For the 12th year in a row, we invited vendors and users to nominate their best data storage offerings for the annual Storage magazine and SearchStorage.com Products of the Year awards. Our awards differ from similar contests because we only focus on products that were introduced or significantly upgraded within the past year. As a result, new or lesser-known data storage products often fare well against entrenched products if those products were not appreciably upgraded.
But technological innovation isn't the only consideration -- the product also has to work well and satisfy user needs. Additional criteria our judges consider include performance, ease of integration, ease of use and manageability, functionality and value. Our judging panel comprises users, analysts and consultants, as well as Storage magazine and SearchStorage.com editors and writers.
As in previous years, categories included backup and disaster recovery software and services, backup hardware, storage management tools and storage system software. For the first time, we separated the storage systems category into all-flash systems and disk/hybrid systems to reflect the changing landscape of storage hardware available today.
To the 19 Products of the Year winners profiled on the following pages, we tender our hearty congratulations. To learn why each offering was among our selections for the best data storage products of 2014, click on the links in each section. We've also included links to the finalists so you can read about all the contenders in each category.
1Storage management tools
The storage management tools category includes products that provide performance monitoring, configuration management, provisioning, data reduction and other general storage management capabilities. There were nine entries in the category this year, and judges scored the top three highly for their ease of use and manageability, performance and innovation. The winners in this category were all significant upgrades of existing software products that expanded their support and added useful management features.
SILVER: Hewlett-Packard OneView for VMware vCenter 7.4.2
HP OneView integrates the manageability features of HP OneView, HP ProLiant servers, HP BladeSystem, HP Networking and HP Storage into the VMware vCenter console. Users can provision, monitor, update and scale resources without leaving the vCenter console. Read Now
2Storage system software
Virtualization and software-defined storage were big themes among the four winners of this year's storage system software category. The category includes file systems, volume management, storage virtualization, security software, storage optimization, solid-state caching, cloud storage, software-defined storage and object storage.
The gold medalist pools server flash and RAM, while the silver winner can aggregate SAN, NAS, DAS and other storage resources to provide virtual volumes to applications. There are two bronze co-winners: one pools the capacity of hard disks and flash drives in commodity servers into a distributed object store for virtual machines (VMs), while the other supports interfaces for file, object and VM storage.
SILVER: Atlantis Computing Inc. USX 2.0
Atlantis USX 2.0 software-defined storage adds support for VMware's Virtual Volumes and "teleport" capabilities so users can move VMs among storage systems, data centers and the cloud. Read Now
BRONZE (tie): Scality Ring 5.0
Scality's Ring 5.0 software-defined storage features new VM storage capabilities, improved performance, enhanced automation, a redesigned GUI and OpenStack Cinder block storage support. Read Now
2014 Storage System Software finalists
Among the 11 finalists in this category, the description "software-defined storage" reigned supreme. Read Now
3Storage systems: Disk and hybrid systems
Not all storage systems are all-flash these days. The winners in this category use either hard drives and flash in a hybrid configuration or no flash at all. The products on our final list include two hyper-converged systems -- one for Windows-only -- and an iSCSI array that added flash capability.