The best products of 2004

The most innovative and effective solutions among the nearly 300 products we tested during the year, the following 33 products are our Technology of the Year Award winners.

Hardware and Software Platforms

Best Server Hardware

Apple Xserve G5

Tightly integrated hardware/OS combo that raises the bar for other server makers Best Blade System

HP Consolidated Client Infrastructure

Combines popular management tools with unrivaled reliability and scalability Best Operating System

Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther)

Still sets the bar for simplicity and ease-of-use among 64-bit-capable OSes Best Virtual Server

VMware ESX Server 2.1.1

Enables an extraordinary array of high-availability services and management capabilities


Best Networking Hardware
Extreme Networks BlackDiamond 10808
Excellent performance paired with a powerful and flexible operating architecture

Best WAN Accelerator
Riverbed Steelhead 2000
Reduces file-transfer times via WAN links by several orders of magnitude

Zultys MX250 Enterprise Media Exchange
Not the most scalable or feature-rich, but the best truly standards-based solution we tested

Best Wireless LAN Solution
Trapeze MX-20 Mobility System
Takes the gold for polish, flexibility, granular management, and seamless roaming


Best SAN Solution
Dell/EMC AX100
Simple to set up, easy to manage, comprehensive in capabilities, and competitively priced

Best Storage Router
Brocade Silkworm Multiprotocol Router
Consolidates multiple SAN islands regardless of transport protocol

Best IP Storage Router
Stonefly Networks i3000 Storage Concentrator
Provides a safe, easy migration path from direct-attached storage to IP SANs

Best NAS Solution
NetApp FAS270C
Manageable, scalable, high-performance, close to the ideal multipurpose storage solution

Systems and Network Management

Best Systems Management Solution
Novell ZENworks 6.5 
Improves support for handhelds, reaches out to Linux

Best Network Management Solution
Rendition Networks TrueControl 3.0
Feature-rich, broad in scope, excels in change management and reporting

App Dev

Best Web Services Development Tool
Mindreef SOAPscope 3.0
Must-have testing and analysis tool for developers working with Web services

Best Java Development Tool
Agitar Agitator 1.5
Automates unit testing to the proper degree by recognizing when it needs human help

Best Application Testing Tool
RadView TestView
Powerful, sophisticated Web application testing tool accessible even to nonprogrammers.

Best Software Change Management Solution
IBM Rational ClearCase 6.0
Boasts easy setup and tight integration of development tools

Databases & Data Management

Best Database
Oracle Database 10g
Leads in innovation, packed with features that ease admin burden

Best Mobile Database
IBM DB2 Everyplace Enterprise 8.1.4
Easy to set up, straightforward to manage, and plenty of room to grow

Best Content Management Solution
CrownPeak Advantage CMS
Complete, powerful, extensible system that won't confound business users

Enterprise Apps & Integration

Best Enterprise Portal
Plumtree Enterprise Web Suite
Scores top marks in the most critical test: ease of integrating with other applications

Best CRM Application Winter '05 
Flexible, easy to use, manageable, feature-rich, and unrivaled in extensibility

Best Process Automation Solution
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004
Brilliantly executed, puts BPM in the hands of businesspeople

Best Web Services Integration Solution
Grand Central Business Services Network 4.0
Provides BPEL support that sets this Web services integration and management solution apart

Collaboration Software

Best Enterprise IM Solution
IBM Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing 3.1
Covers all the bases, including secure communication with other IM communities

Best IM Management Solution
IMlogic IM Manager 6.0
Brings flexible enforcement policies and strong security to all types of IM

Best Team Collaboration Solution
Groove Virtual Office 3.0
Full-featured, still the leader in shared workspaces


Best Firewall
SonicWall Pro 2040
Setup wizards, easy VPNs, global management, and optimization for VoIP traffic set it apart

Best Network IDS
Lancope StealthWatch 4.0
Fueled by anomaly-based detection technique that bested signature-based solutions in our tests

Best WLAN Security Product
AirDefense 4.0
Provides excellent monitoring capabilities, flags deviations from configurable policy thresholds

Best Host-Based IDS
McAfee Entercept 5.0
Combines straightforward management with effective protection of servers and desktops

Best Anti-Spam Solution
Symantec Brightmail Anti-Spam 6.0
Sets standard in filter performance by combining accuracy with minimal false positives