Xchange Tech Innovator Awards: Technologies With Channel Punch

Xchange Tech Innovator Awards

Ed Moltzen, managing editor at the CRN Test Center, and Eddie Correia, technical editor at the CRN Test Center, Friday closed the Xchange Tech Innovators conference by presenting the Tech Innovator Awards.

The awards were presented based not only on technical merit, but also on how much the vendors invested in providing their solution provider partners the tools and programs to bring their products to customers.

The awards went to vendors with products ranging from cloud offerings to digital signage to managed services.

On the following pages, check out what made these companies award winners.

Cloud Solutions: Ctera

Moltzen presented the first Tech Innovator Award to Ctera, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of appliances which tie customers' on-site storage to a storage cloud.

Moltzen said Ctera offers an interesting hybrid storage cloud approach by combining plug-and play network storage with point-click-and-pay cloud storage in a single device.

"The end result: the channel has a stellar opportunity for both on-premise or hosted IT for SMBs and enterprise workgroups alike," Moltzen said.

Ctera CEO Liran Eshel accepted the award.

The runner up for the cloud computing category was CloudShare, a San Mateo, Calif.-based developer of technology for providing IT-as-a-Service, including storage, computing, networking, and installed software.

LED Signage: Black Box

Correia presented the LCD signage Tech Innovator Award to Black Box, a Lawrence, Pa.-based developer of communications products and services, for its iCompel digital signage solution.

Correia said the iCompel is an all-in-one signage product built around a dedicated appliance running open-source software with browser-based administration and management.

"And the company's strong marketing, support and partner programs are always in plain sight," he said.

Accepting the award for Black Box was Steve Acquista, director of digital signage.

The runner up in this category was NEC Display Solutions.

Display Technologies: HP

The Tech Innovator Award for innovation in display technologies went to Hewlett-Packard for its Projection Companion, an S-VGA projector that uses a break-resistant LED and weighs less than a pound, Moltzen said

"Not long ago, presenting ideas to a large group meant lugging around a heavy projector and hoping its bulb didn't break along the way," he said. "Our winner in the display category kills two birds with one stone."

Accepting the award was Scott Pappan, director of hardware accessories for HP's PSG Notebook Global Business Unit.

The runner up in this category went to ViewSonic, a Walnut, Calif.-based manufacturer of monitors and other display devices.

Handhelds: Motorola

Correia presented the Tech Innovator Award for most innovative handheld product to Motorola for its ES 400, a device which combines voice, data, e-mail, messaging, GPS, bar code scanning, digital capture, and WAN capabilities in a single product.

"Handheld computers in the hands of savvy solution providers can offer a huge boost in productivity," he said. "This can be especially true in the field as workers look for the latest inventory to close a sale, download a parts diagram to complete a repair or access enterprise applications.

Curt Crowley, senior director of innovation and design enterprise mobility solutions, accepted the award for Motorola.

Runner up in the category was the Xenon Series of handheld bar code scanners from Honeywell.

Managed Services: Apparent Networks

Apparent Networks won the Tech Innovator Award in the managed services category for its Pathview Cloud monitoring technology.

Moltzen, in presenting the award to CEO Jim Melvin, said that benchmarking network performance is a longstanding best practice for solution providers, but when the network is the Internet the results can vary widely.

"You look to a solution that provides real-time monitoring of performance by carriers and hosting providers to keep VARs on track with best practices whether IT is on site or in the heavens," he said, referring to the Pathview Cloud.

Runner up in the category was the SecureGRC from Santa Clara, Calif.-based eGestalt, which Moltzen said solution providers can use to help customers be compliant with government mandates.

Networking In The Enterprise: Cisco

Cisco Systems won the Tech Innovator Award for it OTV, or overlay transport virtualization technology, which Correia said sounds complex but which is actually quite simple.

"(OTV) simply means the ability to treat multiple physical data centers as a single logical data center," he said. "This provides some serious power."

Accepting the award for Cisco was Bill Luloffs, who deals with product management.

Runner up in this category was Eaton and its 5130 UPS, a device Correia said offers power management and cooling for data centers.

Networking Voice: Avaya

The IP Office from Avaya, Basking Ridge, N.J., won the Tech Innovator Award because of the VoIP-based telephone solution's easy administration and tight integration with IBM Lotus Notes and Microsoft's Outlook and Communicator, Moltzen said.

"This product can let users control office communications via an IP phone, cell phone or laptop, and offers capabilities for all types of workers whether it be an office worker, mobile worker, telecommuting worker, receptionist, or customer service/call center employee," he said.

This year's winner for Networking Voice is Avaya and IP Office.

Jayesh Govindarajan, senior director for Avaya, accepted his company's award.

Runner up in the category was 3CX, which Moltzen said offers a versatile Windows-based PBX that is fertile ground for solution providers.

Wireless: Ruckus Wireless

The ZoneFlex 7300 series indoor Smart Wi-Fi access points from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Ruckus Wireless, won the Tech Innovator Award for its smart antenna technology and simple-to-administer software, which Correia said set it apart from its 802.11n competitors.

"This vendor has bucked the trend and has successfully competed against industry stalwarts in the wireless space with a simple approach: reliable technology at a better price along with a margin-rich, 100 percent channel-friendly sales model," he said.

Accepting for Ruckus was John Sampson, director of global channel programs.

The Enterprise Cloud Controller from San Francisco-based Meraki was runner up in the wireless category.

PCs, Workstations, And The Components That Power Them: Intel

Moltzen presented the Tech Innovator Award in the PC, workstation, and components category to Intel and its Core i5 platform.

