In-Depth

2010 Redmond Magazine Readers Choice Awards

After the Triple Crown in 2008 and the Grand Slam in 2009, Redmond introduces another level of prestige for exceptional Readers Choice winners: the Five-Star Award.

The Triple Crown wasn't enough. Neither was the Grand Slam. Some products so dominate the Readers Choice Awards year in and year out that they deserve their own elite status, their own mark of excellence. They deserve five stars.

This year, Redmond is expanding its Readers Choice Awards designations once again to honor products that have achieved a half-decade of dominance in their respective categories. The Five-Star Award is reserved for offerings that repeatedly earn the respect and admiration of readers. In order to win a Five-Star Award, a product must win a category for five consecutive years.

In years past, we awarded Triple Crowns and Grand Slams only to outright category winners. This year, though, we've expanded those awards, along with the Five-Star Award, to include ISV Winners. An ISV Winner is the highest-placing non-Microsoft product in a category won by a Microsoft offering. (An ISV product that wins outright is simply a winner and is not labeled as an ISV Winner.)

Microsoft so dominates the Readers Choice Awards that we're seeking to honor those products and vendors that don't have the built-in advantage of coming out of the big campus in the Pacific Northwest. So, there are Five-Star Award winners that lost to Microsoft in their respective categories but still took home the big prize. And in one category, there are even two Five-Star winners.

It's not easy to win a category five years in a row, even as an ISV Winner. But these products, like legendary generals and the world's greatest hotels, are in a stratosphere all their own.

NETWORK AND SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT
Best Network Management Product
39 products in category

Cisco Systems LAN Management Solution, 13 percent, Winner

SolarWinds Network Management Software, 12.3 percent, Preferred Product
Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), 8.4 percent, Preferred Product

Cisco Systems LAN Management leapfrogged SolarWinds for the win, as SolarWinds earned a second consecutive Preferred Product honor. But perhaps the biggest surprise was Microsoft SCOM, last year's winner, dropping all the way to third place and Preferred Product status.

Best Application Management Product
43 products in category
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 16 percent, Winner

Citrix XenApp, 11 percent, ISV Winner and Preferred Product Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, 9.3 percent, Preferred Product

It's a second win in a row for Microsoft SCOM, which entered the survey for the first time last year and promptly won the category. Citrix XenApp knocked out Novell ZenWorks as ISV Winner, while another Microsoft product was the final honoree.

Best Performance Management Product
35 products in category
SolarWinds Orion Network Performance Manager, 11.7 percent, Winner
Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, 10 percent, Preferred Product
Microsoft System Center Essentials, 8.6 percent, Preferred Product

Finally, SolarWinds topples SCOM from the top rank in the Performance Management category. SCOM won a Grand Slam -- four consecutive category wins -- last year, but failed to get five stars as Orion Network Performance Manager just beat the Microsoft product to the tape this year. System Center Essentials checks in as a Preferred Product.

Best General Network Monitoring Tool
60 products in category
Cisco System Syslog Analyzer, 12.8 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 10.7 percent, Preferred Product
HP OpenView Operations for Windows, 8.9 percent, Preferred Product

Once again, Cisco Syslog Analyzer takes this category over a Microsoft product, but this time's it's SCCM, rather than SCOM, jumping into second place. Syslog Analyzer has been either winner or ISV Winner of this category three years running, so it earns a Five-Star Award honor. HP OpenView Operations for Windows offering finished strong again this year in the Preferred Product category.

Best Interoperability Product
9 products in category
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, 50.9 percent, Winner
McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator, 18.3 percent, Preferred Product and ISV Winner
MKS Toolkit, 7.7 percent, Preferred Product
Quest Authentication Services, 7.7 percent, Preferred Product
Veeam nworks Management Pack for VMware for SCOM, 7.7 percent, Preferred Product

SCVMM devoured this category in 2010 just as it did in 2009. It'll be up for a Triple Crown in 2011. McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator finished strong and repeated as ISV Winner, but the real story here is a tie for third among three products in a nine-product category. MKS Toolkit, which won a Triple Crown in 2008, slipped into a dead heat this year with Quest Authentication Services and a product from Veeam Software.

