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IT professionals often set ambitious goals for themselves and their infrastructure. From better management of a hybrid cloud to cost tracking to performance measurement -- maybe even the implementation of DevOps -- these are complicated endeavors. What helps -- or, in fact, what's necessary -- in achieving those goals is the selection and use of the proper tools.
The Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards shine a light on the best of the tools and services that have arrived on the IT scene in the past year. These new products and expert services can make all the difference in a successful IT initiative. But which ones distinguish themselves? Which ones are truly the best of the best?
Here's your chance to weigh in. Tell us about your experiences with these products and services. It's time to find out which ones make a real and lasting impact.
Judges have selected finalists in each category. Be sure to review the finalists, and then vote using the form below or with this direct link.
Vote for your favorite products
Cumulus Networks' NetQ
NetQ runs data-gathering agents on switches running Cumulus Linux 3.3 or higher and servers running Ubuntu or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The agents stream information on all events that could affect network state to a Redis database, making testing, validating and troubleshooting easier.
Forward Networks' Forward Platform
Forward Platform continuously verifies that business-critical network connectivity and security policies are enforced. It collects network device configurations and current states and provides the ability to look at what configuration changes will do to an environment.
Big Switch Networks' Big Cloud Fabric 4.0
Big Cloud Fabric 4.0 is the industry's first data center fabric built using software-defined networking controller software and open networking hardware switches. Version 4.0 adds comprehensive networking support for hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) products and multicontainer networking support for Mesosphere DC/OS and Kubernetes container orchestration platforms.
VMware NSX for vSphere 6.3
NSX for vSphere provides data center administrators with a simplified operational model for the underlying physical network. The 6.3 release incorporates new Application Rule Manager and Endpoint Monitoring security capabilities, enhanced automation capabilities, improved application continuity via highly available active-active data center architecture and enhanced security tagging capabilities in multi-vCenter deployments.
Private and hybrid cloud management tool
Embotics' vCommander 6.0
Embotics' vCommander 6.0 is a hybrid management platform that provides capabilities that include self-service provisioning, governance policy enforcement, automation, orchestration and expense management to track costs and right-size cloud instances. The platform also provides customizable reports about resource consumption. vCommander 6.0 supports multiple hypervisors and public cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, as well as integration with third-party management tools through its representational state transfer API.
Terraform by HashiCorp is infrastructure-as-code software that enables enterprises to automate provisioning across platforms, including AWS, Azure, Google Compute Engine and OpenStack. IT teams control the software via a command-line interface and can also use configuration files and execution plans to change infrastructure to its desired state. Resource graphs provide additional insight into cloud resources and their dependencies.
New Relic APM
New Relic APM provides application monitoring and performance management capabilities for hybrid cloud environments. Self-service dashboards enable IT and development teams to visually monitor the health of applications, review performance metrics and gauge user experience in real time. The platform helps developers identify and analyze the cause of poor application performance and can also generate performance-related alerts. New Relic APM works on various cloud platforms, including AWS and Google.
ClearSky Data is a storage-as-a-service offering that provides on-demand primary storage, as well as backup and disaster recovery (DR), with built-in data protection. Users can access data on premises, in the public cloud or at DR locations without the need for replication. ClearSky uses a tiered storage system in which hot data is cached at the application's edge, warm data is cached at a point of presence near an enterprise's data center and all data -- including archived data -- is stored in multiple locations in cloud.
VMware vRealize is a software platform that enables an organization to create and manage a hybrid cloud with a suite of components: vRealize Automation, Operations, Log Insight and Business for Cloud. IT teams can personalize the infrastructure, provision and configure resources, automate application deployment and track costs across multiple environments. Customizable dashboards display system log data, and admins can troubleshoot with vSphere.
