InfoWorld recognizes virtualization technology in 2009

InfoWorld's Test Center staff has selected six virtualization products for InfoWorld's 2009 Technology of the Year Awards. And it looks like VMware is continuing a trend.

My hat goes off to the InfoWorld Test Center staff. These folks have always done a fantastic job of putting products to the test and then reporting their findings to the rest of us in a clear and understandable way to help us with our decision-making process.

And keeping with InfoWorld's tradition, the testing staff has completed their difficult task of announcing the winners of the 2009 Technology of the Year Awards. This year, InfoWorld selected six companies among platforms and virtualization products. I don't envy the staff -- with such a huge and interesting virtualization ecosystem out there, trying to narrow the award winners down to six products had to be an incredibly complicated process.

In case you missed the award announcements, here are the winners in the Platforms and Virtualization category:

Best HA Solution for SMBs - Stratus Technologies Avance

This one is probably what I consider a dark horse winner, but only because this product isn't as well known as some of the other award-winning technologies. Avance runs on top of a customized version of the Citrix XenServer virtualization platform, providing fault tolerance to any Windows or Linux guest running on either of two physical servers and at substantially lower cost than other high-availability solutions. In the September review of Avance, InfoWorld said that the product has "commendable ease of use, boasts an excellent price, and will satisfy most administrators looking for a way to make their virtual applications fault-tolerant."

Best Server Virtualization Platform - VMware Infrastructure 3

Not surprisingly, VMware VI3 once again took this award for the fifth consecutive year. Every major server virtualization platform is still gunning for VMware's title, so it will be interesting to see what happens throughout 2009. However, in 2008, VMware released ESX Server 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5 to further advance its lead amongst competitors. And when describing VI3, the InfoWorld Test Center staff said, "Performance and scalability improvements, along with new features such as integrated capacity planning, patch management, and live migration of virtual disks, filled important gaps and set the stage for the next big release, which we expect to mark the advent of virtualization as the rule in datacenters, not the exception."

Best Datacenter Virtualization Magic - Scalent V/OE

Scalent Systems' Virtual Operating Environment is an extremely flexible provisioning environment that makes server OS instances completely portable. Admins can quickly and easily deploy, move, clone, and repurpose server instances, while V/OE handles all the necessary changes to network, SAN, and other settings. In short, V/OE provides flexibility that is hard to imagine if you're used to a standard, physical operating environment.

Best Desktop Virtualization - VMware Workstation 6.5

Much like the award announcement for VI3, it wasn't very surprising to see VMware win the Best Desktop Virtualization Award for Workstation. Since 1999, this product has continuously improved itself and provided a test bed of technology for the VMware Server and ESX Server platforms. InfoWorld Test Center selected VMware Workstation for its performance and innovation, noting that "with each new version, VMware Workstation seemingly perfects the traditional desktop virtualization paradigm, only to raise the bar 12 to 18 months later. Workstation is truly a world-class product and a pace-setter for the entire industry."

Best Desktop Virtualization for Mac - Parallels Desktop

Whether you are a Mac or a PC user, you have to admit that desktop virtualization has really given the Mac a new lease on life. Why? With the new Intel-based Macs, users have the best of both worlds: Mac OS X and Windows. And with products like Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMware Fusion continuing to advance what virtualization can provide Mac users, more and more people are "making the switch." The Parallels and VMware camps are very vocal groups and very dedicated to their particular platform of choice. The InfoWorld Test Center staff said, "Parallels Desktop set the standard for running Windows applications alongside OS X, and although VMware Fusion closed the gap in 2008, Parallels remains unsurpassed. The recently released Version 4.0 builds on Parallels' strengths in ease of use and increases its appeal to power users with SMP and 64-bit support."

Best Cloud Platform - Amazon Web Services

Amazon jumped into the scene with its Elastic Compute Cloud technology and hasn't looked back. And the company quickly became what many believed to be the current de facto standard when thinking about the cloud. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use. InfoWorld described Amazon Web Services as being "like a techno-tinker-toy set with limitless compute, storage, and communication facilities," and added that "Programmers and architects of distributed systems will find the AWS site nothing short of a playground, and organizations with applications that require worldwide connectivity, a proof-of-concept laboratory, or substantial compute or storage facilities on an irregular basis will find EC2, S3, SQS, and SimpleDB compelling."

For more information, check out the slideshow of the InfoWorld 2009 Technology of the Year award winners in Platforms and Virtualization here.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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