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Best data storage products 2016: Products of the Year

The Storage magazine 2016 Products of the Year includes winners in backup and DR software, backup hardware, storage/SAN management tools, server-based storage, all-flash storage systems and disk/hybrid storage systems.


This year marks the 15th edition of the Storage magazine and Products of the Year awards. That's 15 years of identifying the very best in data storage for our readers. As before, the Products of the Year competition began with an invitation to technology vendors to nominate their products for consideration. And, unlike other awards, we only recognize products introduced or significantly upgraded during the course of the previous year. This evens the playing field, giving new or lesser-known products and startups a fairer chance against more established brands and products.

Technological innovation is a significant factor for our judges when adjudicating the nominees, but it is by no means the only one. A product wouldn't do much to satisfy if it's hard to use and implement! So, in addition to technology, our judges graded on performance, manageability, how easily a product can be integrated and used, functionality and value. Our judging panel consisted of users, analysts and consultants, along with Storage magazine and writers and editors.

Nominated products competed in the following categories: all-flash storage systems, backup and disaster recovery software and services, backup hardware, hybrid flash storage systems, server-based storage and SAN management tools.

Of the many products nominated in these six categories, only 17 earned gold, silver or bronze awards to become Products of the Year winners. We would like to congratulate each of the 17 winners on a job well done.

Click on the links in each section below to learn more about why each of our winners made our list of best data storage products for 2016. You'll also find links to the finalists in each category. That way, you can read up on the nominees who gave our medalists the stiffest competition.

1Products of the Year winners-

Backup and DR software and services

The Backup and Disaster Recovery Software and Services category includes products that perform cloud backup and recovery services, on-premises backup and disaster recovery, snapshotting, replication and archiving. Two of the top three products are updates to major vendors’ signature offerings, while the third is a new standalone product. Convergence was a key element this year, as many products offered a variety of technologies -- for example, one product showcased backup, recovery, archiving and deduplication capabilities. Cloud DR was also a recurring theme among the 11 finalists.


GOLD: Zerto Virtual Replication 4.5

Zerto Virtual Replication 4.5 protects multi-terabyte virtual machines with high change rates. It features the new Journal File Level Recovery, giving IT greater confidence in data restoration. Continue Reading


SILVER: Veeam Availability Suite v9

Veeam Availability Suite v9 takes less than 10 minutes to install and delivers comprehensive visibility of backup infrastructure. The product includes Veeam Cloud Connect and a backup repository. Continue Reading


BRONZE: Datos IO RecoverX

Datos IO RecoverX is built for scale and performance across multiple platforms and clouds, for next-generation applications. Its base is a non-media server dependent architecture. Continue Reading


2016 Backup and DR software finalists

Learn about each of the 11 software products selected as finalists in the category. Continue Reading

2Products of the Year winners-

Backup hardware

Products eligible for backup hardware products of the year include tape libraries and drives, backup media, disk backup targets, virtual tape libraries, deduplication devices, gateway appliances for cloud backup and replication solutions. Backup hardware has become a mature market so this year’s entries included a fair amount of software enhancements and upgrades.


GOLD: Unitrends Recovery Series backup appliance Release 9.0

Unitrends added a flash tier to its Recovery Series backup appliance product line to speed performance, considered an advancement because most vendors find flash too costly for backup data. Continue Reading


SILVER: Actifio Virtual Data Pipeline 7.0

Actifio's Virtual Data Pipeline copy data virtualization technology makes data distributed, location-independent and instantly accessible. It creates a single golden copy of a company's data store. Continue Reading


BRONZE: Barracuda Backup

The latest version of Barracuda Backup offers cloud-to-cloud backup for Office 365 and an expanded Backup Export Tool to support Amazon Web Services for long-term retention. Continue Reading


2016 Backup Hardware finalists

This year's seven data backup hardware finalists for Products of the Year feature built-in new software capabilities to improve backup and recovery and are becoming cloud-compatible. Continue Reading

3Products of the Year winners-

Storage and SAN management tools

Entrants for the storage and SAN management tools category for the Storage magazine/ 2016 Products of the Year award ranged from a complete data center management suite to a tool for checking on how the network component of your NAS system is performing at any given moment. All of the products fit into one of these areas that made them eligible for consideration: SRM and SAN management software, performance monitoring, configuration management, provisioning, or data reduction.