BMC's Cloud Lifecycle Management
BMC's Cloud Lifecycle Management is a software platform that provides a number of management capabilities for hybrid cloud. It automates management tasks, including provisioning and governance, and provides a dashboard to monitor cloud service health. Cloud Lifecycle Management also includes a self-service portal from which a user can deploy new VMs or full application stacks. The software integrates with DevOps tools to support continuous delivery.
Public cloud migration and optimization
Cloudability offers financial management tools to monitor and optimize public cloud costs. Users can create custom cloud usage reports and view dashboards to analyze spending across multiple clouds and multiple departments within an organization.
The CloudHealth platform provides integrated reporting, recommendations and active policy management across cloud environments. It includes tools for visualization, optimization and governance, along with trend analysis, capacity planning and resource automation.
Optima is a cost management service that combines existing RightScale analysis, reporting and forecasting tools for multiple clouds. It focuses on optimization through collaboration within an organization, automated actions, cost forecasting, analysis and reporting.
New Relic Digital Intelligence Platform
The New Relic Digital Intelligence Platform provides full-stack instrumentation with visibility into applications and infrastructure both on premises and in the public cloud. The platform relies on lightweight agents to collect real-time metrics through self-service dashboards, alerting and reporting.
Scalr Enterprise-Grade Cloud Management Platform
Scalr Enterprise-Grade Cloud Management Platform uses a hierarchical, top-down policy approach to standardize usage, manage application lifecycles, track spending and incorporate security and compliance policies.
PagerDuty's digital operations management platform
PagerDuty's event management and incident response platform helps companies keep pace with DevOps through machine learning features that correlate events and cut down on IT ops alert fatigue. Its platform update this year added a framework to orchestrate automated incident responses called Response Plays.
VictorOps correlates and sorts through IT monitoring data to extract actionable alerts for DevOps teams. The new Integration Hub and Integration Guarantee Program ensures that third-party products can integrate with VictorOps. Integrations under this program with ChatOps platforms, such as Slack, for example, link user accounts and allow operators to take action on incidents from ChatOps or VictorOps interfaces interchangeably while documenting incident responses.
New Relic Digital Intelligence Platform
New Relic expanded on its application performance monitoring products this year with full-stack DevOps monitoring features that incorporate information about the IT infrastructure and customers' business performance. The Digital Intelligence Platform also includes machine learning and data analytics to help customers make use of monitoring information and identify problems before they affect end users.
AppDynamics' App iQ Platform
The AppDynamics platform, now owned by Cisco, contains six IT performance measurement engines that link application and infrastructure performance information with business outcomes. Users can identify the impact of changes or incidents in the IT infrastructure on the health of the company at the individual transaction level and closely track end-user experience.
Datadog's SaaS full-stack monitoring product aggregates metrics and events from both applications and infrastructure. It also offers collaborative dashboards so that DevOps teams can discuss issues in context with production data and keep track of how incidents are resolved for future reference.
Converged and hyper-converged infrastructure
In January 2017, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) bought SimpliVity as a way to appeal to midsize enterprise customers with a more robust hyper-converged offering. Its current platform, HPE Simplivity 380, combines x86 servers, storage and networking and uses all-flash technology that promises reduced latency. Its built-in features include DR, compression and deduplication.
Nutanix is considered a pioneer of the hyper-converged market since its release of one of the first HCI products in 2011. A 2014 deal with Dell enabled Dell EMC to sell Nutanix software on PowerEdge servers. Nutanix Acropolis, its popular HCI platform, is a turnkey product that can be deployed in about an hour.
NetApp FlexPod HCI
NetApp FlexPod Converged Infrastructure won last year's MI Impact Award for best hyper-converged/converged product. In June 2017, NetApp released HCI built on SolidFire all-flash storage. Users can integrate a VMware vCenter plug-in for centralized management of infrastructure through an intuitive interface.
With its August 2017 acquisition of software partner Springpath, Cisco signaled its desire to compete in the growing hyper-convergence market. The HCI platform HyperFlex is engineered on Cisco's unified computing system, uses software-defined storage and integrates Cisco's HX-Series all-flash or hybrid nodes.
