And the winners are ...

 
 
By Debra Donston  |  Posted 2008-06-09
 
 
 

eWEEK Excellence Awards Honorees Reflect New IT Computing Trends, Challenges


The job of selecting and buying technology has never been easy, but it's only getting harder as the development pace quickens, the deployment and platform options grow, and the stakes get higher.

The goal of the eWeek Excellence Awards program, now in its eighth year, is to make that job a little bit easier by pointing IT buyers to the most promising new enterprise products and technologies.

The eighth annual eWeek Excellence Awards program was open to any enterprise-focused product announced in 2007 and made available before March 31, 2008. Vendors could enter as many products and services as they wished, and were charged $50 per entry. (Proceeds from the entry fees are being donated to Boys & Girls Clubs of America clubhouses.)

eWEEK editors judged the entries on:

  • Innovation
  • Practical integration of emerging technologies
  • Suitability to task
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Potential for helping companies create business efficiencies
  • Manageability
  • Potential for helping companies develop competitive advantage
  • Securability

When the Excellence Awards program started eight years ago, internal servers-l;often with one application per server-predominated, Web services were mostly uncharted territory and open platforms were pretty much unheard of in the enterprise.

Of course, eight years is several generations in IT time, and the products that were entered in this year's program show how much things have changed: Many of the products enable and/or support server virtualization, and many are delivered via the Web and in the open-source model.

The finalists and winners in the eighth annual eWeek Excellence Awards program are leading in these new directions, as well as meeting the new management and security challenges cropping up along the way.

And the winners are ...


Security

WINNER

Lumension Security's Sanctuary 4.2

IT security can take many forms-from proactive measures that look for holes and vulnerabilities to defensive tools that seek to block attacks and identify viruses and worms before they can run. But the security strategy that many experts now see as the best option for protecting corporate systems is the lock-down approach-where no code or application can run that hasn't been given explicit permission to run. This is the approach that is taken by Lumension Security's Sanctuary 4.2. Sanctuary is a deep and powerful endpoint protection solution that utilizes whitelists and strong lock-down controls to ensure only IT-sanctioned apps are running on employee computers.

FINALISTS

Infrastructure Hardware

WINNER

Sun Microsystems' Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120

Sun's T5120 is a one-rack, general-purpose server that enables the next generation of virtualization technologies. Sun based the SPARC T5120 on the 64-thread UltraSPARC T2 processor, and in the process provides a system that is both powerful and power-efficient. The T5120 leverages Sun's work in server manageability and reliability to earn our top marks as a server platform that will support computing workloads for years to come, without forcing IT pros to compromise on performance. In addition to virtualization technologies including Solaris Containers and Logical Domains, the T5120 comes with on-chip integrated cryptographic accelerators to handle the security needs of the future. Speaking of future-proofing, Sun equipped the T5120 with 10 Gigabit Ethernet network cards, to ensure that high-capacity workloads don't slow down in the data center infrastructure.

FINALISTS

Infrastructure Software

WINNER

Marathon Technologies' everRun VM

If infrastructure is the heart of the network, then infrastructure software is the brains. Marathon software helps to make these brains that much smarter with everRun VM, a product with the potential to solve many of the problems found in today's complex networks. everRun VM combines server virtualization with high availability, leveraging Citrix XenServer Enterprise Edition. With everRun VM, enterprises now have a fault-tolerant virtual-server solution that can provide continuous access to network services and reduce operating costs, yet is designed to be easy to implement and manage.

