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Best of Interop Product Awards Open

Do you have a new favorite IT product you can't live without? Or perhaps your company embarked on an entirely new platform this year and it's transformed your technology environment. If so, encourage your vendor to nominate their product for the Best of Interop 2014 Awards. This award program recognizes IT products and services that have made a significant impact on innovation.

If you're a fan of Network Computing, then you know that our parent company also runs the Interop conference. Many of our contributing writers are Interop speakers, and we'll be bringing you more information about the conference in the weeks to come. It will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, from March 31 to April 3. There you'll find a wealth of educational sessions and workshops on topics like networking, data centers, storage, and cloud infrastructure, plus you can interact with your peers and some of the smartest people in IT (and Networking Computing editors).

This year's product awards competition includes nine categories, including a new category devoted to software-defined networking. Category finalists will be announced on March 11, and the winners will be announced at a ceremony on April 1. The Best of Interop judges include IT practitioners, analysts, and veteran tech journalists with deep subject-matter expertise.

Interop attendees also get to weigh in by voting for the Audience Choice award during the keynotes on April 2. If you're planning on going to Interop -- and you can register here -- then be sure to make it to Wednesday's keynote so your vote can be tallied. As a bonus, you'll get to see the CIOs of Cisco and Deloitte talk about technology.

Categories for the awards include:

• Cloud
• Data Center
• Management
• Mobility
• Networking
• Performance
• Security
• Storage

There will also be three special awards, which will be chosen from among all the category entries. These include:

• Best Startup Company
• Best of Interop 2014 Grand Award
• Audience Choice Award

All the Best of Interop finalists and category winners will have their hardware and software on the show floor at the conference, so attendees can get a firsthand look at the merchandise. Check out last year's winners in our Best of Interop 2013 slideshow.

If you're thinking of entering, note that eligible products must have been announced on or after August 1, 2013, available for purchase by August 1, 2014, and must be available for public viewing at Interop Las Vegas 2014. Exhibiting companies have until Tuesday, February 18 to submit. Finalists will be notified on Tuesday, March 11, and winners will be announced live at the conference on April 1. For all the specifics, visit the Best of Interop awards page.