Best Bandwidth/Traffic Monitoring Product
10 products in category
Barracuda Web Filter, 24.6 percent, Winner

Citrix Branch Repeater, 17.3 percent, Preferred Product
Lightspeed Systems Total Traffic Control, 14.7 percent, Preferred Product
ScriptLogic Perspective, 12.6 percent, Preferred Product

One-time Triple Crown candidate Lightspeed Systems Total Traffic Control takes Preferred Product status once again, but it's Barracuda Web Filter that wins for the second year in a row. Citrix Systems Inc. and ScriptLogic Corp. also had strong finishes in this category.

Best Web Usage Monitor
18 products in category
Websense Enterprise, 20.3 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Barracuda Web Application Firewall, 10 percent, Preferred Product
Barracuda Web Filter, 9 percent, Preferred Product
GFI Web Monitor, 8.5 percent, Preferred Product

Websense Enterprise won this category for the fifth consecutive time and earned a Five-Star Award. Barracuda Networks had another good showing here, and GFI Software cracked the Preferred Product list with Web Monitor.

Best Asset Management/Resource Inventory Product
26 products in category
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 20.8 percent, Winner
Microsoft System Center Essentials, 16.8 percent, Preferred Product
Novell Asset Manager, 6.6 percent, Preferred Product and ISV Winner
ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 5.5 percent, Preferred Product
Symantec Altiris Service and Asset Management Suite, 5.5 percent, Preferred Product

SCCM wins this category for the second year in a row; System Center Essentials takes second place. Novell Asset Manager just beat out products from ScriptLogic and Symantec Corp. to repeat as ISV Winner in this category. It'll be up for a Triple Crown in 2011.

Best License Management Product
11 products in category
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 30 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Microsoft Systems Management Server, 23.8 percent, Preferred Product
ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 12.3 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner
Symantec Total Management Suite, 10.9 percent, Preferred Product

Results in this category remained mostly unchanged from 2009, except that Systems Management Server siphoned off some votes from SCCM, which nevertheless won the category easily and scored a Five-Star Award. ScriptLogic and Symantec easily finished at the top ISV entries; as ISV Winner two years running, ScriptLogic will be up for a Triple Crown in 2011.

Best Compliance Tool
44 products in category
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 24.6 percent, Winner
ScriptLogic File System Auditor, 8.6 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner
Symantec Control Compliance Suite, 4.6 percent, Preferred Product
McAfee Vulnerability Manager, 4.3 percent, Preferred Product

That's two wins on the trot for SCCM, which takes the highly competitive Compliance category by a comfortable margin. ScriptLogic File System Auditor checks in as ISV Winner, bumping out McAfee Vulnerability Manager. Symantec rounded out the Preferred Product honors.

Best Non-Microsoft Browser
5 products in category
Mozilla Firefox, 60.1 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Google Chrome, 27.8 percent, Preferred Product

Look out! Firefox, Winner of a Five-Star Award, might still be the toast of the non-Internet Explorer crowd, but Google Chrome -- which garnered just 14.4 percent of votes last year -- made a major move in 2010. Safari finished a very distant third, and Netscape Navigator actually beat out Opera to avoid last place.

Best SQL Tool
37 products in category
ScriptLogic Security Explorer for SQL Server, 18.3 percent, Winner
Sql Power Tools Zero Impact Enterprise Monitor, 10.7 percent, Preferred Product
Quest Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise, 8 percent Preferred Product
The second-place finisher in 2008, ScriptLogic Security Explorer for SQL Server is now a two-time winner and will be up for a Triple Crown next year. Quest Software Inc. and Sql Power Tools Inc. swapped spots for 2010, but still beat out the competition to achieve Preferred Product status.


INSTALLATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Best Software Distribution Product
19 products in category
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 26.8 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Microsoft Systems Management Server, 17.5 percent, Preferred Product
Microsoft System Center Essentials, 12.9 percent, Preferred Product
Symantec Deployment Solution, 10.1 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner
ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 8 percent, Preferred Product

Clearly, Microsoft has a handle on the Software Distribution category, at least among our readers -- which should come as little surprise in a publication that is, after all, called Redmond magazine. Symantec and ScriptLogic earned Preferred Product honors, but nothing could touch SCCM, which won this category easily and picked up a Five-Star Award. As an ISV Winner two times running, Symantec Deployment Solution will be up for a Triple Crown next year.

