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A panel of more than 10 independent industry experts did the legwork here at VMworld 2012 this week to determine the pre-eminent technologies of the year for TechTarget's Best of VMworld 2012 awards.
The judges selected a list of finalists and winners out of 200 entries to determine the best of the best in the following categories covering cloud computing, server and desktop virtualization technologies:
Category: Business Continuity and Data Protection
Winner: FalconStor RecoverTrac 2.5, FalconStor Software
This software stood out because it offers the ability to do physical-to-virtual backups in a way that other tools don't. FalconStor's software also offers continuous data protection, the judges said.
Finalist: EMC Avamar 6.1, EMC Corp.
Finalist: Symantec NetBackup 5220, Symantec Corp.
Category: Security and Compliance for Virtualization
Winner: Layer 7 API Portal, Layer 7 Technologies
This software impressed judges because it is an innovative product that provides multi-layer security for application programming interfaces (APIs), which is important as people begin to interface with different clouds and platforms.
There were no finalists in this category.
Category: Virtualization Management
Winner: HotLink Hybrid Express, HotLink Corp.
The judges chose this tool because it gives administrators a way to manage mixed environments using vCenter -- a tool that "every admin knows how to use."
Finalist: Control Console 7.1, CiRBA Inc.
Finalist: Puppet Enterprise 2.5, Puppet Labs
Category: Hardware for Virtualization
Winner: Tintri VMstore T540 with Tintri OS 1.4, Tintri Inc.
Tintri won the hardware for virtualization category because it provides end-to-end monitoring that provides IT administrators with visibility into their environment so they know what to fix, the judges said.
Finalist: Nutanix Complete Cluster, Nutanix
Finalist: Zebi Storage Arrays, Tegile Systems Inc.
Category: Desktop Virtualization
Winner: Atlantis ILIO Diskless VDI, Atlantis Computing Inc.
This product won because it addresses the most complex and expensive elements of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments: storage.
"Atlantis's diskless VDI is one of the truly revolutionary technologies in a world full of vendors who all claim their products are revolutionary," the judges said.
Finalist: SysTrack MarketPlace, 6.1, Lakeside Software Inc.
Finalist: HP t410 All-in-One Zero Client, Hewlett-Packard Co.
Category: Private Cloud Computing Technologies
Winner: Piston Enterprise OpenStack, Version 1, Piston Cloud Computing, Inc.
Piston took the gold because it simplifies OpenStack implementations, which can be "a bit of a science project," the judges said. It basically provides an OpenStack cloud in a box.
Finalist: ManageIQ's Enterprise Virtualization Management Suite, Version 4
Finalist: Embotics V-Commander, Version 4.5, Embotics
Category: Public and Hybrid Cloud Computing Technologies
Winner: DynamicOps Cloud Suite 4.5, DynamicOpsby VMware Inc.
The judges liked that DynamicOps provides cross-cloud management with an excellent user interface.
Finalist: Skytap Cloud, Skytap Inc.
Category: New Technology
Winner: Intigua Systems Management Virtualization, 1.0, Intigua
Intigua's software virtualizes and containerizes management agents, which improves management and security. It can modify one agent and deploy it to all the virtual machines it lives on, instead of modifying each agent individually, which can be a nightmare, the judges said.
"I've never seen anything like this," one judge said.
Finalist: EqualLogic Storage Blade Array, Dell Inc.
Finalist: XtremIO Flash Array, Version 1.1, XtremIO
Category: Best of Show
Winner: HotLink Hybrid Express, HotLink
"This product really takes a step forward," the judges said.