

Concentric’s semantic intelligence offering uses deep learning to provide a comprehensive inventory and risk profile of sensitive data, helping businesses discover, monitor and remediate risks to sensitive data on-premises and in the cloud.

Cybersafe Solutions Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Ben Filingeri, CEO

Cybersafe Solutions is a global managed security service provider offering customers Security Operations Center as a Service and managed detection, response and containment offerings.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Eyal Wachsman, Co-Founder, CEO

Cymulate develops an automated, SaaS-based breach and attack simulation platform that businesses and organizations use to validate and manage their cybersecurity posture and identify security gaps.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Ambuj Kumar, Co-Founder, CEO

Fortanix provides an enterprise data security platform with its Runtime Encryption technology that’s built on Intel SGX. The system encrypts applications and data in the cloud and on-premises, securing data that’s at rest, in motion and in use.

Huntress Labs

Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Kyle Hanslovan, Founder, CEO

Huntress Labs provides advanced threat detection and actionable cybersecurity intelligence for MSPs and VARs with an effective method to investigate and protect against footholds that indicate malicious activity on customer endpoints.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: David McGillivray, Managing Principal

InterGrid’s JetStream is a complete private-labeled managed services program that enables solution providers to offer a full scope of managed services under their brand without the large capital outlay.


Contrast Security

Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Alan Naumann, CEO

Contrast Security’s DevOps-native application security platform uses instrumentation to analyze and protect from within an application, embedding code analysis and attack prevention directly into software.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Amir Levintal, CEO

Cylus is a key player in rail cybersecurity technology, addressing the security needs of the railway industry by helping mainline and metro rail companies and organizations avoid safety incidents and service disruptions caused by cyberattacks.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Rob Simopoulos, Co-Founder

Defendify is an all-in-one cybersecurity platform for businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Defendify combines cybersecurity plans, policies, procedures, testing, training and scanning technologies through a single pane of glass.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Pankaj Chowdhry, Founder, CEO

FortressIQ markets an online security, governance and compliance platform for enterprise business automation and AI processes. The FortressIQ system uses computer vision, AI and analytics to deliver real-time process insight.

Illusive Networks

Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Ofer Israeli, Founder, CEO

Illusive Networks uses next-generation deception technology to stop cyberattacks by detecting attackers, destroying their decision-making processes, and depriving them of the means to move laterally.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Keith Alexander, Founder, Co-CEO

IronNet’s IronDome empowers organizations to collectively defend against cyberthreats. By sharing correlated threat behaviors across ecosystems, organizations mutually aid in detection, remediation and mitigation.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Fred Kneip, CEO

CyberGRX’s global cyber-risk exchange approach includes structured and validated cyber-risk data and analytics that educate organizations on third parties that pose the highest risk.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Jason Hollander, Co-Founder, CEO

Cymatic secures online applications by focusing on unmanaged users and devices. Its cloud- and AI-based user and entity behavior analytics platform verifies a user’s “security hygiene” and blocks threats before they get past the browser.

Edgewise Networks Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Peter Smith, Founder, CEO

Edgewise develops technology that proactively prevents application compromise and attack progression by network-borne threats, providing trusted application networking for the cloud and data center. It was acquired by Zscaler in late May.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Kevin O’Brien, Co-Founder, CEO

GreatHorn’s cloud-native email security platform provides comprehensive email threat and account takeover protection designed to halt social engineering and phishing attacks on cloud offerings like Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Curtis Hutcheson, CEO

Infocyte provides continuous monitoring and digital forensic analysis of SaaS platforms, enabling quick identification and investigation of—and response to—sophisticated cyberattacks.

K2 Cyber Security

Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Pravin Madhani, Co-Founder, CEO

K2 Cyber Security delivers a next-generation application workload protection platform to secure critical web applications and container workloads against sophisticated attacks.


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Emerging Vendors

Security continued Liongard

Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Joseph Alapat, CEO

Liongard targets the MSP arena with its flagship Roar automated documentation software. With automated documentation and actionable alerts, Liongard helps MSP teams operate more efficiently and optimize their resources.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Locke Brown, CEO

NuID is a pioneer in “trustless authentication” and decentralized digital identity. It uses blockchain technology and “zero-knowledge cryptography” to authenticate individuals, eliminating the need to store passwords in a central database.

