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CRN's 2017 Products Of The Year

For this year's Products Of The Year, CRN editors selected five product finalists among 20 top technology categories for the IT channel. After a survey that netted more than 4,000 responses, here are the hot products that stood out from the rest in 2017.

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Microsoft calls Storage Spaces Direct, a software-defined storage rival to VMware's vSAN, "the foundation for our hyper-converged story." A component of Windows Server 2016, Storage Spaces Direct leverages standard servers and local-attached drives to provide low-cost software-defined storage, which rates highly on both availability and scalability. Key features include caching and erasure coding, and Storage Spaces Direct offers strong performance by working in tandem with hardware advances such as NVMe drives. Michael Thomaschewski, chief technology officer of hybrid infrastructure at Calgary, Alberta-based Long View, said Storage Spaces Direct's technology around data portability is a winning concept -- and he's looking forward to seeing what Microsoft does with the product down the road. "I think there's a lot of promise there," he said.

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