8 Buzzworthy Networking Products

And The Winner Is ...

The Best Of Interop Awards pay tribute to some of the most innovative vendors and products to come out the annual networking event. This year, nearly 150 products were selected for Interop judges to review, with only seven of them ultimately taking home a prize.

The judges' decisions were meant to reflect the products showing "the most potential of advancing the business technology market" and were split across seven Best of Interop Awards categories: Cloud Computing and Virtualization; Data Center and Storage; Management and Monitoring; Networking; Performance Optimization and Testing; Security; and, Wireless, Mobility and BYOD Support. There was also an award given for the overall Best of Interop Award, Best Start-Up and Audience Choice.

Here are this year's Best of Interop winners.

Cloud Computing And Virtualization

ExtraHop Networks took the hotly contested Cloud Computing and Virtualization category with its ExtraHop for Amazon Web Services (AWS) product, a traffic and application monitoring solution for Amazon's popular cloud service.

The aim of ExtraHop for AWS is to ease some of the security and performance headaches associated with the public cloud, providing a set of monitoring and analysis capabilities that can span cross-tier public cloud deployments. In addition to automatically identifying and classifying all applications communicating on AWS, ExtraHop also analyzes all AWS traffic on a continual basis, arming users with a real-time glance into their cloud's inner workings.

ExtraHop beat out finalists Brocade and Extreme Networks to take the Cloud Computing and Virtualization category, and it was also the only vendor to be a finalist in multiple Best of Interop categories.

Data Center And Storage

Besting storage giants HP and Dell in Interop's Data Center and Storage category was OCZ Technology, an SSD maker based in San Jose, Calif.

OCZ took home the gold for its ZD-XL SQL Accelerator, a plug-and-play flash acceleration solution for SQL server deployments. According to OCZ, the product is a unique mix of enterprise-grade hardware and software that works to ensure the appropriate data is on an SSD flash whenever an SQL server needs it. The ZD-XL Accelerator can be plugged into either an existing or new SQL installation, and it provides flash caching for SAN or DAS database volumes.

Management And Monitoring

Infrastructure management software provider ScienceLogic beat out rivals iTrinegy and ExtraHop Networks in the Management and Monitoring category this year, earning the top spot for its new EM7 v7.3 software.

In its latest iteration of EM7 -- its management software that helps users keep tabs on IT operations related to everything from the data center to the cloud -- ScienceLogic delivers new features optimized for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and VMware's vCloud Director. Among these new features, the EM7 includes a dashboard for tracking the performance, availability and billing information related to AWS, along with service-level monitoring for VMware cloud assets across public, private and hybrid cloud environments.


This year's Interop was a big one for Arista Networks, which took home a win in the Networking category and the overall Best of Interop Award for its 7500E Data Center Switch.

Arista's new 7500E switch represents the next-generation model of its flagship Arista 7500 modular switching platform, and it is optimized for data centers embracing the cloud, big data or software-defined networks. Said by Arista to be the fastest and most scalable data center Ethernet switch on the market, the Arista 7500E offers three times the fabric bandwidth, control plane performance and power efficiency of the Arista 7500, and it also touts a triple-speed 10/40/100GbE line card.

Other contenders in the Networking category included NetScout Systems and Aryaka Networks.

Performance Optimization And Testing

Talari Networks beat out PathSolutions and Mellanox Technologies this year to receive the Best of Interop Award in the Performance Optimization and Testing category.

Talari took home the gold for the latest version of its Adaptive Private Networking (APN) operating software, which supports Talari's family of Mercury WAN appliances and lets enterprise networks automatically adjust themselves based on changes in traffic flows and bandwidth.

Key features of APN 3.0 include Single Point Configuration, or the ability for Talari's WAN appliances to communicate with one another and eliminate the need for individual device configurations.


The Hacker Academy rose to victory in the Security category this year, beating out competitors Solera Networks and F5 Networks with its unique training platform for security professionals.

A firm holder of the "it-takes-one-to-know-one" mentality, The Hacker Academy won for its HackRack Appliance, a unique training module that simulates a hacking situation to help IT professionals prepare for the worst. According to the Academy, its training platforms can yield some of the world's most skilled "Ethical Hackers" and Penetration Testers, capable of warding off attacks big and small. The Hacker Academy offers training tools for a variety of skill levels and officially launched in May 2010.

Wireless, Mobility And BYOD Support

Citrix was crowned the Best of Interop Winner in one of the event's most buzzed-about categories this year: Wireless, Mobility and BYOD Support.

Citrix won for its Mobile Solutions Bundle, a solution set bundling Citrix's XenMobile Mobile Device Management (MDM) tool with its CloudGateway application management tool. The combined product, Citrix said, is one that arms users with a complete, end-to-end solution for managing their BYOD landscapes. While XenMobile provides security and provisioning features for the actual mobile devices being used, CloudGateway helps IT keep tabs on the applications being used on those devices and even provides an enterprise app store for end users.

Citrix -- which also won the Interop Audience Choice Award for its Mobile Solutions Bundle -- beat out rivals Cisco and Mersive in the Mobility category.

Best New Start-Up

Interop judges presented the Best New Start-Up Award to VDO360, a specialist in Unified Communications hardware.

VDO360 offers a variety of UC equipment, ranging from webcams to microphones, but its claim to fame is perhaps its VDO Cart, which bundles together a 12-time optical zoom PTZ camera, a professional grade microphone, LED monitors, and Intel i7-based computer for top-notch graphics, video and Blu-ray presentations. As its name suggests, all this equipment is bundled together on top of a sturdy, moveable cart, so users don't need to confine their UC experience into a single conference room.

The VDO Cart has software codecs for UC apps including Skype, Microsoft Lync, Cisco Jabber and Polycom m100, and it priced at just under $5,000.

Interop said the Best New Start-Up award was up for grabs among all Best of Interop entries, as long as the vendor didn't exist as an independent company prior to Jan. 1, 2012.