The Best of TechEd 2006

The Best of TechEd 2006

SQL Server Magazine honors Microsoft’s outstanding partners

In June, SQL Server Magazine and Windows IT Pro hosted the fifth annual Best of TechEd Awards at Microsoft's annual megashow. These prestigious awards, which garner enthusiastic participation from the show's vendors, honor Microsoft partners who stand out in their markets and offer products of quality that address customers' most pressing needs.

This year,we screened more than 200 contest entries. "The remarkable array of products featured at this year's TechEd impressed us with their technological innovation and forward thinking," said Michael Otey,Technical Director for SQL Server Magazine and Windows IT Pro, who served as one of the Best of TechEd 2006 judges.The judging panel also included Karen Forster, Editorial Director for SQL Server Magazine and Windows IT Pro; Amy Eisenberg, Executive Editor of Windows IT Pro; Diana May, Technical Editor for SQL Server Magazine; and Jason Bovberg, Senior Editor, and Blake Eno, Products Editor, for Windows IT Pro and SQL Server Magazine.

This year's SQL Server—related categories were Best Business Intelligence Product, Best Database Development and Administration Tool, Best Developer Tool, Best Hardware Solution, and Best Software Components and Middleware. In addition, a SQL Server—related product was honored with the prestigious Most Innovative Product award.


Most Innovative Product

PolyServe Database Utility for SQL Server


Most Innovative Product
Database Utility for SQL Server PolyServe

PolyServe's Database Utility for SQL Server enables SQL Server system consolidation as well as providing a high-availability solution. "We selected Database Utility for SQL Server because it addresses availability and maintenance with a new, forward-thinking approach," said contest judge Michael Otey. The product can reduce your SQL Server infrastructure costs and provide increased SQL Server availability to your end users. In many organizations, a variety of database needs has resulted in the proliferation of underutilized SQL Server systems throughout the organization. These systems impose high infrastructure, administration, and licensing requirements on an organization. The server-consolidation capability of Database Utility for SQL Server can radically reduce an organization's total cost of ownership (TCO) by consolidating these server instances, thus simultaneously increasing the percentage of hardware utilization and freeing underutilized systems for other tasks. By using a feature called dynamic rehosting, which employs a shared storage infrastructure, Database Utility for SQL Server lets you shift SQL Server instances between different host servers within seconds. Dynamic rehosting provides for high availability of SQL Server services as well as one-click system maintenance.

See associated figure


Best Business Intelligence Product

Independent Computer Systems RSinteract


Best Business Intelligence Product
Independent Computer Systems

(44) (0) 161-886-8500

OfficeWriter for Reporting Services


Dundas Chart for .NET
Dundas Software


Independent Computer Systems RSinteract is a zero-footprint,fully Web-based, interactive tool that gives end users a simple report-design interface to quickly build new reports or customize existing reports on any data source defined in SQL Server Reporting Services. The interface lets users instantly see a rendering of their reports. The report-building window is in the foreground, and a sample rendering of the report shows in the background to give immediate feedback about the actual look of the report. This feature fills a gap in Report Builder and other tools in which the design step is separated from the rendering step. A user can immediately see the effect of adding, moving, or deleting fields in a report. The RSinteract framework is presented through a standard Web browser, requiring no client software downloads or plug-ins. Reports can be built from a combination of relational and OLAP data sources, including Analysis Services cubes, SQL statements, and stored procedures. Reports are stored in a folder structure within Reporting Services and made available only to users with the correct permissions. Data permissions are inherited from Windows and SQL Server security administration. Reports can be exported to Microsoft Excel, PDF, TIFF, CSV, and XML files. All reports built in RSinteract are Reporting Services reports, so any of the features and functions in Reporting Services can be used with these reports, including production and distribution.