FINALISTS

Mobile & Wireless

WINNER

Zenprise's Zenprise for BlackBerry

The increased mobility afforded the enterprise worker by the Research in Motion BlackBerry messaging system may be great for end user productivity, but enabling this mobility can be incredibly taxing on IT resources. Systemwide BlackBerry outages may garner the headlines, but other problems can and will arise within the maze of applications, servers and connections that make up a single company's BlackBberry deployment-leaving your IT staff to try and sort out the issues. Into the breach steps the winner in the Mobile & Wireless category-Zenprise for BlackBerry-which pulls together insight into all the moving parts of a BlackBerry transaction. Zenprise for BlackBerry provides visibility into a company's own Microsoft Active Directory and Exchange deployments; RIM and carrier networks; and individual device configuration and status. The system correlates all this information to offer prescriptive advice on where and what problems exist-and how to go about fixing them.

FINALISTS

Networking

WINNER

Netuitive's Netuitive Service Analyzer 2.0

As networks become increasingly complex and the costs associated with downtime and power rise, the job of making sense of and optimizing system behavior is getting more challenging. Netutive Service Analyzer dynamically "self-learns" the relationships among heterogeneous system components and how they affect each other, and can then pinpoint and even prevent problems before they happen. The automatic nature of the product relieves IT managers from having to set thresholds and create rules, significantly reducing the potential for false-positives. A large retailer is using Netuitive Service Analyzer to gain visibility into 7,500 services across 275,000 system elements, and has seen an increase in staff efficiencies, a reduction in operational costs and dramatically faster mean time to resolution.

FINALISTS

Business Applications

WINNER

Salesforce.com's Salesforce 08

Salesforce.com continues to set the pace in the merger of robust business applications, the creation of a developer network and the ability to make cloud computing a true business partner rather than a fancy marketing term. The company continues to address the biggest impediments to developing business applications-time, maintenance and upgrade cycles-by offering a hosted, service-based model. Dell turned to Salesforce.com when it needed to deploy a robust customer interaction platform between its employees and nearly 3 million customers. The result, Dell IdeaStorm, provided a way to turn customer service into new-product development. The 8.0 version of Salesforce.com includes more than 50 new features and melds best-of-breed Web 2.0 attributes with customization capabilities to create a business application platform that continues to be the leading model for the industry. The company's "end of software" mantra gives rise to a new, modern method of developing and deploying business applications.

FINALISTS

Storage Software

WINNER

CommVault's Simpana Software Suite

CommVault Simpana 7.0 has every feature a company of virtually any size needs to institute a full-fledged enterprise storage system. Simpana uses a single code set and common services (designed in-house) to perform all the necessary functions of a top-notch storage system: backup, recovery, replication, archiving, search and retrieval. Thanks to its lean code base, CommVault's Common Technology Engine-the heart of the system-delivers optimized data movement, the scalability to support changing business requirements, and a high level of protection and security. And, because it is disk-based, the suite sports high data availability and speedy data recovery. Simpana features enterprise-wide search and discovery, single-instance storage (a form of de-duplication), high-performance content indexing, data classification, encryption and post-processing for encryption, and content indexing. The product's use of a single index allows data to be virtualized into one repository for rapid search according to parameters such as time, date and application.

FINALISTS

Storage Hardware

WINNER

Gear6's Gear6 CACHEfx Scalable Caching Appliance/Reflex OS Version 1.5

The CACHEfx Scalable Caching Appliance brings the innovation of providing massive in-line cache for network storage. As a result, a network with CACHEfx can operate at performance levels far beyond what they'd reach without caching. The scalability of the appliance means that storage networks with multiple terabytes of capacity can operate at very low latency. The appliance works by accepting storage and serving requests into high speed memory, and maintaining needed files, data sets and even entire databases in cache. The CACHEfx appliance helps companies solve problems with disk I/O, over provisioned networks, low server utilization and bottlenecks. The appliance accomplishes this by keeping highly utilized data in cache while moving the data to disk storage at a rate that prevents bottlenecks, uses storage at or near maximum efficiency, and improving application performance. The CACHEfx operates on gigabit and 10-gigabit networks.