Best Software Packaging Product
9 products in category
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 39.7 percent, Winner
InstallShield AdminStudio, 17.3 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award ScriptLogic MSI Studio, 15.9 percent, Preferred Product

InstallShield AdminStudio won this category three times in a row before SCCM took over last year. However, as ISV Winner five years running, InstallShield earns a Five-Star Award honor. As for SCCM, the Microsoft offering did not relent in 2010, taking nearly 40 percent of the vote and actually increasing its margin of victory considerably. ScriptLogic MSI Studio knocked out Symantec Altiris Package Studio this year for the final Preferred Product slot.

Best Drive Imaging Product
7 products in category
Symantec Ghost Suite, 40.4 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Acronis True Image, 22.6 percent, Preferred Product
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 14.3 percent, Preferred Product

Symantec Ghost Suite is very much alive in the Drive Imaging category, winning five years in a row and picking up a Five-Star Award. The results in the category this year were nearly identical to those of last year, with Acronis earning Preferred Product status and SCCM also picking up an honor.


ADMINISTRATION
Best Migration Product
22 products in category
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 23.7 percent, Winner
Acronis Migrate Easy, 11.7 percent, Preferred Product and ISV Winner
Symantec Deployment Solution, 10.4 percent, Preferred Product

SCCM takes yet another category, with Acronis Migrate Easy moving from third to second in this category to take the ISV Winner gong. Symantec Deployment Solution unseated Quest Migration Manager, the 2008 winner, for the final Preferred Product spot.

Best Server Migration Product
23 products in category
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 16.1 percent, Winner
Acronis Backup & Recover Advanced Server, 12.6 percent, Preferred Product and ISV Winner
VMware vMotion, 12 percent, Preferred Product

Another close race in this category leads nonetheless to another victory for SCCM, which has now won this fluctuating category two years on the trot. VMware Inc. placed two Preferred Products last year and won among ISVs, but lost one of its slots in 2010 to an offering from Acronis, which earned ISV Winner status.

Best Group Policy Manager
21 products in category
ScriptLogic Active Administrator, 18 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Symantec Control Compliance Suite, 15.3 percent, Preferred Product
NetIQ Group Policy Administrator, 8.2 percent, Preferred Product
Quest GPOAdmin, 8.2 percent, Preferred Product

ScriptLogic scores a victory in this category, and five consecutive ISV wins nets the product a Five-Star Award gong. Symantec Control Compliance Suite checks in with a strong second-place finish, and two other products finished in a dead heat for the final Preferred Product space.

Best Disk Defragmentation and Drive Monitoring Tool
10 products in category
Diskeeper Executive Software, 30.5 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Winternals Defrag Manager, 20.5 percent, Preferred Product
Acronis Disk Director Suite, 12.7 percent, Preferred Product

This category is always close, but Diskeeper has managed to take it five years in a row now and earned a Five-Star Award this year with its victory. Winternals Defrag Manager and Acronis Disk Director also repeated their 2009 finishes.

Best Remote Troubleshooting Solution
26 products in category
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 28.9 percent, Winner
Symantec Client Management Suite, 13.8 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner
ScriptLogic Remote Support Center, 7.5 percent, Preferred Product

SCCM sweeps to victory in another category, but as ISV Winner two years in a row, Symantec Client Management Suite will be up for a Triple Crown in 2011. ScriptLogic chimed in with a solid Preferred Product showing.

Best Network Automation and Batch Processing Tool
21 products in category
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 36.6 percent, Winner

ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 19.7 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award HP OpenView Operations for Windows, 11.1 percent, Preferred Product

Hewlett-Packard Co. jumps into a Preferred Product spot in this category, unseating a competitor. ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, a Triple Crown winner in 2008, finished as ISV Winner again this year. That's the fifth ISV win in a row for the ScriptLogic product, meaning it earns a Five-Star Award.

Best Scripting Tool
18 products in category
ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 25.3 percent, Winner
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 19.6 percent, Preferred Product
Microsoft IIS Windows PowerShell Snap-In, 15.9 percent, Preferred Product

ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, the bridesmaid last year, wins this category after years of achieving Preferred Product status. SCCM also makes its presence felt with a solid showing. This category had just nine products in 2008 and 14 in 2009, but this year had 18 choices for readers' votes.