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Finalist SoftArtisans OfficeWriter for Reporting Services

SoftArtisans OfficeWriter for Reporting Services enables the design and delivery of reports directly from Microsoft Office, avoiding the need for tools such as Visual Studio or Report Builder—or IT staff for development.You can create and publish reports in Reporting Services by using the OfficeWriter Designer, a freely distributed, lightweight toolbar that's integrated within your Microsoft Word documents and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Users develop reports by using a toolbar add-on within Excel or Word. OfficeWriter uses native Excel and Word formats to simplify the design process and preserve the macros, pivot tables, and dynamic charts in reports. The integrated toolbar lets users easily query a data source and easily add merge fields and repeat blocks. Once they've designed a report, users can save it to a hard drive, view it instantly, or publish it to a server for distribution. Users can also develop reports for distribution to the enterprise by using Web-enabled Reporting Services. OfficeWriter works with Reporting Services to preserve all the Excel and Word elements within your spreadsheets or documents while taking advantage of a direct connection to the database.The application integrates with ASP.NET and supports the full code library.



Finalist Dundas Chart for .NET

Dundas Chart for .NET provides advanced charting solutions designed to make reporting applications developed in the .NET Framework more functional and appealing. Chart for .NET has full Asynchronous Java-Script and XML (AJAX) support,a Chart and DataWizard, full animation effects, advanced UI support, and sophisticated data-manipulation and formula support. Chart for .NET is the charting engine that Microsoft selected for integration with Reporting Services. This developer toolkit provides robust functions that are ready to plug into a reporting application,eliminating hours,days,or months of code development. The product helps developers get the most out of data by offering advanced technology for implementing charting into internal projects or building applications. This technology helps developers add advanced, feature rich, visually appealing charts to all types of ASP.NET and Windows Forms applications.



Best Database Development and Administration Tool

Quest Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise


Best Database Development and Administration Tool
Quest Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise
Quest Software


Database Utility for SQL Server


Oracle 10g Express Edition


Quest Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise provides real-time monitoring and diagnostics for SQL Server installations of all shapes and sizes. The product helps DBAs quickly resolve problems by combining data from multiple sources including SQL Server, Windows performance counters, Windows registry data, and SQL traces. User-defined performance thresholds help you rapidly spot server bottlenecks and other performance problems.The product's graphical dashboard display gives you a quick overview of the overall system health, and it lets you quickly drill down to the underlying server processes. Dashboard icons display key SQL Server statistics and metrics while graphical flows between interface elements represent the rate of data moving between the elements. The enterprise edition of Spotlight on SQL Server lets you continuously collect performance and diagnostic information from a middle-tier machine. This feature means that database performance information is readily available from any networked client system. In addition, the online Help you get with Spotlight on SQL Server gives you detailed information to use for tuning SQL Server and diagnosing system performance problems.

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Finalist PolyServe Database Utility for SQL Server

PolyServe's Database Utility for SQL Server is a server-consolidation and high-availability solution that can reduce your SQL Server infrastructure costs and provide increased SQL Server availability to your end users. By using a feature called dynamic rehosting, which uses a shared store architecture, the Database Utility for SQL Server lets you shift SQL Server instances between host servers in seconds. Dynamic rehosting provides for high availability of SQL Server services as well as one-click system maintenance.This product also won the special Most Innovative Product award.



Finalist Oracle 10g Express

The Oracle 10g Express Edition (XE) database is Oracle's entry-level database product. Like SQL Server 2005 Express and MySQL 5, Oracle 10g XE is free for downloading, development, and deployment. Likewise, because it's targeted at ISVs, developers, and hobbyists, the product is quick to install and easy to administer and use. Built from the same code base as Oracle Database 10g Release 2, Oracle 10g XE offers high performance and scalability. But XE is limited to 4GB of user data (not including Oracle system data), 1GB of RAM, and a single CPU. The database can run on multiple CPU systems but will use only one processor. Unlike SQL Server 2005 Express, Oracle 10g XE is a multi-platform product. A 32-bit version runs on Windows, and there's also a 32-bit Linux version.



