Fave Raves: 29 tech pros share their favorite IT products


IT favorites

When we asked IT pros about their favorite enterprise tech products, their picks included all kinds of hardware, software and cloud services. The common thread? Gear that saves time or money, increases IT agility or tightens security. Read on to find out what these 29 IT pros have to say, in their own words, about their tech favorites.

SEE ALSO: 5 must-have network tools | Go-to storage and disaster recovery products

carsel bester

VeloCloud SD-WAN

Why it’s a favorite: "We have just a handful of IT personnel responsible for supporting more than 60 retail offices with different business and homegrown applications supported by a fractured hub-and-spoke network system made up of MPLS/T1 and DSL broadband connectivity. We like VeloCloud because of its subscription-based pricing, the performance and network monitoring it gives us, and the fact that it provides a hybrid WAN solution that utilizes our two MPLS private links, ATT-U-Verse with cable, or any of our broadband DSL links… With VeloCloud, we went from near-zero to near-100% network visibility, giving our IT team 24/7 monitoring and troubleshooting across all 60+ stores, without our staff needing to be on premise."

Years in IT: 18

Upcoming IT projects: "I am excited about our data center refresh project because it gives me an opportunity to work with newer technology that will help make our small staff more efficient."

shawn umansky

Nasuni cloud storage

Why it’s a favorite: "Before Nasuni, planning for our storage needs was really difficult. We had trouble supporting highly data-intensive projects that required additional storage capacity, because it was so expensive to scale up. Now, it just takes minutes to add capacity, and that’s the way the whole platform works. It’s so easy to manage, and we can back up all of our file data during the day as often as we like, with the ability to instantly recover everything. I can’t tell you how awesome it is not to have to worry about storage so I can focus on serving faculty, staff and students."

Years in IT: 17

Upcoming IT projects: "We are excited to leverage the Nasuni storage platform to host student project portfolios. ... This provides each student with a secure space to save and develop their work, while allowing professors access to provide guidance and oversight as needed."

drew como

Veeam Availability Suite

Why it’s a favorite: "Availability 24-7-365 is paramount in our industry, because if at any time the system is down, game development teams get behind. With Veeam, I can quickly recover our data – and I’m talking in minutes, even for a big VM. Veeam has saved the day numerous times. Once, we had a software vendor who assured us that an upgrade would be quick and easy, so we went ahead with it. In fact, it destroyed a key database. Everyone panicked, but I said, ‘Hey, I think Veeam’s got this.’ I crossed my fingers, did a restore, and in 15 minutes the entire database was back online. I’ve used a lot of solutions in 20 years for backup and recovery, and nothing has been as fast or efficient as Veeam Availability Suite."

Years in IT: 21

Upcoming IT projects: "I’m really keen on the next evolution of virtualization and storage technology and how combined they can make enterprise systems more resilient in terms of disaster recovery and business continuity."

matt urness b

Jabra Evolve 40 MS Stereo headset

Why it’s a favorite: "These headsets are reasonably priced and offer a great level of passive noise cancelling, which is an absolute must in our open office environment. Users also love the fact that they can plug them into their smartphones and enjoy music in between their many conference calls. The Jabra Evolve series offers the perfect balance between a business and consumer device, in an attractive package that appeals to all."

Years in IT: 12

Upcoming IT projects: "As a UCC engineer we are continuing to replace existing phone systems with Lync/Skype for business enterprise voice. These projects excite me as I love being able to provide low cost/high value solutions to our businesses."

tadej vodopivec

Vidder PrecisionAccess

Why it’s a favorite: "Comtrade uses PrecisionAccess to protect applications from access by unauthorized users, regardless of where they are—inside or outside the corporate network. PrecisionAccess brings us multiple layers of defense by rendering applications literally invisible to unauthorized users. What’s cool is that even with stolen user credentials, attackers will not be able to access the protected applications using their laptops (aka untrusted devices). … This innovative solution gives us peace of mind as we collaborate internally and with external partners in a secure, controlled way."