Best Patch Management Product
23 products in category
Microsoft Software Update Services, 23.1 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, 18 percent, Preferred Product
Microsoft System Center Essentials, 11.1 percent, Preferred Product
ScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 6.6 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner
Shavlik Technologies HFNetChkPro, 6 percent, Preferred Product

No surprise here -- Microsoft dominates this category again, and Software Update Services is the clear winner, picking up a Five-Star Award. ScriptLogic takes a turn as ISV Winner, edging out Shavlik Technologies HFNetChkPro, which took last year's ISV award.

Best Application-Conflict Testing Tool
5 products in category
ScriptLogic Desktop Authority MSI Studio, 34.2 percent, Winner
Symantec Package Studio, 28.1 percent, Preferred Product
InstallShield AdminStudio, 22.8 percent, Preferred Product

In the second year of this category's existence, ScriptLogic scores a win over last year's winner, InstallShield AdminStudio. Symantec Package Studio also managed to beat out the InstallShield product this year.


SECURITY
Best Hardware-Based Firewall Product
23 products in category
Cisco Systems PIX Series, 32 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Sonicwall Pro and TZ Series, 15.4 percent, Preferred Product
Barracuda Spam and Virus Firewall, 8.9 percent, Preferred Product

PIX is the pick for the fifth year in a row, earning a Five-Star Award. The other results in this category were unchanged from last year -- even the percentages of votes earned are nearly identical to those of 2009.

Best Software-Based Firewall Product
17 products in category
Symantec Enterprise Firewall, 21.3 percent, Winner
Microsoft ISA Server, 12.7 percent, Preferred Product
Kaspersky Lab Anti-Hacker, 11.7 percent, Preferred Product

It's two in a row for Symantec Enterprise Firewall, which will be up for a Triple Crown in 2011. Kaspersky Lab makes a Preferred Product appearance after missing out on the honors last year. ISA Server, a three-time winner from 2006-2008, finished second in 2009 and again this year.

Best Security Auditing Product
45 products in category
Symantec Security Information Manager, 10.2 percent, Winner
GFI LANguard Security Event Log Monitor, 8.3 percent, Preferred Product
McAfee Vulnerability Manager, 7.1 percent, Preferred Product

Symantec just edged 2009 winner GFI in this hotly contested category, which jumped from having 40 products in 2009 to having 45 in 2010. GFI did finish strong, though, as did McAfee Vulnerability Manager, which once again checked in as a Preferred Product.

Best Intrusion-Detection System
19 products in category
Cisco Systems Secure Intrusion Detection System, 31.6 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
WebSense Web Security Suite, 10.2 percent, Preferred Product
McAfee Network Security Platform, 8.8 percent, Preferred Product

Cisco Systems Intrusion Detection System continues to dominate a category that it has now won five years running, earning it a Five-Star Award. McAfee Inc. snuck a product into the Preferred ranks after coming up empty in this space in 2009.

Best Intrusion-Prevention System
27 products in category
Cisco Systems Okena Stormwatch, 18 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention, 10.1 percent, Preferred Product
McAfee Network Security Platform, 7.2 percent, Preferred Product

Stormwatch rained on McAfee's parade in the Intrusion-Prevention category and thundered its way to a Five-Star Award. McAfee did have a strong showing, however, with two products combining to nearly equal the total votes for Stormwatch.

Best Smart Card/Biometric/Two-Factor Authentication System
15 products in category
RSA SecurID, 37.2 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Microsoft Identity Lifecycle Manager, 21.3 percent, Preferred Product
Quest Defender, 5.5 percent, Preferred Product
Tumbleweed Validation Authority, 5.5 percent, Preferred Product

It's a Five-Star Award for RSA, which once again dominates this category with SecurID. Tumbleweed Validation Authority snuck into a tie for third place and a shared Preferred Product status with Quest Defender.

Best Secure Messaging Tool or Service (Spam and Content Filtering)
66 products in category
Microsoft/Sybari Software Antigen for Exchange, 11.6 percent, Winner
Symantec Mail Security, 11.6 percent, Winner, ISV Winner
Barracuda Spam and Virus Firewall, 8.6 percent, Preferred Product
GFI MailEssentials, 5.8 percent, Preferred Product

A rare tie for first place! Microsoft Antigen and Symantec Mail Security finished in a dead heat and both earned status as Winners. Barracuda (ISV Winner in 2009) and GFI rounded out the Preferred Products in a massive and competitive category.

