Microsoft Tech•Ed was a wild, jazzy, hot, humid affair this year in New Orleans, and our editors were in the spirit when they recognized this year's Best of Tech•Ed Award winners. These awards recognize Microsoft partners that offer innovative products and services in the marketplace. The judging panel—consisting of Windows IT Pro, SQL Server Magazine, DevProConnections Magazine, and SharePointPro Connections Magazine editors Michael Otey, Amy Eisenberg, Jason Bovberg, Sheila Molnar, and Zac Wiggy—narrowed an impressive field of nearly 300 submissions down to 46 finalists in 15 categories. Onsite in New Orleans, the team interviewed the finalists and evaluated the products to determine a final list of winners. As always, the three criteria for the judging process were strategic importance, competitive advantage, and value to customers. Show attendees also cast their votes to determine the winner of the prestigious Attendees' Pick Award.

It was a fun week in the Crescent City, capped off with a wonderful awards party at the Hard Rock Cafe in the French Quarter. We would like to congratulate our 2010 winners!

 

BACKUP & RECOVERY

Symantec—Backup Exec 2010

Symantec’s industry-standard Backup Exec 2010 backup-and-recovery solution wins this award thanks to the exciting new energy poured into version 2010 (the fastest-adopted version of the tool ever). With new integrated features such as data de-duplication, archiving, OST-based management features, and granular restore technology—all leveraging powerful Symantec technologies and teams—Backup Exec 2010 expands its horizons while becoming extremely user-friendly and community-aware.

  



BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

Dundas Data Visualization—Dundas Dashboard 2.0

Dundas is back with Dundas Dashboard 2.0! The company, well known for its wide array of components, came on strong with the new version of its new web-based platform for digital dashboard creation, integration, and delivery. This version—leveraging  Silverlight 4.0 and offering OLAP capabilities, SharePoint integration, customization and extensibility, Dashflow-streamlined development, KPI mashups, and more—is sure to please the business intelligence community.

 

DATABASE ADMINISTRATION

Idera—Idera SQL Toolbox 1.0

Idera, a finalist last year with its fine Idera SQL admin toolset, wins this year with a cost-effective uber-toolset (SQL Toolbox) that includes the admin toolset (with its 24 tools,  plus 3 more offerings—SQL Schema Compare, SQL Safe Lite, and SQL Virtual Database). The virtual database is a unique product that lets administrators recover data from backup files without doing a restore. DBAs can use that virtual database in as many ways as their imaginations allow—reporting, data extraction, data analysis, and more. 



 

DATABASE DEVELOPMENT

Quest Software—Toad for SQL Server 4.6

Toad for SQL Server is the Swiss Army knife of development tools. This product won because it offers an incredibility wide range of functionality, including IntelliSense, Group Server query execute for running queries on multiple servers, an advanced SQL Optimizer to analyze alternative SQL statements, as well as server, database, and data-comparison tools.

 

 

DEVELOPER TOOLS

AVIcode—Intercept Studio 5.6

AVICode Intercept Studio wins for its terrific end-to-end web application troubleshooting tools. The new release offers a unique web application capture feature and full support for troubleshooting the performance of SharePoint applications.

 

 

HARDWARE & STORAGE

Brocade—Brocade DCX-4S Backbone

The Brocade DCX Backbone network switching platform wins for its robust focus on the evolving data center. Extremely scalable and reliable—far surpassing “five 9s” and entering the realm of “six and seven 9s”—the DCX-4S is a powerhouse that will grow with any business, bringing authoritative focus to the storage network. A future-aware multiprotocol architecture and intelligent traffic management functionality cap off a truly impressive backbone.

 

MESSAGING

Argent Software—Argent for Exchange 2.0

Argent for Exchange wins the messaging category for its comprehensive approach to monitoring and alerting. The product is both automated and highly customizable. Argent’s round-the clock support, quarterly updates to customers, and ability to monitor Exchange transport, storage, traffic logs, and account rules (among others)—through PowerShell, Exchange Management Shell, WMI, and classic Windows APIs—offer a strong value proposition to customers.



BEST MICROSOFT PRODUCT

Visual Studio 2010

Visual Studio 2010 is the Microsoft product of the year because this release of Visual Studio raises the standard for development tools. Visual Studio 2010 provides new native WPF support, as well as support for multiple monitors, a new historical debugging capability, and significantly enhanced SharePoint development and deployment capabilities.

 

NETWORKING

A10 Networks—64-bit AX Series

The 64-bit AX Series wins this award because of its innovative approach to network load-balancing, high availability, and health monitoring. A10 strives to “monitor the water, not the plumbing.” Site-level and global-level geographic redundancy—through a uniquely flexible architecture—provide for a truly scalable solution that boasts excellent security and 64-bit performance.

 

SECURITY

Symantec—Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition 12

Symantec Endpoint Protections Small Business Edition 12 provides smaller businesses with a centrally managed security system similar to what enterprises have, but with a price and ease of use suited to SMBs. This product won because of its focus on a market where there have been few choices for small businesses that need suites with these kinds of features.

 

SHAREPOINT

Quest Software—Quest Site Administrator for SharePoint 4.0

In the explosive SharePoint market, Quest Site Administrator for SharePoint 4.0 is a winner because it provides administrators (and “accidental” SharePoint admins) a comprehensive means to take control of their burgeoning SharePoint environments. This fine product offers tools that provide centralized administration, discovery, site and content browsing, data collection and reporting, global policy and permissions management, and audit data collection and reporting.

 



SOFTWARE COMPONENTS & MIDDLEWARE

Telerik—Telerik Ultimate Collection for .NET 2010

The Telerik Ultimate Collection provides a complete set of WinForm, ASP.NET, and Silver Controls. This product won because in addition to its controls, it provides support for the Open Access data access framework, as well as Web Test Studio for testing web applications.

 

SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT & OPERATIONS

ScriptLogic—Active Administrator 5.5

For businesses that rely on Active Directory, Active Administrator is the go-to choice. With the functions of several other products built into one, it’s a leader in AD management. This product won because AD administration is a big task in many shops, and this single product covers what most of these shops need.



VIRTUALIZATION

VMware—VMware vSphere 4

VMware’s support for private and public clouds, added to its well-respected features, has assured the company a continuing place in many environments. This product won because it’s a mature, stable, well-known technology that’s in use in a large percentage of IT shops.

 

BREAKTHROUGH PRODUCT

Citrix XenDesktop 4

Although virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) isn’t even mainstream yet, Citrix is already working to expand what the phrase “virtual desktop” means. This product wins as breakthrough product because Citrix is providing easy and powerful virtual desktops, and there’s a good chance that will be the future of IT.



ATTENDEES' PICK

VMware—VMware vSphere 4

VMware’s support for private and public clouds, added to its well-respected features, has assured the company a continuing place in many environments. This product won because it’s a mature, stable, well-known technology that’s in use in a large percentage of IT shops.