2010 Technology of the Year Winners

The InfoWorld Test Center picks the year's best hardware and software for business computing.

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2010 Technology of the Year Awards

Chosen by InfoWorld Test Center reviewers, InfoWorld's Technology of the Year Award winners represent the best and most innovative hardware and software to meet our test bench in the passing year. If you want to know which products are leading the way in the datacenter, in the cloud, or on the desktop, or in software development, security, collaboration, or mobile computing, you'll find them right here.

Read the full story, "InfoWorld's 2010 Technology of the Year Awards."

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Intel Nehalem Processor (Xeon 5500 Series)

Nehalem isn't just a newer, faster chip — it's a game-changing development in microprocessor technology. It's true that a significant part of the Nehalem architecture mirrors AMD's Opteron design in integrating the memory controller on the CPU die, and QuickPath is very similar to AMD's Hyper Transport, but the results are indisputable: The Intel Nehalem is the fastest and most capable x86-based central processing unit available.

Related articles:

Intel's Nehalem simply sizzles

Nehalem workstations: A new era in performance

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Microsoft Windows 7

Windows 7 was built to fix the problems that plagued Vista, and it unquestionably succeeds in doing that. It's a bit less bloated, it runs a bit faster, and it even makes it easier and faster to organize files and launch programs. The annoying security alerts from User Account Control have been quieted. And the compatibility issues with third-party software and hardware device drivers have largely been ironed away. Windows 7 is not only a worthy successor to Windows XP, but a worthy challenger to Mac OS X.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system - including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts - see CIO.com's Windows 7 Bible. ]

Related articles:

Windows 7 RTM: The revenge of Windows Vista

PC vs. Mac deathmatch: Snow Leopard beats Windows 7

Windows 7 on multicore: How much faster?

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Cisco Unified Computing System

Cisco UCS is like no other blade-based server infrastructure available today. Its reliance on 10Gb Ethernet grants it plenty of bandwidth, while Cisco's model of treating chassis as simple extensions of the fabric allows for a new order of scalability and significant reliability. Cisco started from the ground up and really has built a new way to manage server resources.

Related articles:

Test Center review: Cisco UCS wows

How Cisco UCS reinvents the datacenter

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VMware vSphere 4

VMware vSphere 4.0 touches on almost every aspect of managing a virtual infrastructure, from ESX host provisioning to virtual network management to backup and recovery of virtual machines. Time will tell whether these features are as solid as they need to be in this release, but their presence is a substantial step forward for virtual environments.

See the review, "VMware vSphere 4: The once and future virtualization king"

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Citrix XenDesktop 4

Citrix System's XenApp and XenDesktop are examples of how desktop virtualization just might put a desktop server farm in every datacenter and a thin client on every desktop. XenDesktop weaves together all the prevalent desktop and application virtualization technologies into a single package: traditional application and desktop sessions, application streaming, and VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure). No matter which way you turn, the detriments of each is generally backed up by the benefits of another.

Related articles:

Citrix XenDesktop hits the VDI high notes

Citrix XenApp 5 extends the reach

InfoWorld's top 10 emerging enterprise technologies

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Sun VirtualBox 3.1

VirtualBox has evolved so quickly, it's almost hard to recognize it anymore. Features like 32-way virtual SMP support are unrivaled, while the inclusion of branched snapshots finally brings it on par with its commercial competitors. But the real shocker is the capability to dynamically move running VMs between VirtualBox host systems. Suddenly, this desktop VM solution is sporting speeds and feeds that seem more at home on a VMware ESX or Microsoft Hyper-V datasheet.

Read the review, "Desktop virtualization for Windows and Linux heats up"

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Compellent Storage Center 4.2

The Compellent Storage Center is a mature and sophisticated SAN system that combines enterprise class features, great performance over Fibre Channel or iSCSI, and remarkable ease of use. Wizards make everyday tasks simple enough for untrained administrators to do, while a command line scripting interface makes it simple for experienced admins to provision multiple LUNs with one step. In virtualization environments, cloning drives to make new VMs is very easy and quick, and protecting critical VMs via replication to a second array is a snap.

Read the review, "SANs tuned for virtualization pack nice surprises"

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Dell EqualLogic PS Series

The Dell EqualLogic PS4000 and PS6000 iSCSI SANs offer a great feature set at low prices, with excellent fault tolerance, blazing fast performance, and a hugely scalable design that guarantees that you cannot add storage without adding requisite redundant bandwidth. The management GUI is as good as any other, and the SAN HQ software gives a wide view of all storage components, processes, and performance.

Read the review, "SANs tuned for virtualization pack nice surprises"

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Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is something like the world's biggest shopping mall of cloud-based services. It boasts not only a wide range of service offerings, but a sizeable ecology of freeware libraries and tools for accessing them. While AWS's chief language of use is Java, you'll find tools for Python, JavaScript, Perl, Ruby, C#, and more. Finally, Amazon's micro-pricing architecture makes it possible for even the most cash-strapped developer to test the viability of a cloud-based application.