Years in IT: 20

Upcoming IT projects: "I am very excited about a series of initiatives for securing the Internet of Things."

cartlton whitmore

DataCore SANsymphony-V

Why it’s a favorite: "It’s a feature-rich, hardware-agnostic SAN running on Windows. I can use any backend hardware that works for me. I can also attach the storage directly to my Hyper-V hosts. We’ve saved thousands of dollars using SANsymphony-V. We wouldn't have been able to virtualize our environment without it."

Years in IT: 32

Upcoming IT projects: "We’re moving our users to Office 365 mail. I won’t need to manage an Exchange server, freeing me up to do other things."

jessica johnson

AppRiver SecureSurf

Why it’s a favorite: "I like AppRiver’s Secure Surf because it offers an extra layer of protection against dangerous and possibly infected sites for users’ web-browsing. Being a hosting provider, we’ve got dozens of customers using it, and it is just as easy to setup as it is to manage. Because it is based on DNS forwarders, there is no in-line device or networking to configure, and clever users can’t bypass trying to proxy around it.”

Years in IT: 10

Upcoming IT projects: “Rolling out more instances of our desktop-as-a-service solution, which includes AppRiver’s SecureTide spam filtering service and SecureSurf web-filtering."

bruce hoffman

Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

Why it’s a favorite: "Cisco ISE has so many features that help make managing user-facing ports and devices very easy. Also as a tool it gives you a better view of monitoring and addressing port problems for a user. The other huge feature is that TACACS is integrated into Cisco ISE, so you can run Cisco ISE as a Radius server or TACACS server for your network devices. ISE has helped our company in a lot of ways… Since the implementation of ISE, we have been able to dynamically restrict machines’ access from devices and sites they are not permitted to go to. I have accurate data being archived from my network devices.

Years in IT: 10

Upcoming IT projects: "Setup of our redundant ISP. ... The other project that I am excited about is taking our Layer 2 broadband network and converting it to a Layer 3 MPLS network."

james ott b

Paessler PRTG

Why it’s a favorite: "PRTG is extremely reliable and very flexible. This product has become one interface for many different aspects of our network... In addition, PRTG has been able to provide us with data that we did not always have access to. By using the Extended MIB data from our devices, I was able to create sensors that in turn generate alarms when those devices begin to fail. This has saved us from disastrous failures. It has also greatly reduced our downtime, which makes our customers very happy!"

Years in IT: 16

Upcoming IT projects: "My next project is to move our backup and storage from onsite to a cloud-based solution. We are going to include bare-metal backups of each machine on our network. Combining that with my VMWare server, I can reduce the amount of downtime that my company could encounter."

mark kaplan

Dynatrace Ruxit

Why it’s a favorite: "[Dynatrace Ruxit] has helped simplify our monitoring and alert systems into one, all-inclusive package that provides full visibility into our environment. [Benefits include] “less downtime, less time identifying and resolving issues."

Years in IT: 30

Upcoming IT projects: "Migration to the cloud. It’s taken quite a while for us to get comfortable enough to begin moving production apps to the cloud."

matthew frederickson

Infoblox DNS, DHCP and IP address management (DDI); DNS Firewall; and NetMRI

Why it’s a favorite: "With more than 5,000 devices connected to the network, managing and securing district resources was a complex task. With the Infoblox solutions in place, we’ve not only prevented security compromises, such as curious students attempting an internal denial-of-service attack, but also enabled our IT department to identify ongoing issues, such as a machine infected with a botnet, which was resolved in five minutes of work. Without Infoblox DNS Firewall, it would have taken three weeks of troubleshooting to solve the problem. We can see the current state of all network switches at a glance, and the centralized DHCP control with role-based access gives technicians insight into current conditions without the possibility of accidental configuration changes."

Years in IT: 30

Upcoming IT projects: "Replacing our core switches; implementing 10GB between buildings; improving our security posture by leveraging ELK for log collection/analysis; and increasing our visibility into our SIEM (AlienVault)."

matt lehnen

Velocify sales team management software

Why it’s a favorite: "Velocify allows us very granular control over lead routing and distribution. The API is also extremely powerful and simple to integrate with. There are many ‘set it and forget it’ features that require very little babysitting except for performance monitoring. System tweaks and even major strategy changes can be accomplished quickly."