GOLD: Virtual Instruments VirtualWisdom NAS Performance Probe

The VirtualWisdom NAS Performance Probe is a real-time performance monitoring tool for NFS traffic in a NAS system, similar to the types of real-time monitors currently used in Fibre Channel systems. Continue Reading


SILVER: Data Dynamics Inc. StorageX 7.8

Data Dynamics Inc. StorageX 7.8 upgrades the company's award winner with new features designed to protect data both at rest and in the data migration process that is the product's hallmark. Continue Reading


2016 Storage and SAN Management Tools finalists

The six finalists in the 2016 Products of the Year storage and SAN management tools category run the gamut from network probes to complete SAN control software. Continue Reading

4Products of the Year winners-

Server-based storage

VMware's Inc.'s feature-packed vSAN 6.2 product update captured the gold award in the server-based storage category.

Startup Formation Data Systems was runner-up with its innovative new FormationOne software-defined storage product. DataCore Software Corp.'s Hyper-converged Virtual SAN P2P5 update took the bronze award with high marks in functionality and performance.

Products eligible in the server-based storage category included hyper-converged appliances that combine storage, compute, networking and virtualization in one box; software-defined storage systems; software that pools and centrally manages storage capacity across servers; and storage services found in storage arrays. The storage software could be sold standalone or packaged with hardware. All of the winning products can run on commodity x86 server hardware.


GOLD: VMware vSAN 6.2

VMware's vSAN 6.2 hyper-converged infrastructure software was a major update adding anticipated features such as deduplication/compression, RAID 5/RAID 6 erasure coding, and quality of service. Continue Reading


SILVER: Formation Data Systems FormationOne

Formation Data Systems' software-defined storage tiers virtual volumes across SSDs/HDDs, supports block, file and object storage, and builds in data reduction, journaled data protection, and QoS. Continue Reading


BRONZE: DataCore Hyper-converged Virtual SAN P2P5 Update

DataCore's Hyper-converged Virtual SAN update boosted performance through optimizations to its bottleneck-reducing Parallel I/O software, an expanded high-speed cache and 32 Gbps Fibre Channel HBAs. Continue Reading


2016 Server-Based Storage finalists

2016 Products of the Year finalists revealed for category encompassing hyper-converged appliances and software-defined storage that runs on commodity server hardware. Continue Reading

5Products of the Year winners-

Storage systems: All-flash systems

The winners in our all-flash storage systems category offer storage arrays that are available only with solid-state drives (SSDs) and no mechanical drives. Finalists include a newcomer to all-flash storage, a vendor product built on Western Digital PCIe NAND flash technology, and system designed to accept only proprietary flash module drives (FMDs) rather than generic flash media.


GOLD: Nimble Storage AF-Series All Flash Array

Nimble claims AF-Series arrays provide 20% more useable capacity than competing all-flash arrays with RAID data protection and VM-level analytics. Continue Reading


SILVER: Tegile Systems IntelliFlash HD

Tegile Systems IntelliFlash HD all-flash system packages performance-optimized flash with MLC flash caching and deduplication. Continue Reading


BRONZE: Hitachi Data Systems Virtual Storage Platform VSP F800

Hitachi VSP F800 is the highest-capacity model of the VSP F all-flash array family, which support only the vendor's flash module drive device. Continue Reading


2016 All-Flash Storage Systems finalists

Our seven all-flash storage system 2016 finalists include products from flash-only vendors, as well as vendors that offer all-flash versions of existing hybrid arrays. Continue Reading

6Products of the Year winners-

Storage systems: Disk and hybrid systems

The Hybrid/All-Disk Storage Systems category is for the best storage platforms available with a mixture of hard disk drives and flash storage. These products include FC and iSCSI SAN, NAS, multi-protocol systems, converged/hyper-converged infrastructure products, DAS, hard disk drives, disk controllers, caching appliances, storage virtualization appliances, cloud-integrated storage)


GOLD: Zadara Storage Cloud

The Zadara Storage Cloud is an enterprise-grade storage cloud system where multiple tenants can run VPSA's file and block storage or ZIOS Object Storage on the same physical machines on-premises or in the cloud. Continue Reading


SILVER: Nimble Storage Adaptive Flash Arrays (CS Series)

The Nimble Adaptive Flash array combines a flash-optimized architecture with Predictive Analytics to give applications fast and reliable access to data. The CS Series is backed by the Nimble InfoSight analytics. Continue Reading


BRONZE: Avere's Cloud-Core NAS (C2N)

Avere's Cloud-Core NAS (C2N) system provides a path to cloud in one system from a single vendor, uniting the familiarity of NAS with the efficiency of object storage. Continue Reading


2016 Hard Disk/Hybrid Storage Systems finalists

The 11 finalists in the hard disk/hybrid storage systems category of the 2016 Products of the Year include cloud and arrays that don't demand all-flash drives. Continue Reading

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