Best Developer Tool

Compuware DevPartner


Best Developer Tool
DevPartner Studio Professional Edition


Identify Software




Compuware DevPartner Studio Enterprise-Edition enhances the capabilities of Microsoft's Visual Studio Team System by adding software-quality and code analysis capabilities for .NET, Java, and unmanaged applications. DevPartner Studio Enterprise Edition includes the DevPartner Studio Professional Edition, Track Record, and Reconcile products. DevPartner Studio accelerates the development and quality-assurance process by combining automated error detection, code coverage, and performance testing. In addition, built-in expert coding advice, standards, and best practices guide the developer to producing higher quality code throughout the software development life cycle. Dev-Partner can review source code against predefined rules and standards as well as track and optimize system resource usage and identify application performance problem areas. A built-in fault simulator lets you simulate hard-to-duplicate .NET Framework call errors so that you can make sure your error-handling code works correctly. TrackRecord extends the capabilities of DevPartner Studio by letting you track project milestones as well as features, defects, and assets. TrackRecord automates time-consuming software-development administration tasks such as documenting and reporting defects and communicating project status and priorities.The Reconcile product tracks a project's goals against its current status, enabling better communication and management of software projects.

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Finalist Identify AppSight

Identify AppSight is a sophisticated application-problem-resolution tool. AppSight for Microsoft Windows/.NET consists of the AppSight BlackBox, AppSight Server, AppSight Console, and the optional App-Sight Application Monitor. AppSight's unique BlackBox problem-resolution system lets it monitor application execution without requiring any changes to the application's source code. AppSight can identify the root cause of an application failure, capture the current state of the applicationmdash;including the line number and routine of the failure and all of the variable valuesmdash;then communicate that information to the Help desk or developer for efficient problem resolution. For life cycle management, Appsight is fully integrated with Visual Studio Team System.



Finalist Altova XMLSpy and XML Suite

Altova XMLSpy is the industry's premier XML-development environment. XMLSpy provides a fully graphical XML IDE and is capable of XML instance and document editing, visual XML schema development, SOAP development and debugging with graphical WSDL development, and XPath development.The product also gives you the ability to generate Java, C#, and C++ code.The XML Suite adds four components: MapForce 2006, StyleVision 2006, SchemaAgent 2006, and SemanticWorks 2006.MapForce is a visual data-mapping tool that you can use to link XML documents and Web services to databases, text files, and EDI files. StyleVision is a visual XSLT stylesheet designer. You use SchemaAgent to construct and manage complex schemas consisting of multiple smaller schemas. SemanticWorks is a visual Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Web Ontology Language (OWL).



Best Hardware Solution

Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology


Best Hardware Solution
Centrino Duo Mobile Technology


CLARiiON AX 150i


LS800 Slate Tablet PC
Motion Computing


HP Modular Cooling System

Intel's new Centrino Duo Mobile dual-core mobile-processor technology offers two mobile-optimized execution cores in a single processor.It takes a three-pronged approach—the low-power Core Duo processor, an integrated chipset, and streamlined 802.11a/b/g WLAN support—to provide supreme performance, reliable wireless connectivity, and dynamic power management.The Mobile Intel 945 Express chipset offers terrific performance for flexible and scalable platforms, as well as dual-channel DR2 memory at 667MHz. Combined with the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950,the chipset delivers fine graphics performance on mobile systems.The Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection guarantees an improved mobile experience. In August, Intel will unveil the next-generation Core 2 Duo technology, which will offer a 20-percent performance improvement as well as 64-bit support. IT administrators will particularly value either chip's multitasking aptitude, out-of-band management functionality, and enhanced hardware-assisted virtualization (through Intel's Virtualization Technology).

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Finalist EMC CLARiiON AX 150 series

The EMC CLARiiON AX 150i is a full-featured network storage system targeted at the small-to-midsized business (SMB), thanks to its ease of use.The company has successfully leveraged its success in the large-enterprise arena and delivered all of its product's power to the smaller environment while concealing the complexity—with no compromise to data integrity.The system supports a variety of platforms,uses high-performing SATA II disk drives, scales up to 6TB capacity, and offers Fibre Channel and iSCSI connectivity.The CLARiiON AX 150i gives smaller environments a way to use networked storage.