Opaq Networks, a Fortinet company

Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Ken Xie, Founder, Chairman, CEO

Fortinet has acquired Opaq with plans to combine the startup’s zero-trust cloud architecture with its Security Fabric. Opaq’s cloud-delivered SASE platform combines security with an encrypted Gigabit-speed global network backbone.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Gordon Lawson, President, Chief Revenue Officer

RangeForce delivers an integrated cybersecurity simulation and skills analysis platform combining a virtual cyber range with hands-on advanced cybersecurity training.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Tim Keeler, Co-Founder, CEO

Remediant delivers enterprise-class cybersecurity privileged access management offerings that enable real-time monitoring, zero-trust protection of privileged accounts and administration across IT, security and cloud ecosystems.

Skout Cybersecurity Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Aidan Kehoe, Founder, CEO

Skout is a channel-only provider of fully managed Security Operations Center services for MSPs. It recently unveiled a new security package for work-from-home employees that includes protection against email compromise and ransomware.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Charlie Sander, CEO

ManagedMethods is a Google G Suite and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity, student safety and compliance platform for K-12 education. It uses AI-powered threat protection technology to help school districts secure sensitive student and staff data.

Obsidian Security

Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Glenn Chisholm, CEO


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Yuen Pin Yeap, CEO

NeuShield protects data by preventing malware from changing or corrupting it. Its technology, called “mirror shielding,” allows instant recovery of data from any fully undetectable or zero-day threat without requiring updates.

One Identity by Quest Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Patrick Nichols, CEO

Obsidian’s cloud detection and response platform provides unified visibility of users, privileges and activity in SaaS applications, enabling it to detect breaches, uncover insider threats and secure SaaS systems without impacting productivity.

One Identity’s governance and privileged access management offerings help organizations achieve security by placing identities at the core. Over 7,500 organizations worldwide leverage One Identity to manage over 125 million identities.

Orca Security

Perimeter 81

Founded: 2019 Top Executive: Avi Shua, Co-Founder, CEO

Orca Security provides instant-on, workload-level visibility into 100 percent of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform assets without the operational costs of agents.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Michael Fraser, CEO

Refactr has created a modern and simple DevSecOps automation platform. The platform helps accelerate the adoption of DevSecOps methodologies among DevOps and security teams.

Respond Software

Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Mike Armistead, Co-Founder, CEO

Security sensors generate many false positives, making actionable incidents hard to identify. Respond Software created Robotic Decision Automation, which combines human judgement with the scale and depth of analysis into software.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Peter McKay, CEO

Snyk is a developer-first security company that helps organizations use open-source technology and stay secure. Snyk proactively finds and fixes vulnerabilities and license violations in open-source dependencies and container images.

Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Amit Bareket, Co-Founder, CEO

Perimeter 81 provides secure access to local network, applications and cloud infrastructures with a unified platform. By transforming hardware-based offerings into a cloud-based SaaS solution, it simplifies network security.

ReFirm Labs

Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Derick Naef, CEO

ReFirm Labs provides IoT and firmware security offerings that proactively validate and monitor IoT devices to defend connected devices and supply chain integrity. The company was founded by former NSA offensive cyberoperators.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Chandra Shekhar Pandey, Co-Founder, CEO

With a vision of delivering “comprehensive cybersecurity for the digital era,” Seceon’s fully automated platform empowers enterprises and MSSPs to detect and respond to cyberthreats in real time.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Kamal Shah, CEO

StackRox helps enterprises secure their containers and Kubernetes environments at scale. Its Kubernetes-native container platform enables security and DevOps teams to enforce security and compliance policies across the container life cycle.


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Emerging Vendors

Security continued Third Wall

Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Scott Springer, CEO

Third Wall develops a cybersecurity plug-in for ConnectWise Automate, enhancing an MSP’s ability to easily lock down a customer’s environment—automating and monitoring many difficult tasks in an easy-to-use interface.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Sameer Malhotra, CEO

TrueFort helps connect business security policy with operational reality. Fortress XDR reduces cybersecurity risks and cloud migration costs by taking an application-first, behavioral analytics and optional bring-your-own-agent approach.