Related articles:

Inside Amazon Web Services

Amazon brings MapReduce to the Elastic Cloud

Amazon RDS gives you a MySQL server in the cloud

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Apache Hadoop

Hadoop is an implementation of the Map/Reduce algorithm developed by Google, running atop the Hadoop distributed file system (HDFS). Hadoop sees to it that distributed instances of your routines are executed, that input data is partitioned and sent to your routines, that the results are gathered and passed on to the next stage, and even that crashed instances are restarted and the situation is "healed." And Hadoop's scalability is practically linear. If your data gets twice as big, then double the number of systems in your Hadoop network. You need write no new code to accommodate the increase in the number of processors or expanded disk space; Hadoop sees to all that.

Related articles:

Open source Hive: Large-scale, distributed data processing made easy

Amazon brings MapReduce to the Elastic Cloud

InfoWorld's top 10 emerging enterprise technologies

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Amazon SimpleDB

Amazon's SimpleDB is precisely what its name implies: it is a simple database. Data is sorted in SimpleDB as name/value pairs, organized into items. The architecture of SimpleDB is best visualized as a table in a spreadsheet: attributes are columns, items are rows, and values are cell contents. Operations in SimpleDB are a minimalist's dream, and yet it offers a relatively sophisticated set of querying capabilties. SimpleDB is ideal for persistent storage and searching of structured data, if you can live without the sophistication and safeguards (and overhead) of a traditional SQL database.

Read the review, "Slacker databases break all the old rules"

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Eclipse

Eclipse is an open source integrated development environment that has grown into an extensible hosting platform for development tools. Eclipse began life as a Java development tool, but its plug-in architecture has allowed it to provide development environments for languages including C/C++, PHP, Python/Jython, Ruby, Tcl, JavaScript, and more. This versatility is particularly attractive in areas where software development requires working in multiple languages.

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Apple iPhone OS 3.0 and App Store

The iPhone and App Store went toe to toe with the BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Storm 2, Palm Pre, and Motorola Droid in the past year, and emerged without a scratch. If you want a smartphone that takes full advantage of Web connectivity, applications, and personal media — and that you can also use for business connectivity such as e-mail and calendaring — the iPhone is it.

Related articles:

Ultimate mobile deathmatch: iPhone vs. BlackBerry vs. Droid vs. Pre

Your next iPhone: iPhone 3.0 update or iPhone 3GS?

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WebKit

If you want to build an app that runs on multiple smartphones, there's no need to learn Java, Objective-C, and regular C to target the major platforms. A bit of JavaScript and CSS encapsulated in a Web site will run on the iPhone, the Palm Pre, and any Android phone because the WebKit engine renders everything. BlackBerry users can grab Bolt, a third-party browser built around WebKit.

Related articles:

iPhone development tools that work the way you do

InfoWorld's top 10 emerging enterprise technologies

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Google Chrome 3.0

Google delivered not one, but two major Chrome releases in 2009, and a third is well on its way. Chrome is not only evolving quickly, but its multi-process design and its innovative security model have yet to be matched. Plus, it's one of the fastest browsers around, as a visit to SunSpider, Google's V8 Benchmark Suite, and other online JavaScript benchmarks will attest. And when it comes to page rendering and Web standards compliance, Chrome ranks among the best.

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Telligent Enterprise 2.0

Telligent offers very strong internal colllaboration and community products. Enterprise 2.0 lets you integrate existing business applications, including SharePoint and enterprise search products. Community 5.0 includes Twitter-like activity streams and drag-and-drop dashboard customization. Social analytics (currently in preview) help you track and measure customer interactions.

Read the review, "Enterprise social software spurs connections"

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LifeSize Express 220

This reasonably priced, easy-to-use video communications system delivers telepresence to any room. High-definition video makes participants appear true-size, while high-quality, echo-free audio contributes to the immersive experience. There's dual-stream support for sharing multimedia content. You invoke calls and manage conferences using a pleasurable on-monitor interface coupled with a custom remote control.

Read the review, "Midrange telepresence systems marry high quality with affordability"

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Sophos Endpoint Security and Control

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control has client security covered with antivirus, antispyware, firewall, application control, host intrusion protection, and network access control. The management console is very intuitive and the reporting engine provides all the information admins will need. Sophos has heavy competition in the endpoint security space, but its combination of broad client support, strong security services, ease of administration, and well-rounded reporting set it apart.

Read the review, "Endpoint security shootout: Five products compete to protect client systems"

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Bit9 Parity Suite

Bit9 Parity is one of the few computer security products that, if deployed in your Windows environment, will radically and immediately reduce your enterprise's level of security risk. Parity can report a risk metric for each file it discovers on a system, rolling up the cumulative results into a risk rating for the whole computer, and even providing an overall risk ranking for the enterprise's entire collection of managed computers. Bit9 Parity doesn't corner the market on every unique whitelisting feature, and it's missing a few of the cool features found in some competitors, but its trust and risk ratings mark it as the whitelisting program to have.

Related articles:

Test Center review: Whitelisting security offers salvation"

InfoWorld's top 10 emerging enterprise technologies

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Autonomic ANSA Platinum Suite Autonomic Software provides an excellent power management product that won't cost anything to install, because pricing is a portion of the power savings. The flexible but easy-to-use policy engine allows settings for different times of day and days of the week, and flexibility far beyond what's available in the Windows control panel. The suite offers a plethora of other management functions, some of which are included free with the power management piece.

Read the review, "Centralized PC power managers not created equal"

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.