eWEEK Labs Picks Best and Worst of 2001
eWEEK Labs analysts give their picks for the best, worst and most notorious of 2001 and their look ahead to 2002.End-of-year stories were never easier nor more difficult to write, as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 both frame and overshadow everything that happened this year. Indeed, in eWEEK Labs wrap-up of the year that was, security issues figure heavily on just about every analysts list-whether named as the top tech story of the year or bemoaned as the latest vendor marketing tool. Microsoft products-namely IIS and Outlook-have the dubious distinction of appearing on several analysts lists for their continuing role as gaping holes for Internet viruses and worms. Wireless LAN technology also made it to many lists but in a much more positive light, as eWEEK Labs looks for 802.11b- and a-based networks to proliferate in the year and years ahead. Without further ado, here are eWEEK Labs analysts picks for the best, worst and most notorious of 2001 and their look ahead to 2002. -Debra Donston
With its innovative use of memory caching, Red Hats Tux 2.0 Web server surpassed previous performance marks in static Web serving. In the near future, Microsofts IIS will be using similar techniques.
Speaking of IIS, the Microsoft server almost single-handedly made Web site and server security the No. 1 headache of IT managers.
FalconStors IPStor 1.0 sets the bar high for storage virtualization products and is-finally-giving IT managers a single point of storage management. Slipping Off the Radar
With Covad, Ricochet and @Home joining the dot-bomb list, freedom of choice in broadband seems to be disappearing. Years Biggest Tech Story
Security was extremely important, but-for unfortunate reasons-disaster recovery and business continuity took center stage this year. What to Watch in 2002
10 Gigabit Ethernet will have significant repercussions, eventually replacing current networking backbone technologies and altering the way SANs are constructed. Level of Prescience Last Year
I said waiting for universal Fibre Channel interoperability was a lost cause. Well, interoperability is still not great, and the emergence of 2G-bps and 10G-bps Fibre Channel will make things difficult in the future.
The year 2001 saw a dramatic drop in the price of 802.11b wireless networking gear, encouraging wider WLAN deployment in homes, small businesses and departments in large organizations. Biggest Disappointment
The perhaps inevitable failure and liquidation of Be sounded the death knell for its engaging operating system. With BeOS gone for good, the desktop computing world is a poorer place. Most Useful
Microsofts use of Terminal Services in Windows XP enabled remote desktop and fast user switching functions. Slipping Off the Radar
Internet appliances. Did anyone ever want one of these, anyway? Expect the same fate for the Tablet PC. Years Biggest Tech Story
A weak technology market put the squeeze on IT vendors, weeding out some of the weakest tech-world links. What to Watch in 2002
The KDE 3.0 and GNOME 2.0 desktop environments for Linux and the various Unixes should bring major improvements and provide companies with solid alternatives to Windows on the desktop. Level of Prescience Last Year
I named Compaqs iPaq the most impressive product of 2000, and Microsoft subsequently directed Pocket PC OEMs to cast 2002 devices in the iPaqs image. My expectations for Bluetooth have yet to "PAN" out, but Im bullish on Bluetooth for 2002.
Lancopes StealthWatch G1 intrusion detection appliance redefines the way corporations use intrusion detection systems. Using StealthWatch, network intrusion attempts can be analyzed instead of being just another blip on the radar. Biggest Disappointment
UVNetworks WebBox 1000 provides an easy-to-use and relatively inexpensive Solaris appliance solution. In our tests, however, a comparably priced Wintel system was 50 percent faster than the WebBox-dulling any WebBox edge. Most Useful
Finisars SANQoS is an easy-to-use tool that allows SAN architects to see and diagnose problematic SAN segments on the fly. Slipping Off the Radar
Software-based firewall products are being phased out by more robust and easy-to-implement firewall/VPN appliances. Years Biggest Tech Story
Security was far and away the most challenging task for IT managers this year. What to Watch in 2002
With Infiniband and 10 Gigabit Ethernet coming onto the scene, there are now more (and more compelling) reasons to implement ultradense servers besides conserving space and energy. Level of Prescience Last Year
Last year, I said that true and practical wireless interoperability is far away. 802.11b interoperability has improved dramatically this year, but now everyone is looking for a standard way to secure wireless networks.
Borlands Delphi 6-if you want to develop Web services applications, why wait for Microsoft or Sun to provide the tools? Biggest Disappointment
Post-9/11 security hysteria racked up real costs while providing only an illusion of greater safety. Most Useful
www.onebox.com gives me integrated, Web-based e-mail/fax to function as my emergency connectivity solution from anything that runs a Web browser. Slipping Off the Radar
Im not glad to see legacy I/O ports go, but the RS-232 (serial) and the Centronics-compatible (parallel) port finally seem to be past the tipover point of costing more to keep than to leave behind. Years Biggest Tech Story
Devastating comfortable notions of how to succeed in high tech was the shift in focus from the PC upgrade path to Web services and their deployment to diverse clients. What to Watch in 2002
Enjoy wireless Internet access ubiquity, with an expanding public wireless infrastructure of 802.11 networks in public spaces, corporate campuses and homes. Level of Prescience Last Year
No apologies. I slammed Intel for disappointing Pentium III performance and an unimpressive 64-bit strategy; the P4 likewise proved underwhelming, and the Itanium turned out to be an IA-64 trial balloon that Compaq found hard to get out the door.
