Grand Award and SDN
OpenDaylight Hydrogen won judges over because it not only embodies a strong product, but also represents what can occur with industry-wide collaboration. Hydrogen is a modular SDN controller that can support any number of southbound interfaces to control both hardware and software networking products as well as northbound interfaces accessible to a variety of SDN-minded applications. OpenDaylight enables innovation in SDN with far-reaching impact, because developers can focus on building applications that leverage SDN, leaving the mechanics of carrying out programmatic instructions to Hydrogen and its successors.
Product: VMware vCloud Hybrid Service
VMware's vCloud Hybrid Service impressed judges by being a cloud service that mirrors and interoperates with the enterprise's virtualized data center. In the past, moving a workload into a public cloud has been possible, but required different tools and monitoring systems and setting up networking on the cloud provider's terms. VMware is making it possible to extend the server, networking and storage envelope inside the data center out into the public cloud, making it an extension of the enterprise.
Product: Cisco Nexus 9516
The new, top-of-the-line Nexus 9516 is a 22RU supercar of a data center switch with room for 16 line cards, 6 fabric modules and 9 high-efficiency power supplies. Delivering up to 2,304 ports of 10GbE, or 576 ports of 40GbE (even 1GbE and eventually 100GbE), this monster of a switch was independently tested using all 576x40GbE ports concurrently at full line rate and it passed with flying colors and zero dropped packets. Cisco's use of Broadcom ASICs in combination with their own custom chips in the Nexus 9516 results in line cards with substantially fewer components, higher port densities, increased power efficiency and lower costs.
Product:NEC Unified Network Coordinator
Discussions of SDN architecture generally refer to the controller as a single entity, but real-world deployments will likely mean the presence of multiple controllers. NEC's Unified Network Coordinator, acts as a kind of controller of controllers. UNC can configure multiple NEC ProgrammableFlow controllers at the same time, including controllers within the same data center and in separate data centers, and instantiate policies across multiple domains. The UNC can redirect traffic if a controller becomes unreachable, and the UNC itself can run an active/standby cluster.
Product:Dell Enterprise Mobility Management
Judges were impressed by Dell's Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) comprehensive, end-to-end approach for solving the BYOD challenge. EMM can manage cloud clients, mobile apps, as well as any corporate or employee owned devices. It covers a range of OSs: Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, and Windows Phone. EMM's four components include Dell Mobile Workspace and Dell Desktop Workspace, which creates secure containers for corporate data and applications on smartphones and PCs.
Product:Cisco ISR 4451-X
The ISR 4451-X marries technology from UCS servers, the Catalyst 3500-series switch and the legacy ISR router platforms into a package that can serve multiple roles: WAN router, gateway security and WAN optimization appliance, application server and unified communications hub with support for VoIP call processing and voicemail services. The product's innovative hardware design splits the control and data planes between two multi-core CPUs: a quad-core Xeon E3 and a 10-core Cavium MIPS device handling the data flow. The data plane processor feeds a fabric controller with more than 50Gb of switching bandwidth. Network services like WAN optimization (WAAS) run as containerized VMs, meaning they can be updated or crash without affecting the rest of the system.
Product:Spirent Avalanche NEXT
Spirent's Avalanche NEXT impressed our judges for bringing application performance testing capabilities into the realm of traditional IT. Performance load testing has historically been a complex and costly process that required expertise in a variety of disciplines. But Avalanche NEXT packages up performance and security tests into ready-to-use profiles, creating both the client and server networks and hosts, a functionality which greatly simplifies test generation and execution. With an ongoing subscription, users can download new tests from Spirent as they are made available. Users can also create custom tests based on packet captures.
Product:SpectorSoft Spector 360 Recon
Spector 360 Recon won judges over with its groundbreaking approach that solves a critical, high-profile security problem – tracking user activity to prevent data leaks – while also protecting user privacy in the enterprise. Spector 360 offers the ability to monitor employee activity at a highly granular level, and even offers video-like screen captures that show a user's actions, including the applications that a particular user has been accessing. Spector 360 Recon logs user activity in a secure "black box" for 30 days, encrypting the data so that it cannot be casually observed by IT staff. When suspicious activities are detected, early warning alerts are generated, and an organization has the power to decide whether or not further review is necessary -- and specifically who should have access to the information.
Storage and Audience Choice
For our judges, VMware's VSAN is the standard bearer for a new class of storage solutions that promise to revolutionize how the world buys storage. VSAN, which runs directly in the VMware ESXi hypervisor, takes the flash SSD and spinning disk installed in a cluster of ESXi servers into a single shared pool of hybrid storage. This eliminates not only the storage array itself, but also the complexity of connecting the ESXi hosts to a dedicated SAN. As in hyperscale storage systems like Hadoop and Google's GFS, VSAN provides data protection by replicating virtual disk files across multiple hosts in the cluster rather than relying on RAID.
A relative newcomer to the management market, Connecticut-based Basic6 offers an interesting, intuitive and inexpensive approach for managing resources in the data center, on the ground and in the cloud. Its agent-less solution is designed to provide single-pane-of-glass visibility and control over servers, cloud resources, user accounts and even Windows, Linux, and Macintosh-based end user systems. Its first product was released in April 2013 and features a Microsoft Management Console, SSH server management, Amazon Web Services access, command line or GUI interfaces and a file management system that supports drag and drop.