Xage Security

Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Duncan Greatwood, CEO

To support the distributed nature of industrial operations, Xage’s blockchain-protected system provides authenticity, integrity and privacy across multiple parties, enabling efficient operations for oil and gas, renewables, utilities and logistics.

XM Cyber

Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Noam Erez, CEO

XM Cyber’s breach and attack simulation platform simulates, validates and remediates attackers’ paths to an organization’s critical assets 24/7. XM Cyber’s patented products address the gaps that arise in large, complex networks.


New technologies to manage, back up and protect data assets Startups are delivering new technologies to manage, back up and protect data assets.


Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Adrian Knapp, Founder, CEO

Aparavi transforms data chaos into intelligent information availability, providing control of data with knowledge and breaking down silos. Aparavi’s offering manages—and gives insight into—the state, placement and availability of data.


Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Simon Taylor, CEO

HYCU specializes in multi-cloud data backup, management, protection and recovery for on-premises and hyperconverged, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure Cloud and multi-cloud infrastructures.


Founded: 2018 Top Executive: Jiten Vaidya, Co-Founder, CEO

PlanetScale provides a MySQL-compatible transactional database built on Kubernetes that delivers scalability, manageability and reliability for mission-critical applications.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Poojan Kumar, Co-Founder, CEO

Clumio is a secure backup service that replaces the complexity of managing data across all clouds with SaaS. Regardless of where data lives—in the cloud, a hypervisor or from another SaaS offering—enterprises will have a unified view.


Founded: 2017 Top Executive: Niraj Tolia, CEO

Kasten’s K10 data management platform is purpose-built to support and manage Kubernetes environments, providing an easy-to-use, scalable and secure system for backup, restoration, disaster recovery and mobility of Kubernetes applications.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Bipul Sinha, Co-Founder, CEO

Rubrik simplifies backup and recovery across hybrid cloud environments. The vendor’s data management platform eliminates legacy complexities by consolidating disparate hardware and software components into a single software system.


Founded: 2014 Top Executive: Lior Gal, Co-Founder, CEO

Excelero delivers low-latency, distributed block storage for high-performance workloads. NVMesh storage software enables Elastic NVMe for AI training, data analytics and containers.


Founded: 2015 Top Executive: Kumar Goswami, CEO

Komprise’s mission is to radically simplify unstructured data management with one offering to analyze, migrate, archive and find data across storage infrastructure, including network-attached storage and the cloud.

Vast Data

Founded: 2016 Top Executive: Renen Hallak, Founder, CEO

Vast Data says it is redefining the economics of flash. Its technology is fast enough for demanding workloads, scalable enough to handle all of a customer’s data and affordable enough to eliminate legacy storage tiering.

Wasabi Technologies Founded: 2017 Top Executive: David Friend, Co-Founder, CEO

Wasabi delivers disruptive storage technology that it says is one-fifth the price of Amazon S3 and faster than competitors with no fees for egress or API requests. Wasabi is solely focused on storage technology.



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Hybrid IT enables digital transformation. As more customers migrate to combinations of on-premises, private and public cloud services for optimum flexibility and cost savings, opportunities for our partners are increasing. Fortunately for you, it’s never been easier to offer customer solutions with secure and scalable outcomes. To learn how Hybrid IT enables digital transformation and is paving the way for IoT, visit

