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The Midmarket Touch

CRN recognizes 10 products across five categories that are popular with VARs and CIOs in the midmarket space.

With that in mind, CRNis recognizing 10 products across five categories that have been successful with VARs and CIOs in the midmarket space. The top midmarket product winners and runners-up were selected via a nomination process involving the CRN editorial staff, solution providers and CIOs of midsize organizations. The selections were based on customer service, how well the vendor's technology fits a midsize enterprise, and the vendor's commitment to solution providers serving midmarket customers. The winning products and runners-up were approved by groups of VARs, CIOs and CRN senior editorial management. Here they are:

Security

Winner: TriGeo Security Information Management (SIM) Version 5

TriGeo's version 5 of its Security Information Management system literally started from the ground up with a brand-new database, a revamped interface and accelerated reporting capabilities that distilled reporting time from 11 minutes to about 1 minute. Among its new features are behavior-based technologies designed to detect and block numerous security threats, along with greatly enhanced reporting capabilities specifically designed to help midmarket organizations adhere to regulatory compliance mandates such as PCI DSS or the federal Sarbanes-Oxley.

The TriGeo SIM may be smaller than its competitors but it was specifically created for the midmarket, giving it an advantage over its rivals -- which often scale down an existing enterprise-class product to target lower markets.

Runner-Up: Kaspersky Mobile 8.0

Kaspersky Mobile resets the bar for mobile security with a slew of antitheft/anti-data-loss features. Kaspersky's Mobile 8.0 for Windows Mobile and Symbian smartphones includes the features you would expect, blocking all known malware that targets mobile devices and spam sent via SMS. But because the majority of smartphone data loss stems from misplaced or stolen devices, Kaspersky Mobile Security 8.0 provides an encrypted folder for storing private information, ensuring the data can't be viewed if the device is left unattended. For devices that find their way to the back seat of a taxi, the SMS Find feature allows users to send a password via SMS to a lost device, which instructs the device to transmit its current GPS location and a link to Google Maps to its owner, displaying its exact coordinates via the phone's GPS capabilities.

If the mobile device has been stolen, its rightful owner can use the antitheft module in Kaspersky Mobile Security 8.0 to block access to the device, or to wipe all data stored in its memory.

Productivity Apps

Winner: IBM Cognos Express

An IBM survey of CIOs midmarket in 2009 found that 83 percent of midmarket IT executives ranked business intelligence and analytics as their top priority for improving competitiveness and cutting costs. IBM answered that need with IBM Cognos Express, an application package combining business intelligence and analysis tools with financial planning software. The package incorporates much of the technology from the enterprise-class Cognos business intelligence system IBM acquired in January 2008 but tailors it for midmarket businesses with between 100 and 1,000 employees.

Runner-Up: Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions

Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is the backbone financial management system for more than 70,000 small and midsize businesses. The software offers an all-in-one package of accounting and financial, purchasing, inventory, sales and payroll management applications. Version 10.0 of the software, which debuted in late 2009, offers improved business reporting, integrated document management, and the ability to create custom, single-screen "snapshot" views of the financial data most important to a business.

Storage

Winner: Compellent Storage

Compellent is unique among storage vendors in that its products were designed from day one to be upgradable to the latest version with no forklift changes needed. This includes the fifth generation of its Storage Center solution, which scales according to customer requirements to provide disaster recovery and cost-effective automated tiered storage for enterprises of all sizes. The Storage Center 5 scales from six SAS hard drives up to 384 SAS drives with a mix of capacities and speeds within the same enclosure, and supports Fibre Channel or iSCSI front-end server connectivity.

Runner-Up: Dell EqualLogic PS Series Dell is the top supplier of iSCSI storage, a mainstream product for midmarket customers, thanks to the acquisition two years ago of EqualLogic. The Dell EqualLogic PS series of iSCSI SAN appliances includes models suitable for remote offices to enterprise data centers. Dell currently offers a couple of different series of the Dell EqualLogic arrays. The PS-4000 series puts scalable iSCSI SANs with a maximum per-array capacity of between 9.6 TB and 19.2 TB in midsize business and remote office environments. The PS-6000 series of high-performance iSCSI arrays can be ordered in models optimized for performance or capacity.

NEXT: Data Center and Networking

Data Center

Winner: VMware ESXi, vSphere4

Of all the technologies that go into a midmarket data center, VMware's ESXi server virtualization software and its vSphere follow-up are probably the most ubiquitous. VMware's ESXi is free-of-charge software that lets customers virtualize the workloads of multiple servers so they can work on a smaller number of physical boxes in order to control acquisition, deployment and power costs, and it gives midmarket solution providers opportunities to include management and other value-adds. vSphere 4 builds on the server virtualization base to add the capability to start building private computing clouds or to build disaster recovery and business continuity solutions.

Runner-Up: Riverbed Technology Steelhead WAN Optimization Appliances

WAN optimization has recently become a darling of the midmarket data center because of its ability to improve disaster recovery and replication performance while allowing users to access resources across WANs with as close to local performance as possible. Riverbed's Steelhead WAN optimization appliances range in size from those suitable for offices with a few workers to models aimed at enterprise-class data centers. For the midmarket, Riverbed offers a series of 1U rack-mount appliances that support offices of between 75 and 850 people. They scale from 2 Mbps to 45 Mbps in terms of bandwidth, and offer up to 6 GB of memory and 1 TB of storage capacity.

Networking

WINNER : Digium AA355 Switchvox PBX

The modest, but insistent ranks of Digium devotees call Switchvox "VoIP-in-a-box" with the greatest affection because that's pretty much what it is: a turnkey opensource IP-PBX system for small to midsize businesses that is affordable, easy to use and install. Customers and channel partners alike have championed the Switchvox software for its range of features and also applaud Digium for providing greater rewards to loyal partners while also adding an affiliate level to attract low-commitment VARs to its Authorized Reseller Partner Community.

RUNNER -UP : LifeSize 220 Series Telepresence

Telepresence products are no longer prohibitively priced luxuries, and LifeSize, which was acquired by Logitech last fall, has attempted to position itself as a lower-cost yet feature-rich alternative to videoconferencing and presence stalwarts like Polycom, Cisco and Cisco-acquired Tandberg. The launch of LifeSize's 220 Series Telepresence portfolio last October was seen as a breakthrough, as it includes the industry's first HD video system with an embedded Full HD multipoint control unit for south of $12,000, and the first full HD video communications system for less than $7,000.

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