Best Antivirus Tool
23 products in category
Symantec Antivirus, 28.4 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
McAfee Total Protection, 11 percent, Preferred Product
Kaspersky Lab Anti-Virus, 9.9 percent, Preferred Product

The king reigns supreme -- so far nobody can touch Symantec in the Antivirus category. The security titan's flagship product wins a Five-Star Award this year and doesn't look set to slow down. Kaspersky showed well by beating out AVG Technologies for a Preferred Product honor.

Best Anti-Spyware Tool
17 products in category
Webroot Antispyware, 16.4 percent, Winner
Trend Micro Antispyware, 16 percent, Preferred Product
McAfee Total Protection, 15.4 percent, Preferred Product

Only a handful of votes separated the top three products in this category, but long-time Preferred Product Webroot AntiSpyware finally broke through and prevented 2009 Grand Slam winner McAfee from winning a Five-Star Award in 2010. Trend Micro again placed second.


TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION
Best Exam Preparation Vendor
14 vendors in category
Microsoft, 23.4 percent, Winner, Triple Crown Winner
MeasureUp, 10.4 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner
Sybex, 10.1 percent, Preferred Product

Three wins in a row earn a Triple Crown for Microsoft, but the standings changed after that compared to 2009. MeasureUp and Sybex are both new winners in the Preferred Product category this year.

Best Online, Disk-Based or Instructor-Led Training Vendor
20 vendors in category
Microsoft, 19.5 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Global Knowledge Training LLC, 17.9 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award
Train Signal Inc., 11.1 percent, Preferred Product

Two Five-Star Award winners in one category! That makes five wins in a row for Microsoft, which picks up the Five-Star Award in this category. Global Knowledge, however, also wins a Five-Star Award for finishing as ISV Winner five years running. Global Knowledge actually narrowed the gap on Microsoft this year, and Train Signal made the Preferred Product list after being an also-ran in 2009.

Best Windows Certification-Based Boot Camp Vendor
10 vendors in category
Microsoft, 41.4 percent, Winner
Global Knowledge, 33 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award
Microsoft wins a tight victory in this category but Global Knowledge, Winner from 2006-2009 and ISV Winner
this year, picks up a Five-Star Award nod. None of the other vendors in this category came close to the top two.


STORAGE AND BACKUP
Best Backup System
47 products in category
Symantec Backup Exec, 24.3 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
Acronis Backup and Recovery Advanced Server, 13.2 percent, Preferred Product

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, 10.8 percent, Preferred Product
Backup Exec wins again, this time for the fifth consecutive year, picking up a Five-Star Award. Acronis and Microsoft both had solid entries as Preferred Products.

Best Storage Management Product
38 products in category
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, 15.1 percent, Winner
Acronis Backup and Recovery Advanced Server, 12.9 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner
EMC ControlCenter SRM Software, 7.9 percent, Preferred Product
Symantec Storage Central, 7.9 percent, Preferred Product

EMC ControlCenter won this tight category last year but slipped to third in 2010. Symantec Storage Central, Winner
from 2006-2008, also fell into third place. Ultimately, it was Microsoft that took the category in a close race over a product from Acronis.

Best Disaster-Recovery Product or Service
58 products in category
Acronis Backup and Recovery Advanced Server, 16.3 percent, Winner
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, 15.4 percent, Preferred Product
Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery, 12.1 percent, Preferred Product

Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery has owned this category in recent years, having won a Grand Slam last year. But its margins of victory have always been fairly tight, and this year Acronis Backup and Recovery Advanced Server managed to take the title. The Microsoft System Center product line also made another strong showing.

Best Clustering and Failover Solution
11 products in category
Microsoft Windows Server Clustering Services, 29.5 percent, Winner, Five-Star Award
VMware Fault Tolerance, 24.2 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner
Barracuda Load Balancer, 9.6 percent, Preferred Product

The margin closes every year, but Microsoft Windows Server Clustering Services held off VMware Fault Tolerance this year to earn a Five-Star Award. The VMware product, having won consecutive ISV awards. Barracuda Load Balancer jumped into Preferred Product status after being shut out in 2009.