When we ran our benchmarks in June, Red Hats Tux on Linux 2.4 was the fastest Web server we had ever tested. Even more impressive was how much plain, old Apaches speed improved under Linux 2.4 vs. 2.2-more than twice as fast on half the CPUs. Biggest Disappointment
I simply cant understand why the DOJ would settle for so little after so much effort and time and after successfully proving its case against Microsoft. I think much stronger remedies are needed to bring back real choice in the desktop OS space. Most Useful
Three things tie for tops: www.incidents.org for breaking security news, Remote Desktop (Terminal Server) support in Windows XP and 802.11b networking. Slipping Off the Radar
WAP phones and Palm PDAs are slipping off the radar, and I have my doubts about RIM. These devices are, respectively, too infuriating to use, too underpowered and too specialized. Years Biggest Tech Story
Topping my list is the firestorm of IIS worms that swept through the Internet this year. Code Red, Nimda and variants set a new high in terms of sheer extra work and pain. What to Watch in 2002
Wireless-enabled PDAs running Windows CE and Linux are the future in mobile computing. Web services based on SOAP and XML define new ways for data access. Combine for something really hot. Level of Prescience Last Year
My riskiest prediction was naming ClickNet Softwares kernel-level application firewall 2000s most promising technology. This fall I compared ClickNets Entercept with five other approaches to securing IIS servers, and Entercept came out on top.
Argus Systems PitBull made it through eWeeks Openhack challenge unscathed. Even though it finally succumbed in another hacker competition, PitBulls trusted OS approach proved itself one of the best ways to secure crucial systems. Biggest Disappointment
Its a tie between two products that just happen to come from Microsoft: IIS and Outlook, both of which provided the gaping holes that make most worms and viruses so damaging. Most Useful
Tom Listons LaBrea gave me more satisfaction than any product Ive used in a long time by finally making it possible to fight back against worms. Slipping Off the Radar
With failing companies and falling mindshare, PKI is hitting the bad news trifecta: too complex, too expensive and not easily justified in terms of productivity. Years Biggest Tech Story
Security in all its forms was the main story of the year, from protecting systems against hackers, viruses and worms to protecting human assets in a changing world. What to Watch in 2002
Web services wont be big in the way Microsoft thinks they will, but many business are already leveraging XML and other open standards to integrate applications and data across the Web. Level of Prescience Last Year
I was right in predicting the unimportance of WAP and that the first version of Netscape 6 would bomb. I thought this might be the year for RDF to see adoption, but most companies are still trying to figure out how to deal with XML schema.
The Nokia IP740 firewall platform is speedy, reliable and up to the task of securing enterprise environments. Biggest Disappointment
Its a shame that organizations are continuing to use "spy-on-your-neighbor" monitoring systems when its clear that viruses and worms are causing the biggest productivity problems. Most Useful
The www.sans.org security reading room is chock-full of useful, homespun write-ups on everything from authentication to wireless access. Slipping Off the Radar
Enterprise network management frameworks officially died this year with CA breaking up Unicenter into pieces. The Unicenter name lives on, however. Years Biggest Tech Story
Big, brash WebVan sank beneath the waves, signaling the end of the dot-com robber barons. Bad business decisions not bad technology was the culprit. What to Watch in 2002
Its true that security will be the technology to watch next year (and the year after that and the year after that, for that matter), but IT managers will also have to watch for companies exploiting heightened fear. Level of Prescience Last Year
I scored a hit in predicting that centralized management would take center stage in products such as Microsoft Operations Manager. I also predicted the importance of directory- enabled networks, which have yet to prove me right.
Oracle 9i Real Application Clusters delivers advanced performance and failover clustering on low-cost hardware. This will change the way databases are deployed and put some lines in the faces of people selling big SMP systems. Biggest Disappointment
There are a lot of good things going for the HP-Compaq merger, but theyve been obscured by a disastrous public relations campaign and terrible mishandling of employee relations. Most Useful
802.11b-based wireless LANs have solved computing problems at home, at work and on the road. Slipping Off the Radar
Outsourced CRM and managed storage will come back, but theyre simply not at the top of companies trouble lists in bad economic times. Years Biggest Tech Story
Web services are by no means a panacea for solving every tech problem, but they will alter the way applications are developed for the Web. What to Watch in 2002
Watch security solutions and services (specifically biometrics) and the reaction theyll get from a public that is unused to being watched, scanned and documented every step of the way. Level of Prescience Last Year
I said Blue Martini was the most impressive application of 2000-and it was, at least for its price and because it pushed analytics into the CRM space. But I also said that Rambus was the most promising new technology. I dont know what I was thinking.