From VMworld 2013: Best of Breed Award Winners

At this year's VMworld 2013, Virtualization Review editors and contributors put our collective heads together for the second year in a row to pick the best and brightest companies among the hundreds of exhibitors who were demonstrating their wares. After some very subjective reasoning and deep introspection of the finalists, we quickly winnowed the list to the recipients you see in the list below.

New this year is the addition of a few categories, which you'll see below and for obvious and apparent reasons. Even then and unlike most awards, we try to keep the categories to a minimum so as to not make hunting down companies to fulfill dozens of segments our full-time job at VMworld. We're really here to establish relationships with the people we meet and the awards are a secondary priority at such an event.

Nonetheless, we like to think awarding the Best of Breed Awards has value for two very important reasons: 1. It allows us to recognize a handful of companies for their outstanding work in their fields of endeavor. 2. It gives the editors a reason to check out companies we'd otherwise ignore in an exhibit hall of this magnitude.

With that, a list of the winners:

Best Backup, Data Protection: Veeam Backup & Replication -- We looked at many of the contenders on the floor, but the choice here was unanimous. Veeam won it last year and it's because the editors agreed that the product has a maturity about it that makes it fairly uncomplicated and direct when it comes to deployment, with a proven reliability. Those are trademarks of things we'd expect from a backup tool. www.veeam.com

Best New Product: PernixData FVP -- Products under consideration here included new ones as well as beta products on the verge of release that already had customers, and who were demonstrating working products at their booths. It's another category that had a healthy list to choose from, but one editor was intrigued that this company had former VMware engineers on its executive team whose street cred includes having a hand in building ESXi. www.pernixdata.com

Best Cloud Management, CloudPhysics -- Nearly every vendor probably believes they touch upon this category. The one that intrigued us is the one that encapsulates what being a cloud company is all about, offering a slew of services by way of "cards," which are ordered and installed like smartphone-like apps. If you have a specific cloud challenge, CloudPhysics or one of its partners probably has a card for it. www.cloudphysics.com

Best IaaS: iLand -- Infrastructure as a Service isn't new technology. In fact, there are a handful of companies at the show who provide a comprehensive set of services around infrastructure that can be spun up and down on demand. It's when big players start to get into your sandbox to play that the smaller companies start to expose themselves. In some cases, that exposure can lead to notoriety, but for others, it can lead to increased recognition among peers, as seems to be the case with iLand. We expect big things from them in the coming year in the face of increasing competition. www.iland.com

Best Cloud Application: HotLink Hybrid Express -- HotLink is a repeat winner, having won here in this same category as last year. It's a solid company with a number of high-profile backers. Besides, it does have a reputation for providing ties into cloud management tools at a cost-competitive advantage. www.hotlink.com

Best Free Tool: FogLight for Virtualization Free Edition -- Another repeat winner, FogLight offers a number of highly popular tools for peeking into the performance metrics of cloud operations. Lots of products do what it does, but the advantage it has is that FogLight offers lots for free right out of the box. It's also platform agnostic, so it almost doesn't matter what you have, FogLight will be able to peer into it. www.quest.com/foglight-for-virtualization-free-edition/

Best Security Virtualization: HyTrust -- The Edward Snowden incident is just one in a long line of security breaches that has many enterprises wondering how secure data can be in the cloud. HyTrust aims to give enterprises some peace of mind by stopping up the gaps in enterprise security, especially the most important one: the system administrator. No longer will sysadmins be able to roam with the utmost privilege. This isn't meant as a knock, but really it's to protect sysadmins from themselves. www.hytrust.com

Best Storage Virtualization: Skyera -- Lots of vendors, too many to choose from. One in which a winner slowly emerged after much editorial brainpower. The winner here is a relatively new company, having been around for only a year and touting the Flash flag. The difference? Skyera believes it has solved some of the performance issues and at the same time has achieved a fairly close price-parity versus HDD-based storage. www.skyera.com

Best Desktop/VDI: Dell Desktop Virtualization Solutions -- A new category, we chose Dell here because of the company's ability to provide innovative, reliable, inexpensive and scalable products. We could be talking just about its desktop line, but the same words can describe its VDI-based DVS line, which is catching on in the enterprise. www.dell.com/learn/us/en/555/virtual-client

Best Innovation: PLUMgrid -- There's an area between physical and virtual networking services, and it seems to belong to the handful of players who are providing virtual network infrastructure products. But isn't that SDN? Not really, even though it has elements of SDN. Even then, right now there aren't very many choices for companies who right now want to spin up multi-tenant virtual networks. PLUMgrid is providing such services to its clients at a very competitive price point. www.plumgrid.com

Those are this year's winners. We look forward to nail-biting competition at next year's VMworld 2014, taking place August 24-28 in San Francisco.

About the Author

Michael Domingo is Editor in Chief of Virtualization Review. He's been an IT writer and editor for so long that he remember typing out news items in WordStar.

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