AWS consultant or integration partner
The small cloud-based managed services provider focuses on AWS, though recently it added support for Azure. Seattle-based 2nd Watch has worked with AWS since its founding in 2010, shifting thousands of enterprise and midsize business workloads into the cloud. 2nd Watch staff holds AWS certification in five categories and competencies in DevOps, financial services, life sciences, marketing and commerce, Microsoft workloads and migration.
The San Francisco-based consultancy delivers complex cloud projects for newcomers to the cloud. The AWS Premier Consulting Partner has staff with AWS certifications in five categories in addition to AWS competencies in big data, DevOps, marketing and commerce, mobile, migration and internet of things (IoT). The company helps deploy and automate new infrastructure and applications for clients, utilize vast amounts of data and adhere to best practices for security and compliance.
The small London-based company has attracted large global clients interested in migrating to AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform -- and it is known for its multicloud prowess. Cloudreach supports static, dynamic and Agile workloads. It has AWS competencies in DevOps, financial services, government, migration and security. Cloudreach, which has 11 locations across the U.S., Canada and Europe, cites database, content delivery and serverless computing among its strengths.
Datapipe has a variety of enticing features for companies migrating to AWS or Azure, particularly those looking to take a DevOps approach to development. The New Jersey-based managed services provider earned AWS competencies in Microsoft workloads, migration, Oracle and storage, and it counts data analytics, content delivery, DR, high-performance computing and IoT among its capabilities. Datapipe has four locations worldwide.
Flux7 employs AWS specialists and DevOps experts to appeal to businesses of all sizes. The AWS Premier Consulting Partner is based in Austin, Texas, and has earned AWS competencies in DevOps, healthcare, life sciences and migration. Flux7 helps customers accelerate time to market, boost security, optimize costs and reduce downtime and maintenance. Flux7 was the 2017 winner in this Impact Awards category.
Shifting from managed hosting to cloud managed services, Logicworks has evolved over its 24 years in the technology industry. The New York-based company specializes in hybrid cloud workloads, cloud migration, monitoring and assessment. Logicworks holds AWS competencies in DevOps, healthcare, marketing, migration and security. Logicworks, which is also an Azure partner, aims for finance, healthcare and retail customers.
Founded in 2013, REAN Cloud quickly made a name for itself after offering managed services for AWS in 2014. The Virginia-based company helps clients build and manage automation frameworks in AWS. In addition to staff certifications across five categories, REAN Cloud has a litany of AWS competencies, including DevOps, education, financial services, government, life sciences, Microsoft workloads, migration, security and storage. REAN Cloud has 13 locations in the U.S.
Systems management tool
LogicMonitor's LM Config
LogicMonitor's LM Config is an intelligent configuration management technology for users of the core LogicMonitor infrastructure monitoring platform. LM Config device and application configuration management alerts on changes so that users can track, manage and restore configuration files. It was developed for better visibility into applications and infrastructure and to ensure compliance in configurations, especially in distributed environments.
New Relic Infrastructure
New Relic Infrastructure monitors diverse IT environments, ranging from traditional servers to containers and cloud instances. The tool correlates configuration changes with health metrics in real time. It is designed to support rapid scaling and elasticity, with tag-based dashboard reporting and alerts. New Relic Infrastructure is part of the vendor's Digital Intelligence Platform for full-stack monitoring and analytics.
SolarWinds' Pingdom Server Monitor
SolarWinds' Pingdom Server Monitor is a SaaS-based server monitoring technology targeting DevOps environments. Dashboards update in real time, and users can create custom metrics and alerts. The server monitoring tool is designed to hook in with other DevOps tools, such as Chef and Puppet. The technology, formerly Scout Server Monitoring, is part of the Pingdom group of SolarWinds products for uptime and performance monitoring.
More information about the 2018 Impact Awards
Review the 2017 Impact Award winners
Look back to previous Impact Award winners in 2016