Best data storage products 2011

The 2011 Products of the Year recognizes the best storage products in the categories of backup and DR software/services, backup hardware, networking, storage management tools, storage systems and storage system software.

2011 POY award logo

As slow moving as data storage might seem at times, there’s a remarkable amount of innovation going on at a near non-stop pace. The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com 2011 Storage Products of the Year bear that out, as vendors once again demonstrated that cutting-edge technology can effectively and practically fit into environments and make short shrift of existing problems. (Want to find out what products and technologies won last year's awards competition? Read our 2010 Products of the Year guide.)

From hundreds of product entries, our panel selected an exceptional group of 48 finalists. In turn, our 18 winners of the best data storage products were then selected from among the finalists based on innovation, performance, ease of integration, ease of use and manageability, functionality and value.

With a mix of veteran storage vendors and relative upstarts represented, it’s obvious the data storage market is as vibrant as ever, with innovation coming from expected and somewhat unexpected sources. The constant infusion of “new blood” enhances the market’s DNA and helps account for the number of products that have been singled out for accolades. Our winners represent all the hot storage industry trends, including solid-state storage, cloud storage, object storage, scale-out systems and more.

Congratulations to the best data storage products of 2011.

How the Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Products of the Year works

Storage magazine and SearchStorage.com invited enterprise data storage product companies to nominate new or enhanced products for the 2011 Products of the Year awards. 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, networking equipment, storage management tools, storage systems and storage system software.

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.

To find out the winners, just click on each of the category titles below.

UPDATE: Get the results of our 2012 Products of the Year competition.

Table of contents:

Backup and DR software and services

The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com backup and disaster recovery (DR) software and services 2011 Products of the Year category covers backup and DR software, cloud backup and recovery services, disaster recovery, snapshot and replication, electronic vaulting and archivers.

This year's category winners are a cloud backup software product, a laptop data protection product and a hypervisor-level replication product.

UPDATE: Get the winners in Storage magazine's/SearchStorage.com's 2012 backup and DR category.

Backup hardware

The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com backup hardware 2011 Products of the Year category covers tape libraries, tape drives for backup, media, disk backup targets, virtual tape libraries (VTLs), deduplication devices and gateway appliances for cloud backup.

The three top choices in this category are a VMware backup and dedupe appliance, an appliance that offers one application to manage multiple silos and data protection functions, and a scalable disk backup appliance.

UPDATE: Get the winners in Storage magazine's/SearchStorage.com's 2012 backup hardware category.

Networking equipment

The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com networking equipment 2011 Products of the Year category covers switches, host bus adapters (HBAs), network interface cards (NICs) and security devices.

Our top product choices in this category are a fabric adapter that can partition individual physical adapters into as many as 16 virtual host bus adapters or virtual network interface cards, a SAN switch that offers 16 Gbps Fibre Channel support and a wide-area network optimization system.

UPDATE: Get the winners in Storage magazine's/SearchStorage.com's 2012 networking category.

Storage management tools

The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com storage management tools 2011 Products of the Year category covers storage resource management (SRM) and storage-area network (SAN) management software, performance monitoring, configuration management and provisioning.

Our judges best-of-category selections are a performance and capacity management software product, an I/O system monitoring product, and a product that monitors storage and virtualization systems.

UPDATE: Get the winners in Storage magazine's/SearchStorage.com's 2012 storage networking tool category.

Storage systems

The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com storage systems 2011 Products of the Year category covers includes Fibre Channel (FC) and iSCSI storage-area network (SAN), network-attached storage (NAS), multiprotocol systems, direct-attached storage (DAS), hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state storage, disk controllers, caching appliances, storage virtualization appliances and cloud storage gateway appliances.

Products achieving success in this area are an iSCSI cloud storage gateway, a scale-out storage system that supports live virtual machine migration and high availability, and a scale-out network-attached storage system for SMBs.

UPDATE: Get the winners in Storage magazine's/SearchStorage.com's 2012 storage systems category.

Storage system software

The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com storage system software 2011 Products of the Year category covers file systems, volume management, storage virtualization software, security software, storage optimization applications and data reduction.

Winning selections in this area are a file-based cache product, a virtual clustered file system and volume management suite, and a caching software product that targets virtual server environments.

UPDATE: Get the winners in Storage magazine's/SearchStorage.com's 2012 storage system software category.

2011 Products of the Year finalists

It was a hard decision, but our panel of judges narrowed nearly 200 entries for the 2011 Products of the Year to 48 finalists.

Find out what products were in the running for a 2011 Products of the Year award.