NAS Device. In the race for Best NAS Device, Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, a NAS solution that shipped to Microsoft's OEM partners earlier this year, emerged as the winner. This dedicated file and print server offers several features that obviously appealed to our readers: iSCSI support, a Web-based UI, multipath I/O support, and data recovery built on Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). Paul Thurrott wrote in "What You Need to Know About Microsoft's Storage Product Plans" (April 2006, InstantDoc ID 49172): "Microsoft basically took Windows 2003 R2 and removed some of the non-storage-related capabilities, then optimized the system for file serving. The great thing: You can use tools you already have to manage your Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 device."

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SAN Array. Leaping into first place from last year's third-place win, EMC's CLARiiON family of networked storage systems garners the Best SAN Array award. Known for midrange storage, CLARiiON systems are geared for a range of situations and budgets. Supporting SAN, NAS, and iSCSI connectivity, the CLARiiON family of systems offers local, remote, synchronous, and asynchronous information protection with the ability to manage, configure, and monitor your storage situation. David Chernicoff noted in the Web-exclusive article "Storage Perspectives" (March 2006, InstantDoc ID 49590) how important the small-to-midsized business (SMB) storage marketplace has become in the storage industry. He singled out EMC as well as its CLARiiON AX series disk array, for giving SMB users "a mature storage system on which to base their storage needs."

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Quota Management Software. Two Microsoft products blew the competition away to tie for the Best Quota Management Software award. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, a dedicated file server that's part of Windows 2003, dovetail with each other to provide storage and storage management. Storage Server R2's new features include file-server performance optimization, Single Instance Storage (SIS), and index-based search. Windows-2003 R2's new features include improved file and print services that make storage and backup more efficient, and enhanced quota management using directory quotas to keep tabs on disk space and regulate its usage. Using these two products, administrators can see how storage is being used and can manage usage by setting quotas, screening files on the server, and scheduling and running reports.

Storage Management Software. For the second year, Raxco Software's PerfectDisk for Exchange has earned the title Best Storage Management Software from our readers. Storage management is a crucial area for Microsoft Exchange users and administrators. PerfectDisk for Exchange was created to maximize Exchange's performance by automatically consolidating server space. It defragments and re-indexes Exchange data stores, recovering unused disk space and returning it to the OS. Besides emphasizing the software's administrator friendly features and easy-on-the budget price, Raxco describes PerfectDisk for Exchange as offering "industrial-strength defragmentation" and says PerfectDisk for Exchange can defragment a disk in one pass. Another feature of this solution is its automated scheduling capabilities.

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STORAGE

NAS Device
1st—Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 R2
http://www.microsoft.com
2nd—EMC Celerra Family
http://www.emc.com
3rd—Network Appliance FAS3000 Series
http://www.netapp.com

SAN Array
1st—EMC CLARiiON Family
http://www.emc.com
2nd—HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Arrays (EVA)
http://www.hp.com
3rd—EMC Symmetrix DMX Series
http://www.emc.com

Quota Management Software
1st (tie)—Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Storage Server 2003 R2
http://www.microsoft.com
2nd—Northern Parklife Northern Storage Suite
http://www.northernparklife.com
3rd—NTP Software QFS
http://www.ntpsoftware.com

Storage Management Software
1st—Raxco Software PerfectDisk for Exchange
http://www.raxco.com
2nd—EMC ControlCenter Family
http://www.emc.com
3rd—Mimosa Systems NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server
http://www.mimosasystems.com