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Network World - Network World tested hundreds of products in 2013, but here are our top 10 tests of the year. In order to make the list, the product review had to be a comparative test of multiple products in a single category and it had to break new ground or deliver fresh insight into an important product area.
Here’s the list:
1. WAN OPTIMIZATION – JOEL SNYDER
We invited every major network optimization vendor, and ended up with seven contenders: Blue Coat, Cisco, Citrix, Exinda, Ipanema, Riverbed and Silver Peak.
Our Clear Choice Test winner is Riverbed, which excels at the core WAN optimization functions of compression and de-duplication. If you’re looking for innovation, you’ll be as impressed, as we were, with Ipanema Technologies ip|engines and Exinda Networks x800-series.
For great performance, we were again impressed with Silver Peak. And if you’re running all Cisco at the network edge, Cisco’s WAAS is a no-brainer with big benefits at moderate cost.
2. MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT – DAVID STROM
We looked at six products: AirWatch, Apperian EASE, BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 (BES10), Divide, Fixmo, and Good Technology's Good for Enterprise. Each has a somewhat different perspective and different strengths in terms of what it can control best.
AirWatch had the widest phone/tablet/desktop support. But it also requires a collection of different downloaded apps that could be confusing to use. If you’re going the secure container route, Fixmo is a strong contender.
BlackBerry should be on your short list if your primary goal is protecting your messaging infrastructure. Good Technology is a mature product that features solid email security, fast device enrollment, extensive security policies and wide device support.
Divide had the most appealing management console and overall simplest setup routine. It features the best overall approach to MDM and is the easiest to operate, but has the most limited device OS version support. Apperian does a great job with setting up a protected app portal, but falls down on some basic MDM issues.
3. MIDRANGE MANAGEMENT TOOLS – BARRY NANCE
If your network has between 1,000 and 10,000 devices and computers, you have a midsized network. Your servers, connections and other resources suffer the same problems as larger networks, but your budget for keeping the network healthy is less than what large enterprises enjoy.
We tested six products that provide a management suite for mid-range networks: Paessler PRTG v12.4, Heroix Longitude v8.1,
HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC) Standard and Enterprise v5.2, Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold (WUG) v16, SolarWinds Orion Network
Performance Monitor (NPM) v10.4 and Server & Application Monitor (SAM) v5.2 and Argent Software Advanced Technology (AT) v3.1,
including Argent Commander 2.0 and Argent Reports 2.0.
Argent Advanced Technology earns itself the Network World Clear Choice award, edging Heroix Longitude, which came in second. Advanced Technology gave us sophisticated thresholds, a responsive user interface, accurate device discovery, time-saving root cause analysis, helpful corrective actions and meaningful reports.