No doubt about it, cloud computing is a big buzzword in 2009. The concept of accessing software thats hosted remotely (and the six other concepts that cloud refers to) is driving serious business investments from tech vendors big and small.
All three finalists received strong vote totals, with Salesforces Force.com taking the prize. Salesforce, a pioneer in software-as-a-service, is branching beyond its roots in CRM to offers its own platform for online apps; theyve dubbed this Force.com. Its a bold and impressive land grab in the emerging cloud market.
In the years ahead, Salesforce must navigate fierce competition from fellow finalists Amazons Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2 and Googles AppEngine. Google in particular looks strong as it partners with IBM in an ambition with global scope.
On a related note, go here to read about the cloud strategies of the top players.
Red Hat clearly holds top dog status in the enterprise Linux category, as this vote reflects. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 handily bested finalists Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and Ubuntu Server Edition. (For Ubuntu it was an honor to be running with these better-funded enterprise players, given that the small company is known largely for its user-friendly Linux desktop OS.)
As a sign of the times, note that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 offers improved virtualization support for larger system configurations. This virtualization push will become increasingly important in the years ahead, and should give Red Hats Linux product some muscle against competitive virtualization solutions from VMware and Microsoft. One of Red Hats acquisitions in 2008 was Qumranet, a small virtualization provider that now looks to be money well spent.
No, enterprise security isnt the sexiest area of technology, but beneath its staid exterior it is a seething hotbed of intense competition. Companies face a rising tide of IT security threats, from probes of its firewall to internal risks from employees. The desire for a reliable enterprise security package is as urgent as ever or more so.
The winner, Avocent LANDesk Security Suite, touts its multiple layers of malware protection, with anti-spyware and anti-virus tools and an agent that specializes in assessing endpoints. It is considered one of the more complete offerings on the market.
It was the tightest vote of any category: only a tiny handful of votes allowed BakBone NetVault Backup 8.1 to eke out a victory over VMware ESX Server. But VMware shouldnt feel slighted. The BakBone NetVault product touts its ability to fully protect the VMware environment so even BakBones win is a nod to the popularity of VMware. (And, at last count, VMware had somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 percent of virtualization installations.)
But the battle for market share in virtualization is still young, with only a small percent of all datacenters fully utilizing this cost saving technology. The competition is just heading up. (Virtualization, by the way, is one of the few technologies that should keep growing in a recession; it promises a leaner datacenter thats optimized for tighter budgets.)
For companies struggling with a constantly growing mountain of data and thats most companies CommVaults Simpana software touts itself as the comprehensive solution. The application handles recovery management, virtual server protection and content organization. The depth of the software enables it to serve the needs of a globally distributed enterprise.
To be sure, this is a category in which the complexity of the job network and systems management means its difficult to dub any one product or solution as the best. Companies will most likely need to mix and match solutions in an effort to handle the constantly moving target known as enterprise systems. Different applications attack this tough chore from completely different vantage points.
Finalist solution Kaseya 2008, for instance, promotes its IT automation capabilities. Avocent DSView 3 benefits from having a single, secure browser-based interface that can track everything from a VMware virtual infrastructure to a rack of Citrix virtual machines. VMLogix LabManager touts its cost savings and reliability (among other attributes) and AdRem NetCrunch 5 is a well known name in network monitoring software. If youre looking for network and systems management application, you might consider perusing each of these options before making your final choice.