Best Load-Balancing Product
15 products in category
VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler, 23.6 percent, Winner
Microsoft Windows Server Network Load Balancing, 20 percent, Preferred Product
Barracuda Load Balancer, 13.9 percent, Preferred Product

That's two wins in a row for VMware and its Distributed Resource Scheduler. The product will up for a Triple Crown next year, but the Microsoft load-balancing offering remains hot on VMware's heels.


VIRTUALIZATION
Best Application-Virtualization Product
8 products in category
VMware ThinApp, 31.9 percent, Winner
Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V), 27.8 percent, Preferred Product
Citrix XenApp, 25.2 percent, Preferred Product

VMware ThinApp won this category pretty easily last year, but App-V and XenApp made up a lot of ground in 2010. Nevertheless, ThinApp will be up for a Triple Crown in 2011.

Best Virtual Automation Product
2 products in category
Reliance Automated VM Provisioning, 57.6 percent, Winner, ISV Winner

The other product in this category, Quest Software Surgient Virtual Automation Platform, closed the gap on its rival this year but couldn't overtake Reliance, which won for the second year in a row.

Best Virtual Business-Continuity and Disaster-Recovery Product
15 products in category
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, 34.1 percent, Winner
Acronis True Image Virtual Edition, 9.9 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner
Acronis True Image Echo, 9.5 percent, Preferred Product

Acronis again makes a strong showing in this category, as it did in 2009. But System Center racked up another victory and will be a Triple Crown candidate in 2011.

Best Desktop Virtualization Product
15 products in category
Citrix XenDesktop, 48.2 percent, Winner
Quest vWorkspace, 9 percent, Preferred Product
ThinLaunch Thin Desktop, 8.6 percent, Preferred Product

Citrix runs away with this category again and will be up for a Triple Crown in 2011. Quest jumps in with a Preferred Product nod after not making the top three last year.

Best Virtual Management and Optimization Product
27 products in category
SolarWinds VM Monitor, 16.7 percent, Winner
SolarWinds Orion Network Performance Monitor, 12.6 percent, Preferred Product
IBM Systems Director, 11.7 percent, Preferred Product

SolarWinds makes an excellent showing in perhaps the most competitive category in the survey. After not placing at all in 2009, the company went 1-2 this year and knocked 2009 winner NetIQ AppManager for VMware -- which finished fourth -- all the way out of the top three.

Best Storage Virtualization and Management Product
16 products in category
Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Hyper-V, 36.3 percent, Winner
Network Appliance NetApp V-Series Systems, 11.5 percent, Preferred Product

Citrix took this category in a landslide and will be up for a Triple Crown next year. Only the offering from Network Appliance really registered with readers among other products in this category.

Best Virtualization Training Vendor
5 vendors in category
Global Knowledge, 65.9 percent, Winner
NetCom Information Technology, 16.8 percent, Preferred Product

If it keeps up this pace for 2011, Global Knowledge will be a shoo-in for a Triple Crown. No other vendor of virtualization training can come close to matching it at this point.

Best Virtual Server Product
6 products in category
Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V, 30.7 percent, Winner
VMware vSphere, 29.2 percent, Preferred Product, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award

An upset! Finally, Hyper-V, which had been slowly closing the gap, takes this category over 2009 Grand Slam winner VMware. However, vSphere, now ISV Winner five years running, still merits a Five-Star Award honor. For what it's worth, though, Microsoft is reaching the virtualization market, at least among Redmond readers.

Best Virtual Server Add-ons
13 products in category
Acronis Backup & Recovery Advanced Server Virtual Edition, 22.4 percent, Winner
Reflex Virtual Management Center, 11 percent, Preferred Product
Uptime Software up.time, 11 percent, Preferred Product

Acronis scores a big victory in a new category. Two products tied for Preferred status and edged out a host of competitors in what is likely to be a hotly contested space for years to come.

Best Virtual PC Product
4 products in category
VMware Workstation, 54.5 percent, Winner, ISV Winner, Five-Star Award
Microsoft Virtual PC for Windows, 37.3 percent, Preferred Product

VMware Workstation is unstoppable in this small category and picks up a Five-Star Award for its win over Microsoft Virtual PC.

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