Years in IT: 15

Upcoming IT projects: "Deeper phone system and LOS integrations coupled with expanded analytics yielding more insight into campaign opportunities."

stan leszczynski

Wireshark network protocol analyzer

Why it’s a favorite: "Wireshark is an excellent tool that enables deep analysis and packet inspection to help network engineers quickly monitor, diagnose, and fix most networking issues. It’s also a great tool to learn about how computer networks operate at a low level, and how different vendors implement the same protocols. It’s always the first tool I install on my laptop, and I often recommend its use to customers and fellow engineers. It has a great user community, with many people willing to help you learn and use the tool. Best of all, it’s free!"

Years in IT: 19

Upcoming IT projects: "Very excited about two projects we are involved with in the near future. The first one is a large data center with a leaf-spine design utilizing the new Cisco 9k switches and some ACI (Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure). The other project is a complete replacement wired and wireless networks for a school district."

brian rossi

Gigya customer identity-management software

Why it’s a favorite: "Much of the identity functionality I envisioned for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's digital properties was already contained within Gigya's complete customer identity and access management (CIAM) platform, so the organization was able to save significant development time and resources. Since implementation, we were able to tie Gigya's identity management APIs to our pay meter in order to create a registration meter. The marriage resulted in high growth of registered users, provided valuable insights to our organization, and ultimately shortened the paid conversion funnel."

Years in IT: 15+

Upcoming IT projects: "I'm particularly excited about our continued growth in the digital subscription space and the advancements in our programmatic advertising landscape, specifically in mobile. There is a balance between paid subscriptions and digital advertising that we're heavily relying on analytics, data, and scientific process to obtain. We're doing some fun stuff with automation, too."

doug obermeier

Compuware Topaz

Why it’s a favorite: "Compuware Topaz creates a bridge for us, between our mainframe and distributed computing environments. The mainframe continues to play a huge role in our organization, handling 90% of our transaction processing work. ... Compuware Topaz enables us to continue to leverage the transactional strengths of our mainframe, while making it much easier for non-mainframe experts to interact with the mainframe. It has also helped us reduce the amount of time needed to migrate essential files from the mainframe to the distributed environment by about 75% to 80%.”

Years in IT: 25

Upcoming IT projects: "We want to use the mainframe for our most mission-critical transaction processing work. We are in the process of moving our assembler code off the mainframe and onto our distributed environment. Compuware Topaz will support this continued migration work and at the same time, enable us to support the critical code on the mainframe."

michael aigner

Dynatrace Application Monitoring

Why it’s a favorite: "As a fully e-commerce business, our website is our only sales channel, which means that it’s critical for us to nail the digital customer experience the first time around. Dynatrace’s APM solution empowers us to be able to monitor all transactions and gives us the actionable insight we need to proactively address the issues that affect our response times and customer experiences. … We’ve also been able to find and fix global bottlenecks that were previously unknown to us, and more easily resolve configuration problems that were causing a significant increase in bounce rates."

Years in IT: 9

Upcoming IT projects: "The rollout of our new ERP system, which will automate most of our processes and includes interfaces to all our suppliers and partners."

charles hausmann

Intermedia SecuriSync backup and file sharing

Why it’s a favorite: "We rely on SecuriSync as a two-in-one tool for consolidated file management and continuous backup of our documents, including secure access and protection of our corporate data... SecuriSync gives us instant access to relevant project documents in a shared folder, securely. This is crucial for us since we have team members across several different locations. Product team members can easily use SecuriSync to disseminate and collaborate on an extensive amount of content, while ensuring there is one master source for each project."

Years in IT: 20

Upcoming IT projects: "Rolling out a new big data platform."

doug schrier

OpenSpan Transformation Platform

Why it’s a favorite: "OpenSpan’s Transformation Platform collects all employee desktop activities in both productive and nonproductive applications, as well as time away from the computer. In the transportation and logistics management industry, profit margins are narrow. ... We always need to evaluate ways that we can drive down operational costs and maximize revenue. We now have a better understanding of how our employees work and how their activities translate into value for the company. We no longer use manual employee logs for supervisors to track activity and analyze numerous key performance indicators (KPIs), such as call volumes and handle times. We can now enable employees to work smarter and faster by providing work solutions that remove complexity and make processes simpler."