FINALISTS

Desktops & Notebooks

WINNER

Fujitsu LifeBook U810 Mini Notebook

Remote workers are loathe to lug around their laptops, but their smart phones still don't have quite the computing capability most road warriors need. Enter the Ultramobile PC form factor, an idea that makes sense but that hasn't quite delivered in terms of power and usability. The Fujitsu LifeBook U810 Mini Notebook hasn't hit that sweet spot, but it gets the computing platform a lot closer. Weighing just 1.56 pounds, the system has a a 5.6-inch display and an actual QWERTY keyboard. And, with a twist of the screen, the LifeBook U810 can be used as a Tablet PC with pen or finger input. The device has built-in WLAN, Bluetooth and Ethernet capabilities, and it comes pre-installed with 1G of system memory and either Windows Vista or XP Tablet PC Edition. It is based on Intel's power-efficient A110 processor, and Fujitsu claims that the U810 delivers as much as 5.5 hours of battery life. The device is not cheap-priced at $999 with Vista Home Premium-and it requires tradeoffs that many users aren't ready to make. But, for advancing the UMPC market, we award the LifeBook U810 our Excellence Award in the category of Desktops & Notebooks.

FINALISTS

Productivity Apps

WINNER

Wrike's Wrike

Wrike combines the flexibility and spontaneity of collaborative software with the ease of use and structural rigor of traditional e-mail to help organizations manage projects efficiently while allowing a maximum number of team members to contribute to a project's successful completion. The hub of the application is Wrike's Intelligent E-mail Engine, which integrates with any e-mail clients, including Outlook, BlackBerry and other Web-based and mobile e-mail software. Users add tasks to a given project using their e-mail clients, and the application merges and organizes the e-mails into plans that are easy for various members of the organization to visualize. The application helps organizations not only manage cumbersome e-mail that would otherwise have to be manually collected to be useful, but also surfaces information buried in e-mail and organizes it into meaningful project plans. In addition to allowing users to contribute and update project plans, it gives executives real-time visibility into project status. The SAAS-based application suite costs $3.99 per user per month, making it cost-effective for any size organization.

FINALISTS

Collaboration

WINNER

Azaleos' OneStop Services for Microsoft Exchange

It makes a lot of sense for organizations to turn to hosted providers for key IT services such as e-mail. Unless you're in the business of maintaining an e-mail server infrastructure (and most firms are not), you should take a hard look at delegating those chores to a firm that does specialize in them. However, the remote nature of SAAS can present particular challenges, such as performance issues stemming from excessive latency on your Internet connection and regulatory challenges associated with storing your vital data outside of your firewall. Enter this year's Excellence Awards winner in the Collaboration category, Azaleos' OneStop Services, which offers a beneficial mixture of SAAS and on-premises virtues by enabling organizations to deploy Exchange e-mail in the form of a hardware appliance that lives on your premises, but that is remotely managed-and backed up-by Azaleos.

FINALISTS

Application Development

WINNER

BT's Web21CSDK

As mobile operators around the globe cautiously add infrastructure based on IP, it's getting much easier to mash phone services into Web applications and traditional desktop applications alike-if you have a deep understanding of SOAP, SAML, X.509 and a half-dozen other low-level protocols. Recognizing that more developers means greater service utilization, BT (formerly British Telecom) is offering higher-level .NET, Java, PHP and Python function libraries aimed at enabling users do text messaging, voice calling and conference calling from within their applications. The tools exploit BT's global 21CN network, and can be tested freely for 30 days in a sandbox, after which purely usage-based rates apply. After decades of tightly controlling the applications allowed to interact with their enormous private networks, it's great to see telco operators like BT opening up more, as innovation is sure to follow.

FINALISTS

Best in Show? Its your turn to vote.


eWEEK Best in Show

eWEEK Editors have made their picks for the best of the best in each of the Excellence Awards categories. Now it's your turn to vote for the product that you think will have the biggest positive impact on business moving forward. We'll keep the voting open through end of day (ET) June 11, and let you know the results at the end of the week.

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