C R N FA S T G R O W T H 1 5 0

A View From The Top By Rick Whiting


hile the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. recession is hurting many businesses, solution providers on the CRN Fast Growth 150 list seem well-positioned to weather the storm. When the pandemic forced many of Elevate Technology Group’s customers to shift to a workfrom-home model, for example, the solution provider—with its focus on cloud computing—was already there. “We’ve basically made [the cloud] our model of application delivery,” said CEO Geoff Turner. “We’re really playing that orchestration role in the cloud. The pandemic is what our business model was really planned for.” Elevate Technology Group, No. 9 on this year’s CRN Fast Growth 150 list, also offers a broad range of managed IT, 24/7 remote support, custom development, and IT consulting and engineering services. “Because we take so much under our wing, we’ll either ‘be’ the IT department or we’ll work with the IT department,” said Turner. The CRN Fast Growth 150 ranks solution providers, with annual sales of at least $1 million, by their average two-year revenue growth rate. The top 25 companies appear on the following page, and the full ranking is available at fastgrowth. Overall, this year’s CRN Fast Growth 150 recorded an average two-year growth rate of 101 percent—slower than the 147 percent average growth rate for the 2019 list, but better than the 83 percent average two-year growth rate for the 2018 list. The 150 companies on this year’s list collectively generated revenue of $37.80 billion compared with $55.93 billion last year and $50.59 billion the year before. (The cumulative revenue figure changes year to year depending on the mix of small and large companies.) And of the 150 companies on the 2020 ranking, 50 have never been on the list before. Converge Technology Solutions, Toronto, was No. 1 with an impressive 1,203 percent two-year growth rate. The company, in keeping with its name, is comprised of about a dozen regionally focused, hybrid IT solution providers throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. that have been acquired under the Converge Technology name—including Corus360, Northern Micro, Key Information Systems and Lighthouse Computer Services.


AHEAD, No. 15 this year, likewise has mergers and acquisitions to thank, in part, for its rapid growth. The Chicago-based provider of digital business infrastructure merged with Data Blue and Sovereign Systems in 2019 in a deal engineered by Court Square Capital Partners. In January AHEAD acquired Platform Consulting Group in a move to boost its cloud-native application capabilities and Dell Technologies expertise. For Prescriptive Data Solutions, No. 6 on this year’s Fast Growth 150 list, it’s not acquisitions that has led to its quick growth. Rather, its two-year growth rate of 356.52 percent is tied directly to its ability to respond quickly to customer issues, according to President Terry Murray. In an interview with CRN Murray explained how the solution provider does business with a recent example: In early 2020 a business was having end-user latency problems with its virtual desktop environment and was struggling to fix it. Prescriptive, which already was working with the customer in other areas, was asked to take a look. Prescriptive took ownership of the problem, brought in an experienced team and examined the system beyond the virtual desktop components, Murray told CRN. Prescriptive eventually migrated the system to a different storage device for immediate performance improvements, followed by environment updates and configuration changes that further enhanced the system’s performance. The result: The customer has since expanded the amount of business it does with Prescriptive. “When a customer calls for help, when they need us, our approach is to dive in and get the problem solved first,” he said. So while IT prowess is certainly a strength of the Allen, Texas, company, especially in IT infrastructure (on-premises, cloud and hybrid), networking and security, Murray said the speed and quality with which it responds to RFPs from prospective customers and calls for assistance from longtime customers set it apart. “It’s the customer’s ability to engage with our guys and focus on their IT problem,” Murray said. “Our guys become a part of that company’s IT team.” ■ For information on purchasing the complete list with all collected firmographic data, please contact or call 508-416-1175. Scan here to see the full list.


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2020 Fast Growth 150: THE TOP 25 Rank


Top Executive


Converge Technology Solutions

Shaun Maine, CEO


Mission Cloud Services

Simon Anderson, Founder, Chairman, CEO



ImageNet Consulting

Juan Fernandez, VP, Managed IT Services



QOS Networks

Frank Cittadino, CEO



DVBE Technology Group

Richard McKinnon, CEO



Prescriptive Data Solutions

Terry Murray, President



Onica Group

Stephen Garden, CEO



Trust Technology Solutions

Armando Binelo, President, CEO



Elevate Technology Group

Geoff Turner, CEO


10 AllCloud San Franciso

Eran Gil, CEO


Technologies 11 Nordicom Novi, Mich.

Miles Olson, CEO


Point Global 12 Single Ashburn, Va.

Gregory Browning, Principal, CEO


Ingenuity 13 Cloud Carrollton, Texas

Suzanne Kosub, Managing Partner, CEO


Security 14 BlackLake Austin, Texas

Mark Jones, CEO


15 AHEAD Chicago

Daniel Adamany, Founder, CEO


Global Solutions 16 Orion New York

Yacov Wrocherinsky, CEO


Drala Project 17 The Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Joseph Sanginario, CEO


Technologies 18 DH Leesburg, Va.