Years in IT: 5

Upcoming IT projects: "SAP BI implementation, because we believe that the insight into the organizations will drive us to the next level."

gean martinez

Salesforce Wave Analytics

Why it’s a favorite: "I like Wave Analytics because it provides both business and technical users with valuable insights. It is also very easy to use, as most of its features are used by point-and-click. Because of its mobile-first architecture, all dashboards that are built using Wave Analytics automatically render nicely on a mobile device. Finally, the product is very aesthetically pleasing. Other data discovery and analytics products just don’t offer these benefits. Wave Analytics benefits anyone who embraces data."

Years in IT: 12

Upcoming IT projects: "I am very excited about upcoming Salesforce Wave Analytics projects in the healthcare space because the value and insights gained will not only change a business for the better but can help change people's lives."

imran kasam

Mendix Business Modeler

Why it’s a favorite: Mendix Modeler, the visual modeling environment of the Mendix App Platform, "allows me to rapidly build and enhance our business applications as well as speeds up the R&D process when prototyping new features... It has allowed a small healthcare company to be able to produce its own custom software without the time and overhead normally required to have an in-house software development team."

Years in IT: 13

Upcoming IT projects: "I am excited about the upcoming applications I will be building for Memorial. I get to develop software to help efficiently coordinate data and tasks between the different departments of a healthcare provider, essentially providing a better experience for physicians and enhancing the quality of care for patients who use our diagnostic imaging services."

jared sund

Jitterbit Harmony

Why it’s a favorite: "Jitterbit Harmony, an integration tool that connects different applications to synchronize data and automate processes, ... works fast, is easy to use, and is also easy to embed within other products. We've been working with Jitterbit for a while at Autodesk, and it's becoming a key component of our own Autodesk PLM 360 product as well. Jitterbit is embedded in Autodesk PLM 360, so our users can connect various data sources and automate tasks between Autodesk PLM 360 and other apps."

Years in IT: 16

Upcoming IT projects: "I'm excited about our new Evented Web feature, powered by Jitterbit, that lets Autodesk PLM 360 users connect to other apps. This helps make the data within Autodesk PLM 360 more useful and get people using our applications even more."

mark elder

TIBCO Clarity

Why it’s a favorite: "Clarity has become an essential part of our product and service delivery architecture. It allows us to mass-process millions of data records in a very short period of time. It makes the cleaning and formatting of huge numbers of records much more cost effective, and we use Clarity for on-boarding and initial cleaning of client data sets prior to loading into our LeadCARE data quality system." 

Years in IT: 25

Upcoming IT projects: "Our new LeadMATCH lead processing platform, which is truly a game changer in its ability to take raw leads with little information and validate and enrich them to fully formed company and contact records."

mel heckman

TARGIT Decision Suite

Why it’s a favorite: "The TARGIT Business Intelligence Decision Suite has turned the business upside down (in a good way). The business now has access to data in ways it never has before. We’re most proud of what we call the ‘One Customer One View’ dashboards we built in TARGIT. Plano is a large, diverse organization made up of different operating companies on different data platforms. We used TARGIT to mash this data together. For the first time we were able to see a unified view of our customers across these companies. What a difference this makes in servicing our customers!”

Years in IT: 20+

Upcoming IT projects: "We plan on taking our business intelligence journey to the next level with TARGIT in the coming year. We will bring in a unified view at all functional areas like distribution, manufacturing, HR, purchasing, etc. It will be a game changer."

matt davis

Basho Technologies Riak distributed NoSQL database

Why it’s a favorite: "Proper database selection is important for many reasons, most notably as the foundation for service reliability. The choices made should also reflect an ability to scale and grow for the future of your business. I love Riak for its resilience and simplicity, and the OpenX advertising platform requires the kind of high availability and linear scalability it provides. Our SRE teams get a little more sleep because Riak is inherently fault-tolerant: it can self-heal when nodes go down and networks get separated.

