Best of Infrastructure-Related Software 2021

January 6th, 2021 43 min read

For this installation of our 2021 Best of Awards, we are focusing on a broad uber-category of software we’re referring to as “infrastructure-related”. Now, seasoned IT professionals might raise an eyebrow at this nomenclature, and we totally understand.

When deciding which software categories to feature of the Best of Awards, we wanted to feature categories together that made the most sense. For the sake of this uber-category, infrastructure refers to the foundation of any IT service. Below you’ll see software ranging from virtualized hardware components to the much more widely familiar Operating Systems category.

Without further ado, here are the Best Infrastructure-related software of 2021:

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure
Scale Computing HC3, Customer Support, 1st Place
Nutanix AOS, Customer Support, 2nd Place

Scale Computing HC3, Usability, 1st Place

Scale Computer HC3, Feature Set, 1st Place

IT Infrastructure Monitoring
LogicMonitor, Customer Support, 1st Place

IT Service Management
TOPdesk, Customer Support, 1st Place
Jira Service Desk, Customer Support, 2nd Place
ServiceNow IT Service Management, Customer Support, 3rd Place

TOPdesk, Usability, 1st Place

Jira Service Desk, Feature Set, 1st Place
SysAid, Feature Set, 2nd Place
ServiceNow IT Service Management, Feature Set, 3rd Place

Message Oriented Middleware
Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), Customer Support, 1st Place

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), Usability, 1st Place

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), Feature Set, 1st Place

Network Performance Monitoring
SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM), Customer Support, 1st Place

Network Traffic Analysis (NTA)
SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA), Customer Support, 1st Place

SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA), Feature Set, 1st Place

Operating Systems
Windows Server, Feature Set, 1st Place

Server Virtualization
VMware ESXi, Customer Support, 1st Place

VMware ESXi, Feature Set, 1st Place

SQL Performance
SQL Sentry, Customer Support, 1st Place

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
Parallels Remote Application Server, Feature Set, 1st Place

Wireless LAN
Cisco Meraki MR, Customer Support, 1st Place

Cisco Meraki MR, Feature Set, 1st Place

Best Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Customer Support 

Hyper-converged infrastructure is a software-centric architecture that integrates compute, storage and virtualization resources on commodity hardware. With simple converged infrastructure, a vendor provides a pre-configured bundle of hardware and software which can be used separately. Hyper-converged infrastructure does not allow the components to be used independently. Each appliance is so tightly integrated that it functions as an indivisible unit. It is therefore critical for vendors to offer support in order to keep operations running for customers. Below are the awards for Best in Customer Service for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure.

Scale Computing HC3, 1st Place

Customer Support Score: 9.7

Scale’s prompt and thorough responses combined with an eagerness to see a solution through rated them highly among consumers.

“They are second to none in terms of technical support. In all my time in IT, I’ve used a lot of different vendors’ technical support and I’ve never had one that I would rate higher than Scale. Responsiveness, knowledge, and willingness to help until they know the issue is resolved are all aspects that Scale has demonstrated on every instance.”

  • Tracy B., Network Administrator | Insight LightingElectrical/Electronic Manufacturing, 51-200 employees

Nutanix AOS, 2nd Place

Customer Support Score: 9.6

Many customers praised Nuantix for their prompt and productive support calls, as well as their considerably low turnaround time.

“Nutanix support is very easy to engage. On any occasion that I have had the need to engage support they respond quickly and are extremely knowledgeable. We have not had any issue yet that cannot be solved in 1 or 2 support calls. They also return calls on the ticket within 2 hours.”

  • Mikel S., Systems Administrator | Lake Forest AcademyPrimary/Secondary Education, 51-200 employees

Best Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Usability 

While there are many advantages to using converged infrastructure, this comes with a cost, such as in the inability to tweak the systems. For example, if more storage is needed for a particular cluster but not more compute, it’s not possible to just add storage. Instead a new appliance including all resources must be added. In situations such as this, it is important for systems to be usable and intuitive among customers. Below are the awards for Best in Usability for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure.

Scale Computing HC3, 1st Place

Usability Score: 8.7

Scale’s ease of use and approachability made it very popular among customers. They were also praised for their relative simplicity to set up. 

“The Scale Computing product is very easy to use, and intuitive. Oftentimes I don’t have a need to log into the cluster for a month or more, but when I do, I have no problem remembering where i need to go to complete various tasks. I really do just set the system up and forget it.”

