Data storage systems: 2012 Products of the Year finalists

We reveal the 52 enterprise data storage systems finalists in six categories that stood out in the Storage magazine/ SearchStorage.com 2012 Products of the Year competition.

Fifty-two enterprise data storage systems products in six categories stood out among the hundreds of entries for the 2012 Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Products of the Year because they demonstrated technical innovation and offered solid value. The products provide practical functionality while performing well, and can integrate relatively easily with existing data storage infrastructures. And to top it all off, each product is notable for its ease of use and manageability.

It's not easy for data storage systems to excel based on such demanding and diverse criteria under any circumstances, but emerging as a finalist for the 2012 Products of the Year awards is a particularly noteworthy achievement after a year that featured dramatic strides in storage technologies and practices related to cloud services, flash storage, virtual server and desktop environments, data protection and a rethinking of traditional storage array architectures. For a product to distinguish itself in such an active environment is no small feat.

As in the past, our Products of the Year finalists represent all constituencies of the data storage market, with approximately one-third of them among the ranks of storage newcomers/startups and the rest representing firmly establish storage software and hardware companies. First-timers Maginatics, Tegile, Tintri, VeloBit and Virsto, for example, are joined by IT icons Dell, EMC, IBM, Symantec and other familiar names.

Regardless of their maturity in the market, our data storage systems finalists share one common trait: they're solutions to problems that exist -- and need attention -- today. Finalists in the backup and disaster recovery (DR) software and services category, for example, deal with issues such as integrating on-premises backup with cloud backup services and backing up virtual server and virtual desktop data. Similarly, our storage systems finalists are in the vanguard of such new technologies as hybrid and all-flash arrays, and storage designed specifically for virtualized environments. Software to manage these new complex environments is also well represented, as are products that will help make the idea of software-defined storage a reality.

Congratulations to all our finalists. Click on the 2012 Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Products of the Year categories listed below to read about the product finalists in each group.

UPDATE: The 2012 Products of the Year awards have been finalized. Check out our guide to the best storage products of 2012 to get a listing of all the category winners.

Table of contents:

Backup and disaster recovery software and services Products of the Year 2012 finalists

The backup and disaster recovery software and services category includes backup and recovery software, cloud backup and recovery services, DR, snapshot and replication, electronic vaulting and archivers. Find out which 12 products are among our finalists.

Backup hardware Products of the Year 2012 finalists

There are eight finalists in the backup hardware category. Among the products eligible for this category are tape libraries, tape drives, backup media, disk backup targets, virtual tape libraries, deduplication devices and gateway appliances for cloud backup.

Networking equipment Products of the Year 2012 finalists

The networking equipment category covers switches, host bus adapters, network interface cards, security devices, converged network adapters and virtual I/O products. Which two finalists made the cut?

Storage management tools Products of the Year 2012 finalists

Four finalists were chosen in the storage management tools category, which covers storage resource management and SAN management software, performance monitoring, configuration management and provisioning.

Storage systems Products of the Year 2012 finalists

We chose 15 finalists in the storage systems category, which covers Fibre Channel and iSCSI SANs, network-attached storage, multiprotocol systems, direct-attached storage, hard disk drives, solid-state storage, disk controllers, caching appliances, storage virtualization appliances and cloud storage gateway appliances.

Storage system software Products of the Year 2012 finalists

The storage system software category covers file systems, volume management, storage virtualization software, security software, storage optimization applications and data reduction. We narrowed the field to 11 finalists; is your product among them?