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Best data storage products 2018: Products of the Year

Last updated:February 2019

Editor's note

For the 17th year, we invited vendors to submit their best data storage products for consideration. To even the playing field for new products, we only accepted products released or significantly upgraded in the past year.

Our judges were analysts, consultants and SearchStorage editors who weighed tech innovation, ease of integration, performance, manageability, value, functionality and practicality. They graded products in five categories: backup and disaster recovery hardware, backup and DR software and services, software-defined and cloud storage, storage arrays and storage management tools.

Read on to find out which best data storage products won and why, as well as about the finalists they competed with. Kudos to this year's winners!

1Backup and disaster recovery hardware

The backup and DR hardware category includes data protection hardware, backup software integrated with hardware appliances, tape libraries and drives, backup media, disk backup targets, deduplication devices, and gateway appliances for cloud backup and replication. Any backup device that sits in a data center falls in this category. Similarly, backup software products that are sold with a physical component also fit here.

2Backup and disaster recovery software and services

Veteran data protection vendors battled more recent entrants to the market in the backup and disaster recovery software category of the 2018 Products of the Year competition. This category includes backup and recovery software; cloud backup and recovery services; and on-premises backup and disaster recovery, snapshots, replication and archiving. The cloud played an important role in top-performing products. Other key features included ransomware defense, journal-based recovery and virtual protection.

3Software-defined and cloud storage

A trio of startups tackling issues such as multi-cloud data management and storage for containerized applications took top honors in the 2018 best data storage Products of the Year competition for software-defined and cloud storage. Entries in this crowded category must run on standard server hardware. Products included software that can pool and centrally manage storage; object stores; file systems; and software powering hyper-converged systems that combine storage, compute and virtualization resources.

4Storage arrays

The 2018 best data storage products winners in our enterprise storage arrays category shine the spotlight on high-performance networked storage. Submitted entries used fixed disk, flash or a hybrid media combination -- although disk-only systems are losing dominance to flash. Products included Fibre Channel and iSCSI SAN, NAS, multiprotocol systems, converged infrastructure products, SSDs, HDDs, disk controllers and caching appliances. Unlike software-defined storage, entries must integrate software management and storage features with the storage media. Two winning vendors are SAN mainstays, and one re-engineered its flagship all-flash block array to deliver fast storage for AI at the edge.

5Storage management tools

Winners in the data storage management tools category vary from repeat entrants to companies and products new to the awards platform. Common themes among entrants include cloud connections and moving data to and from the cloud. Among the best data storage winners you will also find support for multi-platform, multi-cloud and multiple storage tiers, in addition to many other features offered by the products. All fit into one of the following subcategories: SAN management and storage resource management software, as well as third-party analytics, performance monitoring, configuration management, provisioning and data reduction products.

6'Storage' magazine unveils Products of the Year

In addition to revealing the winners of its annual 'Storage' Products of the Year competition, the February issue of 'Storage' magazine explores the most important data storage trends of 2019. Also, this issue looks at the five most important things we learned about storage in 2018. It takes a look at the trend away from all things cloud, how GDPR and ransomware are changing data protection systems, and the dangers of mass secondary data fragmentation.

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