What a difference a year makes. During 2007, virtualization transformed from an emerging hot technology to a mainstay of enterprise IT shops. And in that time, a thriving ecosystem of vendors emerged to enhance and complement those platforms.
Now SearchServerVirtualization.com is announcing the winners of its first annual Products of the Year awards, which span four categories: virtualization platforms, hardware for virtualization, systems management and data protection. Winners were selected from a pool of products announced and shipped in 2007 and were submitted by the vendors themselves or nominated by editorial and independent judges. Awards were granted based on product innovation, value, performance, reliability and ease of use.Virtualization Platforms category
The Virtualization Platforms category recognized three products that have altered the virtualization landscape this past year. For the Gold, judges selected Citrix XenServer Enterprise Edition 4.0, which began the year as an immature if promising technology and emerged as a solid, enterprise-class platform, ready to give market leader VMware ESX Server a run for its money. The Silver award went to a more established player, SWsoft's Virtuozzo, whose "evolutionary, not revolutionary" 4.0 release reaffirmed the viability of operating system virtualization as a high-performance, low-overhead approach to workload consolidation. The Bronze award recognizes VMware Assured Computing Environment 2, or ACE 2, for taking virtualization to a new market: remote, sometimes disconnected power users. Hardware for Virtualization category
Virtualization's value is that it abstracts the operating system and applications from the physical plumbing underneath. Still, some hardware platforms complement or run virtualization better than others. For the Gold, judges looked to Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Virtual Connect, an I/O virtualization product for HP BladeSystem servers that frees IT administrators from manually reconfiguring their servers' LAN and SAN settings. By granting the Silver award to Pano Logic's thin-client device, judges recognized the benefits of a truly thin-client device designed specifically for virtual desktop deployments. Meanwhile, the Bronze award resulted in a tie between Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) for their latest quad-core processors with enhanced virtualization capabilities (the Xeon 7300 and quad-core Opteron processor, respectively). In approaching the limits of Moore's Law, x86 processor vendors have recognized that innovation should focus on improved utilization enabled by virtualizing workloads rather than on speed. Systems Management category
Like all good ideas, virtualization is sometimes easier said than done. As such, judges in the systems management category went out of their way to recognize products that either made it easier to implement virtualization or to manage a virtual environment day to day.
Taking the Gold award was veteran virtualization vendor PlateSpin Ltd. for its PowerRecon 3.1, which not only makes capacity planning an art and a science, but goes a step further and helps IT managers to implement chargeback and predict future virtual machine (VM) growth. Another capacity planning product, CiRBA Data Center Intelligence 4.4 took the Silver for its deep integration with VMware VMotion and Distributed Resource Scheduler, while Veeam Software's Veeam Reporter was awarded the Bronze for its simple-to-deploy but comprehensive reporting software.
Data Protection category
Shops that implement virtualization don't want to reinvent the wheel; rather, they want to integrate virtualization into existing best practices and processes. That was the thinking that inspired judges to give the Gold award to Microsoft Systems Center Data Protection Manager 2007, rewarding its ability to provide continuous data protection of not only Virtual Server guests but also other mainstays of Microsoft IT shops like Exchange and SQL Server.
Congratulations to all the winners.
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