In-Depth

The 2013 Virtualization Review Reader's Choice Awards

A guide to the best companies and products in the virtualization market.

It's that time of year again when I have the pleasure of welcoming you to the combined 2013 Virtualization Review Reader's Choice Awards and Ultimate Buyer's Guide issue. This is where you can check out the prodigious -- and rapidly growing -- array of virtualization and cloud products that are available to meet your specific needs.

When I say prodigious and growing, I'm talking about substantially increasing our numbers from last year, when we included 274 products from 177 companies. This year, in addition to adding four new cloud categories, we dug deep and raised the bar to 466 products and 412 companies.

In the Reader's Choice Awards (RCAs) voting results (see "Methodology,"), VMware Inc. came through with yet another strong performance, taking home six RCAs and one Preferred Product award among the 16 categories. Citrix Systems Inc. ran a strong second to VMware, winning two RCAs and six Preferred Product awards, while Cisco Systems Inc. registered two RCAs and one Preferred Product award. Microsoft garnered five Preferred Product awards, while other Preferred Product/Editor's Choice award winners include Amazon Web Services LLC, Quest Software, Symantec Corp. and Veeam Software.

Insofar as the Ultimate Buyer's Guide is concerned, as you can see from the amount of products we included, we spared no effort in our pursuit of the maximum number of products and companies that are germane to the virtualization universe. We hope you enjoy this sumptuous feast and find it as useful as it is comprehensive. I welcome your feedback with ideas on how we can make this issue even better next year. You can contact me at bhoard@1105media.com.

 
 

Application Virtualization
VMware wins the Reader's Choice Award for the third straight year in this hotly contested category that pits the market leader against Citrix and its many years of application experience baked into XenApp. Citrix does win the Preferred Product award here, while the second Preferred Product award goes to Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V), which makes a strong showing in this category for the second year in a row. Rounding things out, the Editor's Choice award goes to Symantec Workspace Virtualization, which reduces application conflicts, testing requirements and support calls while helping IT organizations improve management and control over endpoints.

RCA Winner
VMware ThinApp - VMware Inc.
Call for price - http://vmware.com

Preferred Product
Citrix XenApp 6.5 - Citrix Systems Inc.
Standalone pricing starts at $350 per concurrent user and includes one year of Subscription Advantage. XenApp is also included in XenDesktop Enterprise or Platinum - http://citrix.com

Preferred Product
Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) - Microsoft Corp.
Call for price - http://microsoft.com

Editor's Choice
Symantec Workspace Virtualization 6.1 SP8 - Symantec Corp.
$44 per node - http://symantec.com

Server Virtualization
Someplace very hot is likely to freeze over before anyone knocks VMware vSphere 5.0 off its well-earned -- and dominant -- perch in this category, from which it wins the RCA. Still, Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V, which garnered a Preferred Product award, has transitioned from a gathering storm to a major force as it rides a powerful and still-growing wave of popularity in this most venerable of virtualization markets. The second Preferred Product award goes to Citrix XenServer, a true survivor that's available via a free download. The free, open source Oracle VM gets the Editor's Choice award.

RCA Winner
vSphere 5.0 - VMware Inc.
VMware vSphere Standard starts at $995 for one processor - http://vmware.com

Preferred Product
Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V - Microsoft
See bit.ly/TpnLQ0 for licensing details - http://microsoft.com

Preferred Product
Citrix XenServer 6.0 - Citrix Systems Inc.
Pricing ranges from free to $1,000 per server for the Advanced Edition; $2,500 per server for the Enterprise Edition; and $5,000 per server for the Platinum Edition - http://citrix.com

Editor's Choice
Oracle VM - Oracle Corp.
Oracle VM has no license fee, only a support fee - http://oracle.com

Desktop Virtualization & VDI
The RCA Winner and still champion: VMware View. Citrix can't be happy about this, and is no doubt tired of being a runner-up to VMware in this category -- a category that's still trying to achieve meaningful liftoff. Citrix wins two consolation prizes in the form of Preferred Product awards for XenDesktop and VDI-in-a-Box. The Editor's Choice award goes to Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization, which only makes Dell look better and better as it continues to acquire value-adding companies.

