We invited storage companies to nominate offerings for the 2013 Products of the Year awards, which recognize data storage products that were either initially introduced in the last year or significantly enhanced over a prior version. For previously available products, the upgrade must have incorporated significant new features. Products could be entered in six categories: backup and disaster recovery (DR) software and services, backup hardware, storage infrastructure, storage management tools, storage system software and storage systems. And as we've seen in previous years, our winners represent not only a wide range of technologies, but an eclectic mix of well-established and start-up product vendors.
Our Products of the Year competition is different from "Readers' choice" or other top product contests. We focus specifically on the past year, so a veteran product with a storied and well-regarded heritage may come up short compared to a less well-known product if the more established product wasn't appreciably upgraded during that time. So, the pursuit of a Gold, Silver or Bronze award is based largely on a "what have you done lately" perspective.
Products were judged by a panel of users, analysts, consultants, and Storage magazine and SearchStorage.com editors. Products were rated based on innovation, performance, ease of integration into environment, ease of use and manageability, functionality and value.
Below, you will find our selections for the best data storage products of 2013. To get a more in-depth description of each product and why it was chosen, please click on the related links in each section. We've also included links to the product finalists in each category, so you can read about the 52 finalists that we think are poised to help storage keep pace with today's rapidly changing data center environments.
1Products of the Year Winners-
Backup and DR software and services
Products eligible for consideration in this category include backup and recovery software, cloud backup and recovery services, DR, snapshot and replication, electronic vaulting and data archivers.
Version 7 includes built-in WAN acceleration that is said to eliminate the need for a separate general-purpose appliance to move backups offsite. By leveraging SAN hardware, Veeam can transform a storage snapshot into a regular backup that can be sent offsite and restored even if the array is offline. Continue Reading
Version 3.0 includes a new Zerto Cloud Manager component that integrates multiple cloud locations into a single management entity; a self-service portal that permits end users to manage DR, workload mobility and migration; and protection and recovery enhancements such as single VMware vCenter support. Continue Reading
Among the enhancements to version 12.2 are a recovery-based pricing model; the launch of the Asigra Recovery Tracker for data recovery analytics; cloud-to-cloud backup support for Google Apps; single-pass backup/recovery for Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint; and enhanced VDR capability. Continue Reading
2Products of the Year Winners-
Products eligible for consideration include tape libraries and drives, backup media, disk backup targets, virtual tape libraries, deduplication devices and gateway appliances for cloud backup.
A pairwise replication and pinning feature lets organizations recover to a Whitewater at a secondary site, without waiting on transmission from the cloud. Organizations can also tier and choose which backup data sets are available on the Whitewater cache for immediate recovery with the pinning feature. Continue Reading
New capabilities include secure separation of tenants with custom-scoped service-level agreements, resources and replication types; data seeding, non-disruptive application/data migration and an API for portal integration; and role-based access controls, encryption in flight and full audit logging. Continue Reading
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3Products of the Year Winners-
The category was open to switches, host bus adapters, network interface cards, security devices, converged network adapters, virtual networking and I/O products, and WAN optimization products. NOTE: Only one award was given in the category this year.
FabricCache combines QLogic's Fibre Channel adapter, intelligent caching and I/O management with a server-based PCI Express flash card. It transparently pools server-based cache, enabling application acceleration to virtualized and clustered enterprise apps without additional software or infrastructure changes. Continue Reading
4Products of the Year Winners-
Storage management tools
The category includes products that can handle storage resource management and SAN management software, performance monitoring, capacity planning, provisioning and data reduction.
Load DynamiX appliances include a Web-based GUI that lets storage managers model workloads, configure testbeds, run tests and analyze results; cloud-scale simulation that can emulate millions of IOPS, users and connections; and a reporting and analytics framework that lets users see throughput results. Continue Reading
Among ViPR's features is the ability to deploy ViPR virtual appliances on ESX clusters without installing new hardware. The product automatically discovers and registers physical storage, including the SAN. At the server level, ViPR integrates with products such as VMware, OpenStack and Hyper-V. Continue Reading
Operations Manager 4.1 maps end-to-end relationships from virtual machines to the underlying storage; examines thin provisioning in both the virtualization and storage domains to minimize the risk of application outages; and analyzes disk space allocated for snapshots to prevent overruns. Continue Reading
5Products of the Year Winners-
Storage system software
This year's winners span a wide range of technologies, such as file systems, volume management, storage virtualization software, security software, storage optimization applications, solid-state caching software and cloud storage software.
FlashSoft 3.2 includes increased scalability for large data sets and condensed metadata; multiple solid-state drive (SSD) support, including concatenated SSDs for larger cache and heterogeneous SSDs for different priority caches; and safe write-back caching capabilities with SSD mirroring. Continue Reading
Version 1.0 features include scale-out performance independent of storage capacity; a clustered platform compatible with all VMware operations; full read and write acceleration with fault tolerance that ensures protection from data loss due to host failure or unavailability; and a hypervisor-only kernel module. Continue Reading
SANsymphony-V R9.0.3 now spans both external SANs and server-side (host) virtual SANs with internal storage. Customized storage profiles, group commands and wizards have been added to set up provisioning templates. Other additions include real-time and historical charting/recording, analysis and reporting. Continue Reading
6Products of the Year Winners-
This category features a variety of products, including Fibre Channel/iSCSI SAN, network-attached storage and multiprotocol systems, DAS, hard disk drives, solid-state storage, disk controllers, caching appliances, storage virtualization appliances and cloud gateway appliances.
OneBlox is an on-premises scale-out appliance that's managed by OneSystem, a multi-tenant cloud-based management service. Real-time replication of changed deduped objects protects against failure of an entire ring or site. Each object is encrypted automatically by the AES-256 algorithm before committing to disk. Continue Reading
OmniCube is managed via the VMware vSphere client and control is provided on a per-VM basis, including visibility of inline deduplication and compression rates for each VM and associated backups. Data protection policies can be created for VM backups that define backup frequency, retention and data center location. Continue Reading
Version 4.7 includes simplified live DR testing that conducts fire drills using production data in the cloud without shutting down the primary site; a snapshot scheduler that lets users create and maintain a retention schedule based on a recurring schedule of snapshots; and improved bandwidth management. Continue Reading