For many storage managers, the goal is to do more with fewer resources across a broader range of platforms. Thankfully, improved storage technologies and products helped them achieve that goal. Hard drives gained capacity; more capacity meant fitting more storage into fewer devices, which consume less power, cooling and data center space. And even though data continues to grow at an almost uncontrollable rate, new ways to cut down on storing redundant data, such as data deduplication (single-instance storage), helped trim capacity needs. Storage virtualization products, although not new in 2006, have improved, as have remote replication and WAN optimization products that move data effortlessly from remote offices to the main data center for better protection and more centralized management.
What does it take to be a Storage Product of the Year? It starts with our judges -- your peers -- who gauge each nomination on six key criteria: ease of integration, functionality, innovation, manageability, performance and value. Top-scoring products must then pass another hurdle: practicality and importance. By considering how well a product solves real problems and weighing its long-term impact on the storage industry, the "wow factor" is eliminated, leaving us with the top three products in each category.
Congratulations to all of this year's winners!
Only the top three products in each catagory recieve awards, but we'd also like to recognize this year's finalists. Check out all of the 2006 Product of the Year finalists here.