The Virtualization Review Editor’s Choice is a selection of the most outstanding virtualization products of 2016. It is based on the opinions and overlooks by the trusted experts in the fields of virtualization and cloud computing. This is not the “best of the best rating”. No criteria were applied to make the list. This is just the collection of individual choices of writers, who deal with the industry daily, so they have pointed out virtualization solutions they found especially interesting and useful.

Trevor Pott from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is given to systems administration, technology writing and consulting. He consults Silicon Valley startups for them to get a better understanding of system administrators as target customers. For this review, Trevor has selected the following products:

HC3 from Scale Computing. This is an inexpensive hyperconverged appliance, which seamlessly overcomes power outages and other emerging difficulties. To improve, it needs a self-service portal, a virtual marketplace, and a UI to handle 1,000 and more VMs more efficiently.

Remote Desktop Manager (RDM) from Devolutions. The RDM allows to open a host of different applications into a collection of servers with only one click. Instead of a series of separated administrative control panels and connectivity applications, you easily bring up a suite of connectivity options.

Hyperglance from Hyperglance Ltd. allows seamless visualizing and exploring of a complex infrastructure and much simplifies identifying and diagnosing issues with infrastructure or networks. Hyperglance is an early startup, so they go for constant upgrade. The solution they are offering is innovative and unique in the market.

NSX from VMware Inc. is a network virtualization platform, which allows reproducing an entire networking environment in software. What it lacks are cost-efficiency and simplicity, but these can be smoothed over with time and competition.

5nine Manager from 5nine Software Inc. simplifies Hyper-V management for those businesses, that lack staff to arrange Microsoft System Center.

Mirai IoT Botnet has done several successful attacks against high-profile targets and afterward, has established itself in the “dark Web”. “While the Mirai botnet would get recognition on its own for actually finding a use for all the IoT garbage we keep connecting to the Internet, its true benefit is its service as both a sharp stick in the eye to the world’s apathetic legislators and an enabler for unlimited “I told you sos” from the tech community”, –Trevor Pott says.


Jon Toigo has been in IT for 30 years already. He’s the managing partner of Toigo Partners International, and the chairman of the Data Management Institute, which focuses on the development of data management as a professional discipline. He thinks 2016 was developing in terms of the vision and promise of both cloud computing and virtualization. Among the innovators Jon mentions DataCore Software, Acronis Software, StrongBOX Data Solutions, StarWind Software, and ioFABRIC, that contributed into the progress of the software-defined storage (SDS) space and cloud storage from the standpoint of agility, resiliency, scalability and cost containment. Here is Jon’s personal collection of virtualization solutions he found interesting:

Adaptive Parallel I/O Technology from DataCore. The testing of this technology has proven that parallelization of RAW I/O significantly improved the performance of VMs and databases with no changes for storage topology or storage interconnects. Apart from having shown that storage I/O latency isn’t the fault of slow VM performance, DataCore expanded consideration of what functionality must be there in a properly defined SDS stack. That is to say, SDS shouldn’t be just a stack of software services on a server, which before was hosted on an array controller. It should also contain the virtualization of all storage infrastructure, to enable allocating capacity independently of hypervisor silos to any workload in the form of logical volumes. Also, there must be RAW I/O acceleration to support system-wide performance.

Acronis Storage from Acronis International GmbH has become the first SDS stack released by this company, which before used to dwell in the very crowded server backup space. With Acronis Storage, Acronis team introduced CloudRAID into its SDS stack. CloudRAID makes it possible to achieve a more robust and reliable data protection as compared to what other RAID functionality implemented siloed arrays can offer.

Vicinity from ioFabric Inc. is especially valuable with its idea of the automation of the pooling of storage and the migration of data between pools, for the sake of load balancing or hierarchical storage management.

Virtual Tape Library (VTL) from StarWind Software Inc. VSAN from StarWind is a worthy competitor to VMware vSAN and similar products. However, StarWind decided to move beyond and in 2016 introduced its Virtual Tape Library (VTL) solution. It is a software-defined virtual tape library created as a VM with an SDS stack. Optionally, it can be a gateway to cloud-based data backup. StarWind VTL provides convenient data backup, especially for branch and remote offices with their limited IT teams. It can integrate into converged or hyperconverged clusters of SDS storage and be used as a copy target. Also, it can replicate its data to another VTL without creating performance latency.

StrongLINK from StrongBox Data Solutions collects real-time data about data, storage infrastructure, interconnects, and services in order to implement policy-based rules for hosting, protecting, and preserving file and object data over the life of the data. It automates the granular management of data itself, no matter what the characteristics, topology or location of data storage assets are.


Brien M. Posey is a seven-time Microsoft MVP and has got over 20 years of IT experience. His writer’s heritage includes thousands of articles and contributions to several dozen books on various IT topics. The products he included into his overview are as follows:

Virtualization Manager from SolarWinds Worldwide LLC is a tool for managing heterogeneous virtualized environments. It works for managing both VMware and Hyper-V equally well.

