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Old 01-10-2009, 03:32 AM
Sumathi Sumathi is offline
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Thumbs up The Best Products Of 2008




Think of 2008 as the year of the milestone.
There were milestones reached in processing performance, operating system performance and functionality. Notebooks pushed the envelope on smaller form factors and battery life, and desktops made a strong comeback from a performance, function and design perspective.
More of IT now scales from the browser to the data center than ever before, and technology providers managed to make cost, return on investment and manageability critical.
The Test Center evaluated hundreds of products in 2008, from the palmtop to the data center and everything in between. In selecting each product of the year, Test Center editors needed to make sure that there was a critical offering to the market at large, significant value to the end user and immediate impact on how the lion's share of solution providers in the channel would think about and deliver technology.
Let us know what you think about our choices, and your own favorite products this year, in our forum.
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Old 01-10-2009, 03:33 AM
Sumathi Sumathi is offline
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Wireless
WINNER: Ruckus ZoneFlex 7942
The drive to provide next-generation wireless technology has proven difficult at times for the IT industry, and the move to an 802.11n standard is not without its own special issues. But the promise of huge performance boosts and new opportunity to deliver value in wireless solutions can't be ignored in this new technology area, and one company that stands apart here is Ruckus Wireless Inc. with its ZoneFlex 7942 802.11n access point.

The Ruckus access point technology uses patent-pending horizontal and vertical polarized antennas that are able to coordinate multiple paths as signal strengths change on a client. The antennas are designed for high performance in semipenetrable walls because they use beam steering to refocus access to connected clients.
The product also has a nice detailed Web management interface, allowing for complete remote management while at the same time avoiding a cluttered look. Ruckus supports a variety of authentication methods—not only RADIUS, but authentication can be set up against Active Directory and other databases, enabling the integration of security from a wired network. The company also has a patented dynamic PSK security solution: Each user is assigned a dynamic PSK key that is revocable.
Importantly, Ruckus ZoneFlex works and is manageable for VARs that want to begin delivering this new generation of wireless technology to customers.
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Old 01-10-2009, 03:33 AM
Sumathi Sumathi is offline
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Desktop
WINNER: Dell Vostro 220
This was a difficult choice for several reasons, not the least of which is the continuing comment from many solution providers that Dell Inc.—a relative newcomer to the channel—still needs to work on developing trust as a business partner. But in the end, the Vostro 220 proved itself to be a significant enough new product, aimed right at the channel's wheelhouse, that it couldn't be ignored.

The Vostro 220 we reviewed was built with an Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 CPU at 2.53GHz and 4GB of RAM. Testing with Geekbench, the PC scored 2,776—less than the Vostro 200 but higher than the other business desktops we took up for this review. Running a standard workload, the V220 drew 64 watts of power and threw 79 degrees at its vent. Its noise level was below the ambient sound in the lab and our decibel meter's threshold of 50. It was as solid a performer as we've seen this year, list-priced at $319, with no gunkware preloaded to annoy customers. It's simple, it's solid, and it's aimed directly at the heart of small and midmarket businesses.
The Vostro 220 does what it sets out to do—very well—and for that reason it's our desktop of the year.
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Old 01-10-2009, 03:34 AM
Sumathi Sumathi is offline
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Notebook
WINNER: Lenovo ThinkPad X300
Lenovo Group took a fresh, new approach with its ThinkPad lineup this year—starting off a revamp with its slimmest, lightest, coolest notebook yet with the ThinkPad X300. Less than 1 inch thick and weighing less than 3 pounds, Lenovo delivered the X300 as a serious, business-ready notebook with strong performance and no compromise. It comes with an optical drive and several USB ports.

The company delivered the X300 weeks after rival Apple unveiled the MacBook Air—a thin, light and sleek notebook that runs OS X and, famously, is capable of sliding into a manila envelope. Unlike the X300, though, the MacBook Air comes without an optical drive and forces a trade-off of function for mobility and design.
It's not just the speeds and feeds that set the ThinkPad X300 apart. It's the complete package: performance, mobility, design, engineering and business integration. Priced at the upper range of the notebook space at just less than $3,000, it is about on par with other thin-and-lights in this class. But, really, the Test Center believes the X300 is in a class of its own.
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Old 01-10-2009, 03:34 AM
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Operating System
WINNER: Microsoft Windows Server 2008
Server 2008 is greener, thinner and far more sophisticated than its predecessors. Microsoft Corp. has added every possible service that an operating system can support, all included with the cost of one license.

Built on the same code base as Vista, Windows Server 2008 is more formidable than its desktop cousin. Why? Streamlined server roles, great performance and a bundled hypervisor all contribute to making this Microsoft's best server operating system to date.
Securitywise, Windows Server 2008 seems to be a winner, so far. A battery of tests done against it, including Core Security Technologies' Core Impact, could find no way to penetrate the system.
In addition, diagnostics and troubleshooting have been greatly improved with this platform. Error messages are logged and detailed in a manner that helps to resolve issues quickly.
Server 2008 also plays nicely with other Microsoft components. It was so easy to deploy DNS, DHCP and Active Directory with 2008 as the domain controller. Even better, the once-painstaking install and configuration of Exchange Server is tamed by wonderful communication between Server 2008 and Exchange 2007.
Other Goodies
• Improved hot patching
• Dynamic hardware partitioning
• Group policy enhancements
• 256-bit AES encryption support
• Improved user interface
• Windows Power Shell for script-based configuration and management; really lets an administrator get under the hood for administrative tasks
• SMART detection for hardware failure
• Terminal Services RDP 6.0 support—betterperformance, more secure
• Serve Core installation mode—reduces the chances of Windows being attacked

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