Years in IT: 20

Upcoming IT projects: "At OpenX we're interested in efficiency and usability. We've learned a lot from scaling Riak in our global infrastructure, so I'm excited to embark on at least one project where we plan to scale our largest worldwide clusters into something even larger. In the name of scaling efficiency, datacenter abstraction and container scheduling is also on deck, which will also provide more on-demand resources to our engineers."

fuad rashid

Salesforce Chatter

Why it’s a favorite: "Chatter provides a forum where Vlocity employees can share insights and easily propose new ideas at the speed of social. Chatter provides my team with an improved way to communicate within the engineering department, [and] it has allowed Vlocity as an organization to connect, engage, and motivate team members to work efficiently across teams regardless of role or location. Ever since implementing Chatter at Vlocity, we have seen an increase in productivity and creativity. Chatter has created a much more connected organization by providing a way to communicate and share resources across teams. In addition, it is secure, reliable, and supports today's mobile workforce."

Years in IT: 17

Upcoming IT projects: "I am most excited about Vlocity's strategic partnership with Matrixx Software and the launch of ’Go Digital,’ a jointly-developed, cloud-based solution that helps communications and digital service providers deliver a differentiated customer experience and grow revenue."

steve putnam

CloudBerry Managed Backup

Why it’s a favorite: "CloudBerry Lab stands apart from other cloud-based backup services for several reasons. First, as an MSP, we can choose from a wide variety of low-cost secure backend storage providers. There is no storage lock-in. Second, the remote management capabilities are superb, allowing us to monitor and edit backup plans from a smartphone/tablet. Third, encryption is controlled on the client-side, providing superior security. The result is a flexible, cost-effective solution that makes end-customers feel confident that their data is safe."

Years in IT: 43

Upcoming IT projects: "Deploying Remote Server monitoring/management to multiple customers/locations – enhancing our ability to detect critical server issues before the client notices. Using Cloudberry backup software to offer disaster recovery services to Amazon EC2 for our financial customers who have strict RTO/RPOs for specific applications."

matthew porter

Ubersmith business management software

Why it’s a favorite: "Contegix is an IT hosting firm. We like Ubersmith because it provides us with a complete solution that helps us serve our customers. Some areas, such as bandwidth billing, are not unique to Contegix, but are important in our industry and Ubersmith handles these things really well. Where Ubersmith shines is by enabling us to focus on our higher-level management and monitoring platform that differentiates how we do managed cloud above our competitors. … We went from numerous sources of customer data to one - Ubersmith. That becomes extremely powerful when delivering managed services and critical infrastructure."

Years in IT: 20+

Upcoming IT projects: "Our unified cloud and storage platform, capable of blending our customers' on-premise and cloud environments."

vasil vykhopen

Globalscape Enhanced File Transfer

Why it’s a favorite: "At Exelegent, we work hand in hand with organizations that are highly regulated and have strict compliance guidelines. Having a reliable product like [Globalscape Enhanced File Transfer (EFT)] to address both PCI DSS and HIPAA challenges these organization face is incredibly powerful. We don’t just help organizations find the technology that will address their needs and IT environments, but we also provide specialized services to keep their information exchange infrastructure running at its best. As the former vice president of technology at Morgan Stanley, I can tell you that not having technology to manage data at rest or in motion puts your organization at risk for vulnerabilities, security risks and downtime. That’s just a chance we as IT leaders can’t afford to take anymore."

Years in IT: 25

Upcoming IT projects: "We are working with a billion-dollar leader in the enterprise information management space that came to us with the task of testing a new type of encryption (SHA2) using different protocols from the cipher suite."

justin anderson

Wowza Streaming Engine media server software

Why it’s a favorite: "Integrating Wowza technologies into our video platforms enabled us to create a streamlined solution that has unmatched video quality and delivery to any device plus easy recording and playback functionality. Perhaps most importantly for a company like G9MD that caters to healthcare users, Wowza give us peace of mind with built-in security and control across every part of the workflow."

Years in IT: 19

Upcoming IT projects: "We’re thrilled about our Social Business Ecosystem and private label program, and the upcoming launch of the G9MD.TV live video streaming and broadcasting platform for healthcare. With these services we’re enabling physicians worldwide to share knowledge and advance surgical techniques through mobile live video streaming."

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

Related Slideshows