Moltzen praised Intel's Core i5 platform for its speed, performance, energy efficiency, and consistency.

"(The Core i5) will provide a solid backbone for the next wave of PCs," he said. "This is a fast, powerful, versatile, and economical processor that allows users to perform demanding tasks such as composing digital music, editing digital photos, or playing the latest PC games."

Moltzen presented the award to Jennifer Huffstetler, product marketing manager for Intel.

Runner up in this category was HP's T5325 Essential Series Thin Clients.

Ultraportable: Lenovo

Correia said the CRN Test Center is not normally a fan of netbooks, but that Lenovo's ThinkPad x100e gave him a reason to make an exception.

"This winner's netbook is fast, its screen is large and bright, and the keyboard provides room enough to make it a suitable alternative to a full laptop for travel," he said.

Accepting for Lenovo was Wes Towns, North American ThinkPad product marketing.

There was no runner-up in this category.

Software Productivity: IBM

IBM won the Tech Innovator Award in the software productivity category for its LotusLive iNotes collaboration suite.

Moltzen said IBM has long been recognized as a trailblazer in the enterprise messaging space, and its LotusLive is synonymous with collaboration.

"And the same holds true when it comes to its hosted offerings," he said. "The CRN Test Center has found that this product provides, as a hosted solution, the functionality and security that has made Notes an on-premise standout over the years."

Our Tech Innovator award goes to LotusLive iNotes.

Ramsey Pryor, global offerings manager for LotusLive iNotes, accepted the award for IBM.

Runner up for this category was SpiceWorks, an Austin, Texas-based developer of freeware IT and network management software.

Servers: Intel

Intel received a second Tech Innovator Award, this time in the server category for its S3420GP server motherboard.

Correia said that the server market can be segmented an uncountable number of times, with solutions that are limitless and requirements that change every day.

"(Intel) has built a server board to be so flexible it can support every type of server from file-and-print to storage to appliances," he said.

Accepting for Intel was Jennifer Huffstetler, product marketing manager for Intel.

Runner up in this category was Startech, London, Ont.-based maker of the portable laptop crash cart adapter.

Software Enterprise Management: Zimbra

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Zimbra, which earlier this year was acquired by VMware, won the Tech Innovator Award for its Zimbra Appliance.

The Zimbra Appliance is an open-source solution for e-mail and collaboration delivered as a VMware virtual appliance, Moltzen said.

"As a result, solution providers can deploy a private e-mail and collaboration cloud, installed in less than 10 minutes," he said.

Accepting for Zimbra was Andy Pflaum, senior director of global partner strategy and programs.

Runner up in the category was APC with its InfraStruxure Central v6.

Storage: Cisco

The winner of the Tech Innovator Award in storage, which Correia called one of the most popular and lucrative technologies for solution providers, was Cisco and its Small Business NSS 300 Series Smart Storage appliance.

Cisco has parlayed its networking industry leadership into network attached storage, Correia said. "This particular product simplifies configuration and management, on-disk encryption, as well as flexibility," he said. "(Cisco) covers all the bases, protocols, topologies, platforms."

Accepting Cisco's second Tech Innovator Award of the day was Bill Luloffs, Cisco Product Management.

The runner up in the storage category was FalconStor for its NSS SAN Accelerator.

Virtualization: Kaviza

Kaviza, Cupertino, Calif., won the Tech Innovator Award in the virtualization category for its VDI-In-A-Box 3.0.

The VDI-In-A-Box 3.0 consolidates the company's provisioning and management features into a virtual appliance, Moltzen said.

"Managers can set up their VDI environments with one piece of software and a local server, getting a system up a running in hours," he said.

Accepting for Kaviza was CEO Kumar Goswami and COO Krishna Subramanian.

The runner up was Wyse and its Xenith product, which Moltzen said breaks ground on next-generation zero clients, delivering advances in performance, simplicity, and longevity.

Printing and Imaging: HP

HP won the printing and imaging Tech Innovator Award for its LaserJet Pro CM1415W and its color multifunction device. It was HP's second Tech Innovator Award of the day.

HP was also the runner up in this category with its PhotoSmart E-station printer.

Accepting the award for HP was Brian Schmitz, director of future product marketing Laserjet and Enterprise Solutions.

Security: Sophos

Winning the Tech Innovator Award in the security category was Burlington, Mass.-based Sophos, developer of the EndPoint Security and Data Protection Suite version 9.5.

The Sophos offering protects against malware and insider attacks with a cloud-based architecture, Moltzen said.

"(That architecture) offers real-time threat protection, runtime behavior detection, live URL filtering, and host intrusion prevention systems, analyzing more than 50,000 new malware samples daily," he said.

Accepting for Sophos was Matt Fogelgren, director of channel sales.

Runner-up in the security category was Nitro Security for its NitroView ESM.

Editor's Choice Award: ION

ION Computer Systems, Hauppauge, N.Y., won the Editor's Choice award for its SR-71 specialty server for media, broadcast, medical, financial, and other high-performance applications, Correia said.

"The award is given to a vendor that stands out above the pack with a product that provides innovation but also strong opportunities to the VAR community," he said.

ION has developed a high-performance solution in its SR-71 that incorporates solid state drive technology into a super-fast specialty server, Moltzen said. "By combining dozens of SSDs into a single, rackable server, the CRN Test Center found this solution to be one of the highest-performing systems it has ever seen in its lab," he said.

Accepting for ION was Keith Josephson, vice president of engineering, and Paul Scheremeta, vice president of marketing.

Runner up in this category was AccelOps, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based developer of integrated data center and cloud service monitoring software.