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ServerWatch Lists the 10 Server Room Must-Haves

ServerWatch writes:

Last week, voting wrapped up for the Third Annual ServerWatch Product Excellence Awards. The anticipation has been building for a week, but we can now bring you the results.

After two years of holding this reader-driven program, we thought we knew what to expect. How naive we were. While in some cases history repeated and patterns continued, in others, new and sometimes surprising winners emerged.

As usual, innovation was a key driver, but this year, with enterprises tightening their belts and IT budgets growing leaner, the mindshare that accompanies being tried-and-true appears to have given these products an advantage.

...

Virtualization Platform

Here, like the high-end server category, few players make for a crowded space. For the third year running, VMware took top honors. Unlike prior years, however, where ESX paved the road to victory, in the 208 awards, VMware Virtual Infrastructure brought home the gold.

VMware Virtual Infrastructure is no stranger to glory either. In 2007, it was runner up in the Virtualization Tool category. This year, we looked to recategorized the awards so that holistic virtualization offerings could be compared against each other.

VMware Virtual Infrastructure is positioned as the cornerstone of a VMware-based virtual infrastructure. Announced in fourth quarter 2007, Virtual Infrastructure 3 is designed to ease key pain points server admins face in both the physical and virtual worlds. Its two core modules are VMware ESX Server 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5 modules, but additional modules are available as well, including, VMware Storage VMotion, VMware Update Manager and VMware Distributed Power Management.

As unsurprised as we were that VMware took the lion's share of votes for first place, we were equally surprised to see Citrix XenServer Enterprise Edition and Sun xVM end up in a dead heat for the runner-up slot. In 2007, XenEnterprise for Windows took the silver. Since then the company was acquired, and the product repositioned, bolstered and re-released.

xVM made waves late last week when it announced it had surpassed the 5 million download mark. Clearly its x86 virtual infrastructure offering is indeed ready for prime time. The Sun xVM Infrastructure consists of xVM Server (a hypervisor component) and xVM Ops Center (a set of management tools) and scales across the shrinking server, storage and networking divide and to grow Sun's virtual footprint beyond its homegrown operating system.

Virtualization Tool

The virtual tool category is filled largely with small players meeting specific needs. The votes were tight, but VMLogix LabManager Manager edged out from the pack.

VMLogix, aside from competing with VMware Lab Manager, has nothing to do with VMware. In fact, the virtual lab automation solution lays claim to being the only one that supports Citrix XenServer (as well as VMware ESX). Its emphasis is on automation and the process leading to greater consistency and efficiency.

Hyperic HQ, meanwhile, took the runner-up spot.

Hyperic HQ automates systems and application management tasks for software in production. It runs on more than 65 different technologies, across all major operating systems, including Linux, Unix, Mac OS X and Windows natively. Of particular interest, here, is that the software monitors every layer of the infrastructure — physical and virtual.

It collects real-time and historical metrics from production hardware, network and application layers, then defines intelligent alerts that enable admins to anticipate problems as they brew. In addition, metrics can be set for resources to better assess equipment status.

...

Green Initiative

Green is the color of the data center these days, so how could we not include a category that rewards environmentally friendly (as well as financially prudent) green initiatives?

The winner of ServerWatch's Green Initiative award is be hard to argue with, because it's an industry team effort. The Green Grid is a consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers and business computing ecosystems. The group was started by AMD in 2006 with founding members HP, IBM and Sun. Joining the four founder on the Green Grid's board are Dell, APC, Intel, Microsoft, Rackable Systems and Spray Cool.

While the finalists may have joined forces to create and perpetuate the Green Grid, HP, IBM, Intel and Sun were battling it out for the runner-up award. Sun left its peers green with envy as it emerged as the clear favorite for second place. The Sun Eco Innovation initiative is designed to cut energy costs and IT environmental impact by assessing, optimizing and virtualizing data center infrastructure.

Read about other winners in the ServerWatch Top 10.

Published Wednesday, June 04, 2008 6:15 AM by David Marshall
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