RCA Winner
VMware View 5.1- VMware Inc.
$1,815 for VMware View 5 Enterprise Bundle: Starter kit plus basic (12x5) one-year support - http://vmware.com

Preferred Product
Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 - Citrix Systems Inc.
VDI Edition, $95 per user or device, $195 per concurrent user; Enterprise Edition, $225 per user or device; Platinum Edition, $350 per user or device - http://citrix.com

Preferred Product
Citrix VDI-in-a-Box 5.1 - Citrix Systems Inc.
Perpetual license $160; annual license $55; software maintenance $35 per year - http://citrix.com

Editor's Choice
Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization 7.6 - Quest Software, a Division of Dell Inc.
Desktop Edition starts at $99; VDI only sold per concurrent user - http://quest.com

Mobile Virtualization & Bring Your Own Device
Citrix breaks through for its first RCA win in this category with its mobility lynchpin, Citrix Receiver, a free, downloadable piece of client software that enables users to access their docs, apps and desktops from any device, including smartphones, tablets and PCs. VMware cops a Preferred Product award for Horizon Application Manager, which unifies numerous VMware and competing technologies, while Microsoft takes home the second Preferred Product award with System Center Configuration Manager. The Editor's Choice award goes to 2X Software 2X Client for RDP/Remote Desktop, which connects to home or office PCs from any desktop, laptop or mobile device.

RCA Winner
Citrix Receiver - Citrix Systems Inc.
Free with Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenApp and Citrix CloudGateway - http://citrix.com

Preferred Product
Horizon Application Manager 1.5 - VMware Inc.
$726 for Perpetual Bundle: 10-pack plus basic (12x5) one-year support - http://vmware.com

Preferred Product
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager - Microsoft
Go to bit.ly/Spa7dd for pricing and licensing details - http://microsoft.com

Editor's Choice
2X Client for RDP/Remote Desktop - 2X Software
Free - http://2x.com

Thin-Client & Zero-Client Computing
The Dell acquisitions of Wyse and Quest have dramatically expanded Dell's reach into client computing. This is directly reflected in the Dell RCA victory for the Wyse T10 product and Quest's Preferred Product award for its Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization ThinShell product, an application designed to replace the Microsoft Windows shell and provide a better logon experience for users. Teradici, best known for its PCoIP work with VMware View, takes home the second Preferred Product award for its PCoIP Zero Clients. The Editor's Choice award is captured by Devon IT DeTOS Terminal Operating System, a Linux-based OS that links multiple servers running multifarious protocols.

RCA Winner
Dell Wyse T10 1 - Dell Wyse
Starts at $299 for Ethernet; $349 with integrated wireless - http://wyse.com

Preferred Product
Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization ThinShell 2.5 - Quest Software, a Division of Dell Inc.
Free for Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization customers - http://quest.com

Preferred Product
PCoIP Zero Clients 1.7.1 - Teradici Corp.
Starts from $299 - http://teradici.com

Editor's Choice
Devon Terminal Operating System - Devon IT
Call for price - http://devonit.com

Virtualization Management & Optimization
The RCA for this capacious category is won by VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite in a repeat of last year's performance. The stately vCenter delivers integrated performance, capacity and configuration management capabilities for vSphere, physical and hybrid cloud environments. Despite its prominence, however, vCenter is feeling some heat from Preferred Product winner Microsoft System Center, which has grown significantly in stature during the past year. Cisco Systems wins the second Preferred Product award in this category via its Virtual Network Management Center product, while the Editor's Choice award is bestowed upon Veeam Software in honor of its multitasking Veeam ONE for VMware and Hyper-V.