Turbonomic from Turbonomic Inc. is a great solution for virtualization infrastructure automation. It monitors hosts, VMs and dependencies trying to assess application performance and can add or remove resources like CPU or memory upon the current needs. It can also automatically scale workloads by spinning VM instances up/down. This works for both on-premises workloads and workloads in the public cloud.

System Center 2016 VM Manager from Microsoft is obviously the best tool for managing Microsoft Hyper-V. The 2016 version is updated with new and quite useful functionality – for instance, the checkpoint feature has been updated and now is able to use the Volume Shadow Copy Services, making checkpoints suitable for production use. Also, now there is support for Nano Server, and the SDN stack can be deployed from a service template. What would make VM Manager 2016 even better would be upgrade of support for managing VMware environments, which is now more a convenience feature, rather than a viable management tool.


Paul Schnackenburg is MCSE, MCT, MCTS and MCITP, who started in IT in the days of DOS and 286 computers. He runs Expert IT Solutions, which is IT consultancy focused on Windows, Hyper-V and Exchange Server solutions. Paul’s list consists entirely of Microsoft products:

Operations Management Suite from Microsoft is a perfect tool to monitor, protect and manage workload in a cloud. It has 25 packs, which take log data and provide a perspective for Active Directory, SQL Server, Containers, Office 365, patch status, antimalware status, Azure Site Recovery and networking, as well as VMware monitoring. It covers both Linux and Windows workloads either on-premises, in Azure or in another public cloud. Also, OMS can use System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) agents to upload the data to the central SCOM server and from there to the cloud.

Windows Server 2016 from Microsoft has got plenty of new and improved features, best of them being improvements in Hyper-V like 24TB memory and up to 512 cores with hyperthreading in a host, along with 240 virtual processors and up to 12TB of memory in a VM. There is also a remarkable upgrade in terms of the storage – Storage Spaces Direct. It uses internal HDD, SSD or NVMe devices in each host to create a pool of storage on two to 16 hosts. New filesystem ReFS allows fast creation of fixed-size virtual hard disks and merging checkpoints. It is now the preferred file system for VM storage and backup. There are also several interesting upgrades in terms of backup, as well as in PowerShell Direct and Windows Server.

System Center 2016 VM Manager from Microsoft allows automatically deploying bare metal servers as Hyper-V or storage hosts. There is also an option to create hyperconverged clusters with Hyper-V hosts acting as storage hosts using Storage Spaces Direct (S2D). Also, VM Manager can control the Host Guardian Service to build Guarded Fabric and Shielded VM, as well as the new feature named Storage Replica, which enables replication of DAS or SAN to a different location, synchronously – for zero data loss – or asynchronously, if the distance is long.

Azure Stack from Microsoft. It is commonly known that public Azure runs on Hyper-V, which provides for easy portability of on-premises workloads. But the deployment and management stack around on-premises and public Azure are mostly different. With Azure Stack, ARM templates work identically across both platforms, which is essential, especially combined with the fulfillment of a true hybrid cloud deployment model.


Dan Kusnetzky is a reformed software engineer and product manager. He founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He has written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He’s also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm. Below is Dan’s personal overview of virtualization products 2016.

SANsymphony and Hyper-converged Virtual SAN from DataCore Software. SANsymphony is powered by the Parallel I/O technology, which breaks down OS-based storage silos, allowing to get higher server performance. SANsymphony itself is a storage virtualization solution, which helps to boost IT infrastructure performance, availability and resources utilization. Hyper-converged Virtual SAN allows to create a hyperconverged infrastructure on the existing servers, using DAS or internal storage, with high availability and performance acceleration.

Apollo Cloud from PROMISE Technology Inc. is based on the use of a local storage device, so the data stays local, though at the same time it can be accessed remotely. The device also has simple local management software. Data can be accessed by systems running Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS and Android. The solution would be easier to use for midsize companies if the requirement to add an app or driver to every device in order to connect to the storage server is eliminated.

DxEnterprise from DH2i. DH2i focuses on enabling free movement of SQL Server-based applications among physical, virtual and cloud environments. Most recently, they announced containers-based mobility of applications on SQL Server. RackSpace and DH2i worked together to provide an SQL Server Container-as-a-Service offering, which is convenient for those, who would like their workloads to be able to go beyond the internal network into a RackSpace-hosted cloud environment.

Red Hat Containers from Red Hat Inc. Red Hat containers are integrated into many of the company’s products, like Linux, OpenShift, Virtualization etc. They are now production-ready for customers, though still available for computer science projects. A lot of work has been done to integrate the containers into the company’s management, security and cloud computing environments.

This is the review of an article.



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Oksana Zybinskaya
Oksana Zybinskaya
Online Marketing Manager at StarWind. In touch with virtualization world, may know stuff you are interested in.