At Microsoft Tech Ed 2010 in New Orleans, editors from DevProConnections magazine along with colleagues from SharePointPro Connections, Windows IT Pro, and SQL Server Magazine gave Best of TechEd awards to vendors who offer innovative products and services. The Best of TechEd awards are given annually by a judging panel of editors from the Penton magazines that provide content for developers and IT pros in the Microsoft ecosystem. In a rigorous process, the vendors submit their new and improved products from the past year in a number of categories. Then the editors narrow the choices to three finalists. At TechEd the editors interview the finalists in each category and make a final determination based on strategic importance to the market, competitive advantage, and value to customers.

This year’s Best of TechEd award for a Microsoft product went to Visual Studio 2010. The judges said, “Visual Studio 2010 is the Microsoft product of the year because this release of Visual Studio raises the standard for development tools. Visual Studio 2010 provides new native Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) support, as well as support for multiple monitors, a new historical debugging capability, and significantly enhanced SharePoint development and deployment capabilities.”

The winner in the breakthrough product category is Citrix XenDesktop 4. “Although virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) isn’t even mainstream yet, Citrix is already working to expand what the phrase ‘virtual desktop’ means. This product wins as breakthrough product because Citrix is providing easy and powerful virtual desktops, and there’s a good chance that will be the future of IT.”

Database Development Finalists

Quest Software—Toad for SQL Server 4.6

Red Gate Software—SQL Prompt 4.0

Telerik—Telerik OpenAccess ORM 2010.1.310

Toad for SQL Server 4.6 took the prize. “Toad for SQL Server is the Swiss Army knife of development tools. This product won because it offers an incredibly wide range of functionality, including IntelliSense, Group Server query execute for running queries on multiple servers, an advanced SQL Optimizer to analyze alternative SQL statements, as well as server, database, and data-comparison tools.”

 Developer Tools Finalists

AVIcode—Intercept Studio 5.6

PreEmptive Solutions—Runtime Intelligence 2.5

Flexera Software—InstallShield 2010

 The winner in the developer tools category was AVIcode—Intercept Studio 5.6. “AVICode Intercept Studio wins for its terrific end-to-end web application troubleshooting tools. The new release offers a unique web application capture feature and full support for troubleshooting the performance of SharePoint applications.”

Software Components and Middleware Finalists

ComponentOne—ComponentOne Studio Enterprise 2010 v1

DevExpress—DXperience Ultimate 2010 v1

Infragistics—NetAdvantage for .NET 2010

Telerik—Telerik Ultimate Collection for .NET 2010

In the software components and middleware category the award went to Telerik Ultimate Collection for .NET 2010. “The Telerik Ultimate Collection provides a complete set of WinForms, ASP.NET, and Silver Controls. This product won because in addition to its controls, it provides support for the Open Access data access framework, as well as Web Test Studio for testing web applications.”

Business Intelligence Finalists

Attunity—Attunity  SQL Server CDC for SSIS 2.1

Dundas Data Visualization—Dundas Dashboard 2.0

Telerik—Telerik Reporting 4.0.10.310

In the business intelligence category, Dundas Data Visualization—Dundas Dashboard 2.0 took the prize. “Dundas is back with Dundas Dashboard 2.0! The company, well known for its wide array of components, came on strong with the new version of its new web-based platform for digital dashboard creation, integration, and delivery. This version—leveraging Silverlight 4.0 and offering OLAP capabilities, SharePoint integration, customization and extensibility, Dashflow-streamlined development, KPI mashups, and more—is sure to please the business intelligence community.”

Attendees' Pick and Other Awards

An annual favorite is the Attendees’ Pick award. Conference attendees get to cast their votes for the product of their choice. This year the Tech Ed attendees chose VMware VSphere 4. The TechEd judges observed that “VMware’s support for private and public clouds, added to its well-respected features, has assured the company a continuing place in many environments. This product won because it’s a mature, stable, well-known technology that’s in use in a large percentage of IT shops.”

Awards were given for IT Pro products as well as developer products. The full list of categories includes backup and recovery, business intelligence, database administration, developer tools, hardware and storage, messaging, networking, security, SharePoint, software components and middleware, systems management and operations, and virtualization. Plus the award for a Microsoft product and a breakthrough product. For a write-up of all the awards, plus some fun pictures from the awards ceremony at the Hard Rock Café, see “ Congratulations to the Winners of the Best of Tech Ed 2010.”