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CRN's 2018 Products Of The Year

CRN editors looked at the best new products and major updates of 2018 and then turned to solution providers to choose the winners based on technology, revenue and profit opportunities, and customer demand.

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Major upgrades to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform over the past year have included improved capabilities for helping customers meet compliance standards, with templates offered for each customer’s compliance needs and a report on whether those standards are being met—along with changes to configurations that will help meet the compliance standards. “There used to be a significant level of effort to document and determine whether you are compliant,” said Bob Ballard, principal cloud strategist at Germantown, Md.-based Planet Technologies. “Basically, it’s starting to become plug and play.” Microsoft’s launch of Windows Virtual Desktop—which reduces desktop virtualization complexities with a new virtualized Windows and Office experience on Azure—has also been a key addition. It provides customers with the long-sought after “zero-touch desktop” solution, Ballard said. In conversations, “almost every customer has talked about it,” he said.

Subcategory Winner—Customer Demand: AWS Elastic Compute Cloud Updates 

Recent updates to the Elastic Compute Cloud from Amazon Web Services include a greater choice of EC2 instances—such as compute-intensive instances (which run at up to 4GHz), memory-optimized instances (which run at up to 3.1GHz) and memory-optimized instances paired with local NVMe storage.

Subcategory Winner—Technology: Google Cloud Platform Updates 

Recent enhancements for the Google Cloud Platform have included a new SAP solution set (for tasks such as automated invoice processing), new distributed ledger technology solutions and a new VMware plug-in for vRealize Orchestrator, which lets customers use GCP alongside their on-premises VMware environment.

Finalist: IBM Cloud Updates 

IBM Cloud’s recent expansion included the addition of 18 new availability zones—isolated instances of cloud inside a data center region—with new U.S. availability zones in Washington, D.C., and Dallas. Other IBM Cloud upgrades have included new capabilities to deploy Kubernetes clusters across multiple availability zones.

Finalist: Oracle Cloud Platform Updates 

New services introduced for the Oracle Cloud Platform over the past year included the world’s fastest compute processors and world’s fastest graphics processors for machine-learning workloads, according to the company. Oracle says its cloud also now offers the industry’s fastest block storage for I/O-intensive applications, such as databases.

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