RCA Winner
vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.0 - VMware Inc.
Standard Edition starts at $1,250 per 25-VM pack - http://vmware.com

Preferred Product
System Center 2012 - Microsoft
Open No Level (NL) License and Software Assurance two-year price for the Standard Edition is $1,323; Datacenter Edition is $3,607; more pricing information is available at bit.ly/wiQy0Y - http://microsoft.com

Preferred Product
Virtual Network Management Center 1.3 - Cisco Systems Inc.
Call for price - http://cisco.com

Editor's Choice
Veeam ONE for VMware and Hyper-V 6 - Veeam Software
$450 per socket; also available in a Free Edition - http://veeam.com

Cloud Infrastructure & Platform
In a high-profile, VMware-Microsoft matchup, VMware wins the RCA victory here with Cloud Foundry, edging out Preferred Product award winner and early Platform as a Service (PaaS) competitor Windows Azure. Citrix also wins a Preferred Product award with Citrix CloudPlatform, its "cloud orchestration system" based on Apache CloudStack. Veteran cloud provider Amazon Web Services gets the Editor's Choice nod for its long-standing Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

RCA Winner
Cloud Foundry - VMware Inc.
Call for price - http://cloudfoundry.org

Preferred Product
Windows Azure - Microsoft
See bit.ly/x3INk9 for purchase options and pricing information - http://microsoft.com

Preferred Product
Citrix CloudPlatform - Citrix Systems Inc.
Call for price - http://citrix.com

Editor's Choice
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud - Amazon Web Services LLC
Call for price - http://aws.amazon.com

Cloud Storage
RCA Winner Dropbox is getting at least as much attention for its corporate misuses as it has for its intended uses. Either way, it has made a lasting impact on IT users and IT organizations. Amazon Web Services picks up one Preferred Product award here with its user- and developer-friendly Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), while the EMC Atmos cloud delivery platform takes the other, based on its cost-efficient scaling capabilities. The Editor's Choice award goes to relative newcomer NexGen Storage for its n5 Storage System, an innovative SAN for midsize organizations.

RCA Winner
Dropbox - Dropbox
Free edition from 2GB to 18GB; Pro Edition starts at $9.99 per month for 100GB, 200GB or 500GB plans; Team Edition plans start at 1TB for five users, call for price - http://dropbox.com

Preferred Product
Amazon Simple Storage Service - Amazon Web Services LLC
Call for price - http://aws.amazon.com

Preferred Product
Atmos - EMC Corp.
Call for price - http://emc.com

Editor's Choice
n5 Storage System -  NexGen Storage Inc.
$55,000 - http://nexgenstorage.com

Cloud Security
Trend Micro SecureCloud takes home the RCA Winner in this all-important category by protecting public and private clouds -- as well as vSphere environments. It can be deployed as a hosted service or an on-premises software app. Symantec receives a Preferred Product award for its O3 Cloud Identity and Access Control product, which provides a single, secure access point to numerous cloud and Web apps and services. McAfee Cloud Security wins the second Preferred Product award by enabling businesses to extend and apply their own access and security policies into the cloud. The Editor's Choice winner here is Check Point Software Technologies and its affordable (starting at $19 per month) Check Point SMB Cloud-Managed Security Service.

RCA Winner
SecureCloud - Trend Micro Inc.
Call for price - http://trendmicro.com

Preferred Product
Symantec O3 Cloud Identity and Access Control - Symantec Corp.            
Price is based on hardware appliances or service subscriptions on a per-user schedule - http://symantec.com

Preferred Product
McAfee Cloud Security - McAfee
Call for price - http://mcafee.com

Editor's Choice
Check Point SMB Cloud-Managed Security Services - Check Point Software Technologies Inc.
Starts at $19 per month - http://checkpoint.com

Cloud Software
Chalk up another RCA win for Citrix via ShareFile, its cloud-based data storage, sharing and collaboration product that dovetails with the company's "personal cloud" mentality. Preferred Product award winner No. 1 is the IaaS Cloud Manager offering from NetIQ. Preferred Product award winner No. 2 is Fusion Tables from Google, which enables users to visualize data via various graphic means. Puppet Enterprise, from Puppet Labs, is the Editor's Choice award winner, and has collected kudos for simply managing physical, virtual and cloud-based systems.

