Windows IT Pro magazine and SQL Server Magazine announced the winners of their Best of Tech Ed 2008 IT Professional Awards yesterday evening. Jeff Lewis, the Group Publisher of the Windows IT Group, presented the awards at a ceremony at Universal Studios in Orlando. Out of over 223 product nominations that were received for the Best of Tech Ed Awards, editors chose 29 finalists in nine categories.

Winners were chosen based on innovation, competitive advantage, and value to customers.

In the Messaging category, the winner is Azaleos OneServer Virtual Edition. Our judges liked the features of this innovative virtual appliance, ranging from its polished interface to its wealth of management and analysis options.

The winner in the Business Intelligence category is SoftArtisans OfficeWriter. OfficeWriter can connect to SQL Server, Analysis Services, and other databases and deliver fully functional Microsoft Excel and Word documents over the Web.

In the SharePoint category, the winner is the AvePoint DocAve Software Platform. SharePoint use is exploding, and the DocAve Software Platform provides an integrated environment for SharePoint management, disaster recovery, and real-time backup.

In the Hardware, Networking, and Storage category, the winner is Strangeloop WS1000. The WS 1000 can increase the performance of Web services by an order of magnitude. Its advanced caching technologies enable plug-and-play performance optimization without requiring any changes to the Web services application code.

In the Database Administration category, the winner is SQL diagnostic manager. SQL diagnostic manager provides the ability to monitor SQL Server performance as well as diagnose and analyze performance problems.

In the Productivity and Collaboration category, the winner is Colligo Contributor Pro. Giving users access to company information on the road is essential, and Colligo Contributor Pro allows users to access and edit Microsoft SharePoint content both online and offline.

In the Security category, the winner is Trend Micro ScanMail for Microsoft Exchange. ScanMail for Microsoft Exchange provides comprehensive e-mail security including anti-virus, anti-spyware and zero-day virus protection.

In the Virtualization category, the winner is VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3. Virtualization is taking the IT world by storm, and VMware has been driving that change more than anyone.

In the Systems Management and Operations category, the winner is Athena by Odyssey Software. Athena is a management solution for Windows-based mobile devices. The product seamlessly integrates into the Microsoft System Center management interface to provide remote tools, extended asset reporting, and provisioning for mobile devices in the enterprise.

The Breakthrough Product award winner is Quest Software’s PowerGUI, a scripting and command shell platform that enhances ease of use of Windows PowerShell.

This year's Attendees' Pick award winner is Syntergy Replicator for SharePoint.