Devin Henderson, CEO


19 NexusTek Greenwood Village, Colo.

Bill Wosilius, CEO


20 Ntiva McLean, Va.

Steven Freidkin, CEO


IT Solutions 21 FedBiz Leesburg, Va.

Nina Tiaga, CEO, CFO


Steve Halligan, CEO


23 Professionals

Joe Rittenhouse, President


24 Evotek San Diego

Cesar Enciso, Founder, CEO


Solutions 25 Cybersafe Jericho, N.Y.

Ben Filingeri, CEO


Toronto, Ontario Los Angeles

Oklahoma City, Okla. Irvine, Calif.

Sacramento, Calif. Allen, Texas

Santa Monica, Calif. Cooper City, Fla. Portland, Ore.

n2grate Government Technology

22 Solutions

Greenbelt, Md.

Converged Technology Crystal Lake, Ill.

Two-Year Growth Rate



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Preparing For A Permanently Changed Solution Sale


By Robert Faletra HILE COVID-19 has delivered

an opportunity for strategic service providers adept at delivering and managing solutions that enhance work-from-home and remote capabilities, an extended virus-dominated world is real and ultimately something to be prepared for. There are essentially two new and likely environments many businesses will find themselves in, and both offer opportunity for strategic service providers. These are being driven by the highly infectious rate of this virus, which seems far higher than traditional viruses we have dealt with. Some reports claim there are at least six strains of the coronavirus, which means it may become like the seasonal flu in that a new vaccine needs to be developed annually to fight this far more highly infectious enemy. I’m no medical expert, but if this proves true we are headed toward a different environment for how businesses operate, and there are two major avenues of opportunity to meet business needs. One is a world in which we are forced to live and work differently because of the current or subsequent virus’ persistence. The other is a result of the consistent new precautions that have to be taken and the desire on the part of many businesses to permanently change their work cadence. Some businesses will decide that a dispersed workforce makes sense on a permanent basis. Others have to get on the offensive to deal differently with their business model in order to survive. In the latter case, restaurants are examples that have been particularly challenged and offer an opportunity for strategic service providers to deliver solutions. What can be automated or reimagined in the restaurant experience to increase comfort levels? OpenTable has changed its reservation system as a third-party supplier, but there is a cost to the restaurant owner. Can an enterprising strategic service provider offer a more integrated approach in which the dining party makes a reservation that prepopulates payment options, loads menus onto the


attending party’s phone and essentially automates much of the touchpoints that today require more contact? Why not reserve a table, select your cuisine and wine, and pay for the evening via a phone-based solution? Some establishments have taken a few steps in this direction, but I’ve yet to see a full solution. Strategic service providers might also offer a partnership with an HVAC supplier to install state-of-the-art HEPA air-purifying filtration systems that eliminate or drastically reduce the concern of germ transmission indoors, allowing for fewer touchpoints and better conditions. Having been in a few cigar bars with high-end HEPA filters that turn smoke-filled rooms into pleasant, breathable spaces, it seems a natural solution that melds high-tech and advanced HVAC solutions. Might a restaurant with a totally integrated solution solving these two problems be more desirable and able to return to respectable profitability? The dispersed workforce is something that is going to accelerate—virus or not. This experience has many businesses comparing real-estate costs to having more remote workers. With 5G on the near-term horizon and the speeds it will allow across huge swaths of the country and the world, bandwidth concerns and the need to be tethered to a building are going to fade and change the way we think about commercial office real estate. The ability to run large enterprise applications in the remotest of places will become necessary and commonplace. Security, desktop support, and the ability to seamlessly ship equipment and be able to set up a remote high-end office are problems that will need solving. But the upshot is there is gold in these hills, and it’s worth thinking through how to mine it. n

B A C K T A L K : Make something happen. Robert Faletra is Executive Chairman of The Channel Company. You can contact him via email at


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Profile for The Channel Company

CRN August 2020 - Issue 1396  

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