RCA Winner
ShareFile - Citrix Systems Inc.
Call for price - http://citrix.com

Preferred Product
Cloud Manager 2 - NetIQ Corp.
Call for price - http://netiq.com

Preferred Product
Fusion Tables - Google Inc.
Call for price - http://google.com

Editor's Choice
Puppet Enterprise - Puppet Labs
Call for price - http://puppetlabs.com

Business Continuity
In a critical category such as this, you expect a company such as VMware to compete strongly, which is what it does with vCenter Site Recovery Manager, winning the RCA. It builds on vSphere Replication and requires vCenter Server to power its assortment of recovery capabilities. Always strong in this category, Veeam takes home a Preferred Product award for Veeam Backup & Replication, which is now at version 6.5. Also copping a Preferred Product award is IBM Tivoli Manager, touted by IBM for its centralized, policy-based, enterprise-class data backup and recovery prowess. Acronis earns the Editor's Choice award with its Acronis Backup & Recovery product that works with companies of all sizes.

RCA Winner
vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.0 - VMware Inc.
Standard Edition pricing starts at $195 per VM - http://vmware.com
Preferred Product
Veeam Backup & Replication 6.1 - Veeam Software
Starts at $699 per CPU socket and includes first-year maintenance; pricing is the same for VMware and Hyper-V, and customers can swap licenses between hypervisors at no charge - http://veeam.com

Preferred Product
IBM Tivoli Storage Manager - IBM Corp.
Call for price - http://ibm.com

Editor's Choice
Acronis Backup & Recovery 11 - Acronis Inc.
$1,799 per server - http://acronis.com

Virtualization Automation
Virtualization automation is something of a Holy Grail that has yet to be fully realized, but BMC VaraLogix wins the RCA for this category with its VaraLogix Q product that adds a stimulus to the DevOps movement. ManageIQ wins a Preferred Product award with EVM Automate and its multiplicitous automation features, while Reflex Systems does the same with vProfile. rPath closes out this category with the Editor's Choice award for rPath Cloud Engine, which is IaaS-to-PaaS conversion software for cloud stack vendors and services providers.

RCA Winner
VaraLogix Q - BMC VaraLogix
Call for price - http://varalogix.com

Preferred Product
EVM Automate - ManageIQ
Call for price - http://manageiq.com

Preferred Product
vProfile 3.3 - Reflex Systems LLC
Pricing is about $595 per socket - http://reflexsystems.com

Editor's Choice
rPath Cloud Engine - rPath
Call for price - http://rpath.com

JAMS - MVP Systems Software Inc.
Call for price - http://jamsscheduler.com

UC4 Automation Engine - UC4 Software
Call for price - http://uc4.com

Storage Virtualization
Storage is increasingly playing a front-and-center role in virtualization environments, and RCA Winner NetApp is carving out market share with its NetApp V-Series Open Storage Controller by enhancing the value of legacy storage systems without forklift upgrades. The venerable Brocade wins a Preferred Product award for its DCX 8510 Backbones, while Hitachi Data Systems Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) 1 takes the other Preferred Product award for its compatibility with a wide range of products. The Editor's Choice award goes to the Tintri VMstore T540 Storage Appliance and its beefed-up flash capacity.

