The Most Innovative Products Of 2009

CRN and Everything Channel have pinpointed products from key areas of IT and singled them out for recognition in the 2009 Tech Innovator Awards. These products used new or innovative ways and approaches to bridge gaps between problem and solution, leading the way in a number of different segments in the industry.

Winner: InMage Systems, for its Scout product

The winner in this category is a product that takes a software approach to business continuity, providing protection for Windows, Linux or Unix servers on Intel platforms that use either DAS, NAS or SAN storage. Scout gives VARs and their customers a flexible, cross-platform approach to ease the process of replication and backup.

Winner: Ruckus Wireless, for the ZoneFlex 7962

The winner in this category is a company that first impressed the CRN Test Center last year with its approach to 802.11n connectivity and management, and continued to impress this year. Its flagship product, the ZoneFlex 7962, combines ease of deployment and management into the world's only dual-band 802.11n enterprise-class Access Point. It supports things like spatial multiplexing, automatic interference rejection and dynamic beamforming. That's easy for you to say...

Winner: Fortinet, for the Fortigate 620-B

The winner in this category has developed a product that provides multiple threat recognition systems into one, simple, appliance. This product includes a firewall, VPN, intrusion prevention, antivirus, antimalware, antispam and Web content filtering -- providing a single touch point to combat today's ever-changing, ever-growing network threats.

Winner: Citrix, for its XenServer virtualization solution

The winner in this category is a company that has re-invented itself several times throughout its history, and now is known as a leader in this growing and important segment. Its product, XenServer, immediately impressed the CRN Test Center with its ease of deployment, powerful capabilities and functionality that can scale up and down enterprises. And did we mention? This product isn't just innovative; It's available at no cost.

Winner: GFI Software, for GFI Max, also known as HoundDog

The winner in this category is a product that's also known as HoundDog, and it ain't nothing but a nice, innovative solution. This managed services solution allows an MSP to monitor a client's RAID arrays, remote offices, ISP and bandwidth performance -- in addition to the client's server. It's a holistic approach to remote services, and one the CRNTest Center found to be unique.

Winner: Digium, for the Switchvox AA300

The winner in this category is a product based on Open Source collaboration, which provides flexibility, scalability and ease of deployment for solution providers. The CRN Test Center likes the approach to Open Source this company has taken, tapping into a worldwide network of developers and refining code, hardware and know-how into an innovative approach for the channel.

Winner: FalconStor, for its File Interface Deduplication System (FDS)

The winner in this category is a company that has refined and delivered on the premise of deduplication -- or the process of maximizing storage capacity. In the process, it has created a solution that is uniquely positioned for backup, business continuity and data center consolidation -- all-important traits in delivering return on investment in a challenging IT environment. We liked this company's approach and dedication to getting it right in a time when cutting corners or offering 80 percent of what it delivered might have been tempting. This is a full, innovative solution.

Winner: Hewlett-Packard, for the HP Virtual Connect Flex-10

The winner in this category has developed what it says is a "change-ready" solution for data centers: A 10 Gigabit Ethernet Module for its blade server offering that removes complexity and adds flexibility -- two traits vital to running a smooth enterprise.

Winner: Hewlett-Packard, for the HP ProLiant G6 Line

The winner in this category has developed a product that can be summed up in three letters: R-O-I. This server system provides twice the compute power of its previous generation of server while using half the energy. This is a solution that can be deployed in all manner of enterprises -- whether consolidating or not -- to help businesses see critical costs savings as the economy rebounds.

Winner: ViewSonic, for its PJD6381

The winner in display/projectors is a veteran company in this space that, this time, has developed a projector with one of the shortest throw ratios available for a DLP projector on the market. Positioned as a strong solution for classrooms, as well as corporate and gaming audiences, the PJD6381 has come to market with top-notch innovation.

Winner: IBM, for its IBM z-Series Business Class Mainframe

The winner in this category is no stranger to the high-end server space. From the era of punch cards to today's market of doing more with less, this company now brings to market a business-class system that delivers the capacity of 232 x86 Servers for less than $100,000. We've done the math. That's impressive. This product reduces server sprawl, aids in consolidation, and is the centerpiece of an ecosystem with a robust and growing number of applications. For large enterprises, it's a must-look.

Winner: Hewlett-Packard, for the HP Scanjet 7000 Sheet-Feed Scanner

The winner in this category has brought to market a singularly efficient, enterprise-class scanning solution that allows a business to scan as much as 2,000 pages per day in a product that lists for less than $1,000. It can scan directly to applications like Microsoft Word or e-mail, and does so with a precision that makes the digital office an attractive proposition.

Winner: Panasonic, for the Toughbook H1

The winner in this category truly thought both outside the box and directly into a growing vertical market. By developing a ruggedized tablet for health care, this company tapped into demands required of health care professionals as well as its own heritage for making PC products that can take a beating. We like this company's approach with this product for many reasons, not the least of which it provides VARs with differentiation in a growing industry.

Winner: Samsung, for the Samsung UT Series Professional LCD

The winner in this category has packed the following into one signage solution: ultra-thin bezels, curved video walls, simplified maintenance and network content controls. This product simplifies signage, and provides clear, crisp viewing technology as well.

Winner: Hewlett-Packard, for its HP Z Workstation Series

The winner in this category has carved its reputation in just one word: Invent. With this product, it set out to reinvent the possibilities for workstation computing and the CRN Test Center came away impressed with the increasing capabilities it packed into a simple-to-use, industry-standard system.

Winner: Xerox, for the Phaser 7500

The winner in this category put an awful lot into a package that can sit on a desktop or in a small corner of a workgroup. This product produces high-quality, crisp and clear prints, color or monochrome, at 35 pages per minute. It provides straightforward operations and management capabilities and incredible ease of use. Along the way, this company continues to be an innovator with functions like booklet printing and watermarking -- all for under $2,500.

Winner: Zimbra, for Zimbra Desktop

The winner in this category is a leader in developing software with the flexibility to deploy in-house or in the cloud, and has added important functionality and management capabilities that enterprises of all sizes can find valuable. The CRN Test Center has looked at this offering, and found its core technology innovates in deployment and management, and at the same time offers valuable ease of use.

This award traditionally goes to the product that we at CRN and Everything Channel wish to single out for particular innovation, for forward-thinking and for a unique ability to connect with the channel and deliver innovation.

In this case, we were blown away by the features, design, engineering and performance of this 3-D rendering application that, in years past, would have only run on expensive, proprietary hardware.

The winner of this year's Editor's Choice Award is Autodesk, for Autodesk Inventor