Best Software Components and Middleware

ComponentOne Studio Enterprise 2006


Best Software Components and Middleware
ComponentOne Studio Enterprise 2006
Component One


ScaleOut StateServer
ScaleOut Software


DataDirect Connect for ADO.NET
DataDirect Technologies


ComponentOne's Studio Enterprise 2006 provides the largest set of application-building components available today.With more than 100 native .NET controls and 80 ActiveX and Mobile Device controls, ComponentOne Studio Enterprise simplifies the development experience, providing a richer, simpler toolset than the basic components in Visual Studio. Most notable are ComponentOne Studio Enterprise's wide variety of UI controls. The product includes theTrue DBGrid control and FlexGrid, Input, List, Menu, and Toolbar controls. There's also a powerful .NET Chart control. Other important .NET controls include an ADO.NET Data Extender control, royalty free reporting components that support PDF output, and other useful and practical application-building components including Barcode, ZIP, and Flash controls. Some of the important enhancements in the latest release of ComponentOne Studio Enterprise include support for Smart Designers and Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX). Smart Designers provide a wizard-driven interface that guides you through the configuration of many of the .NET components, and AJAX support enables the building of feature-rich Web UIs. ComponentOne Studio Enterprise 2006 includes support for Visual Studio 2005, the .NET Framework 2.0, and previous versions of Visual Studio and the .NET Framework.

See associated figure


Finalist Motion Computing LS800 Tablet PC

Motion Computing's new ultra-mobile slate Tablet PC is about the size of a paperback book, comes equipped with Intel's Centrino Mobile Technology, and boasts an extremely rugged design. Measuring only 8.94" X 6.69" X 0.87" and weighing just 2.2 pounds, the LS800 is amazingly easy to stow and transport. Despite its size, the LS800 gives you all the advantages of a full-strength OS, offering full Windows XP functionality.The LS800's durableView Anywhere screen gives you terrific graphical viewability,even in bright environments.The device's Speak Anywhere audio technology lets you record, dictate, or program voice commands.Dual-array microphones clearly record audio.The LS800 is ideal for healthcare workers, sales-force personnel, aviators, and road warriors of all kinds.



Finalist HP Modular Cooling System

The HP Modular Cooling System wins points for innovation, offering a water-based server-rack cooling system for high-density deployments in the datacenter.The cooling technology enables the deployment of up to 30 kilowatts in a single rack. The system's modularity makes the system unique in the market, offering three hot-swappable vents and three heat exchangers, a fully welded aluminum/steel composite frame, and a castor base designed to support more than 2000 pounds. A Management Module lets you gauge water and air temperature, ensuring that you get cold air where it belongs: in front of the equipment.



Finalist ScaleOut StateServer

ScaleOut StateServer solves the problem of Web-farm session state by using a network load-balancing style of workload data caching. The need to store session state in the database is often a limiting factor in building highly scalable Web applications because access to the session state increases the application's database I/O requirements. ScaleOut StateServer provides a high-speed, in-memory cache that you can easily scale upward by adding StateServers. ScaleOut StateServer supports ASP.NET 2.0 and also provides Cached Data Accessor APIs, letting applications programmatically cache other types of data in StateServer's in memory storage. In addition, asynchronous event handling lets applications handle session and event timeouts.



Finalist DataDirect Connect for ADO.NET

DataDirect Connect for ADO.NET provides-heterogeneous database access for .NET database applications.The DataDirect Connect for ADO.NET data provider can connect to Oracle, IBM DB2, and Sybase databases in addition to SQL Server. The product is a 100-percent managed .NET data provider, which eliminates the need for any additional client components. Plus, being a completely managed provider gives DataDirect Connect for ADO.NET better performance than other partially managed solutions because you don't need slow context switches between managed and unmanaged code. DataDirect Connect for ADO .NET supports Visual Studio 2005 and ADO.NET 2.0.


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