RCA Winner
NetApp V-Series (V6200 Series/V3200 Series) Open Storage Controller - NetApp
Call for price - http://netapp.com

Preferred Product
DCX 8510 Backbones - Brocade Communications Systems Inc.
Call for price - http://brocade.com

Preferred Product
Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) 1 - Hitachi Data Systems Corp.
Starts at $232,000 for a single Hitachi Virtual Storage Director pair controller with 16 FC host ports, 48GB of cache, no disk capacity and basic OS software - http://hds.com

Editor's Choice
Tintri VMstore T540 Storage Appliance with Tintri OS 1.4 - Tintri Inc.
Up to 1,000 VMs on a single storage appliance, call for price - http://tintri.com

Network Virtualization
Networking technology is critical to future virtual, cloud-based datacenters, and it comes as no surprise that Cisco wins the RCA in this category on the technological strength of its Nexus 1000V Virtual Switches. The Citrix NetScaler SDX family of virtual appliances builds on NetScaler's well-established technical networking chops to take a Preferred Product award here, and Riverbed also wins a Preferred Product award for its Steelhead appliances that drive WAN optimization. BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager Virtual Edition from F5 Networks captures the Editor's Choice award.

RCA Winner
Nexus 1000V Virtual Switch 1.5.1a - Cisco Systems Inc.
Call for price - http://cisco.com/go/1000v

Preferred Product
Citrix NetScaler SDX - Citrix Systems Inc.
Call for price - http://citrix.com

Preferred Product
Steelhead Appliances - Riverbed Technology
Call for price - http://riverbed.com

Editor's Choice
BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager Virtual Edition 11.2 - F5 Networks Inc.
$7,995 - http://f5.com

Virtualization Security
This is a top-of-mind topic as virtualization becomes ever more pervasive. Cisco is the RCA Winner here with its Cisco Virtual Security Gateway for Nexus 1000V Series Virtual Switch, a virtual appliance that delivers security and compliance for virtual computing environments. The first Preferred Product award goes to Trend Micro Deep Security, which works in physical, virtual and cloud environments. The second Preferred Product award belongs to Symantec Endpoint Protection, which is a powerful antivirus endpoint software. Kaspersky Lab, in business since 1997, wins the Editor's Choice award for its Kaspersky Security for Virtualization product.

RCA Winner
Cisco Virtual Security Gateway 1.3.1 for Nexus 1000V Series Virtual Switch - Cisco Systems Inc.
Call for price - http://cisco.com

Preferred Product
Deep Security 8 - Trend Micro Inc.
Call for price - http://trendmicro.com

Preferred Product
Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1 - Symantec Corp.
$30.96 to $54.18 per user license with discounts for volume and multi-year purchase - http://symantec.com

Editor's Choice
Kaspersky Security for Virtualization - Kaspersky Lab ZAO
Call for price - http://kaspersky.com

Virtualization Training
The demand for virtualization training is only going up as virtualization becomes more sophisticated and integrated with cloud and other core datacenter technologies. Based on its efforts in this area, Global Knowledge Training LLC Cloud Computing Courses is the RCA Winner, followed by Preferred Product award winners TrainSignal with its VMware Video Training Library, and NetCom Learning with its Microsoft Technical Certification Training. Intense School and InfoSec Institute takes the Editor's Choice award for its IT Security Training and Certification Boot Camp.

RCA Winner
Cloud Computing Courses - Global Knowledge Training LLC
Call for price - http://globalknowledge.com

Preferred Product
VMware Video Training Library - TrainSignal Inc.
Call for price - http://trainsignal.com

Preferred Product
Microsoft Technical Certification Training - NetCom Learning
Call for price - http://netcomlearning.com

Editor's Choice
IT Security Training and Certification Boot Camp - Intense School and InfoSec Institute
Call for price - http://intenseschool.com

Hatsize 3.13 - Hatsize Corp.
Pay-as-you-Go starts at $40 per day; Reserve-and-Grow flat-fee model; subscription - http://hatsize.com

Virtualization Courses - Learn iT!
See Web site or call for price - http://learnit.com



About the Author

Bruce Hoard is the new editor of Virtualization Review. Prior to taking this post, he was founding editor of Network World and spent 20 years as a freelance writer and editor in the IT industry.

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