  • Tom B., IT Manager
  • Rancilio – North AmericaWholesale, 11-50 employees

Best Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Feature Set

The modular approach of hyperconvergence presents many advantages and a few disadvantages. Among the advantages: ease of scaling, decreased maintenance overhead, simplified vendor management, and lower cost. Customers may find themselves seeking out features such as these and more when considering a solution that works for them. Below are the awards for Best Feature Set among Hyper-Converged Infrastructure.

Scale Computing HC3, 1st Place

Many sang Scale’s praises in this category, citing a simple yet powerful interface with plenty of features to go around.

“Snapshots and replicas are created in a few clicks within a simple to use web interface. Gone are layers of settings found in some other products we’ve used. The ‘at-a-glance’ dashboard tells me everything I need to know about the current status and utilization of the Scale cluster.”

  • David R., Director Of Technology | Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann, LLPLaw Practice, 51-200 employees

Best IT Infrastructure Monitoring Customer Support

IT infrastructure monitoring tools enable organizations to identify and resolve IT infrastructure problems before they can adversely affect critical business processes. Because of this, it is absolutely crucial that downtime among operations is reduced, abated in part by excellent customer support. Below are the awards for Best in Customer Support among Infrastructure Monitoring tools.

LogicMonitor, 1st Place

Customer Support Score: 9.2

Customers spoke highly of LogicMonitor’s vendor support, lending their praise to the extensive reference materials provided in addition to stellar phone support.

“Hands down the best support we have received from any vendor. Same top tier experience at any time of the day whether it is a simple question or a complex issue. They listen to feedback and do their best to implement feedback on problems that are discovered. Support is always providing references and material to learn more about what you are asking in a non-condescending manner which is appreciative. When LogicMonitor tells you their support sells the product that is the truth.”

  • Collin T., Systems Administrator | Seed IP Law Group, LLPLegal Services, 51-200 employees

Best IT Service Management Customer Support

The main focus of IT Service Management is to deliver satisfactory service to the end user customer. ITSM involves a shift from managing IT as stacks of individual components to focusing on the delivery of end-to-end services using best practice process models. Below are the awards for the Best in Customer Support in IT Service Management.

TOPdesk, 1st Place

Customer Support Score: 9.0

TOPdesk’s thorough documentation was listed as a major selling point among customers. Coupled with excellent phone support, many praised the knowledge and enthusiasm provided.

“An extensive FAQ for all modules can be found on the TOPdesk extranet. And also various manuals. You can choose between creating an incident yourself and calling TOPdesk. In both cases, incidents are created, and properly and clearly recorded. When you call, you will generally get an expert on the line, otherwise someone with more knowledge will be called in.

The consultants are always enthusiastic people who know a lot and can think along with us and switch quickly.”

  • Timo S., Application administrator | NOSBroadcast Media, 1001-5000 employees

Jira Service Desk, 2nd Place

Customer Support Score: 8.6

Customers praised JIRA’s ticketing system and customer portal for simplifying issue mitigation among organizations.

“I gave JIRA a 9 rating since for me JIRA works according to its purpose. Since there is a customer portal, our clients can leave a comment or communicate with us using the PR ticket that way it is easier for us to also request any additional information we need for our investigation.”

  • Mhatet R., Product Support Technician | FIS GLOBAL SOLUTIONS Financial Services, 1001-5000 employees

ServiceNow IT Service Management, 3rd Place

Customer Support Score: 8.1

Prompt responses combined with a fast turnaround time made ServiceNow a popular choice among many IT professionals.

“The response and fix time is very good. Clear resolution of the task requested and also an informative description about any inquiry that was raised.”

  • Paulius B., Analyst Digital Site Health | Western UnionFinancial Services, 10,001+ employees

Best IT Service Management Usability

IT Service Management is a process-based practice intended to align the delivery of information technology (IT) services with needs of the enterprise, emphasizing benefits to customers. For this reason, it is crucial to have great usability for customers to quickly set up and engage. Below are the awards for Best in IT Service Management Usability.

TOPdesk, 1st Place

Usability Score: 8.6

TOPDesk scored high marks for its straightforward and intuitive operations, including portal creation and general setup.

“It’s a great product once setup and is pretty autonomous. If you need to set up anything new, it can be sometimes painful depending on what you need to set up. Creating portals is very straightforward and easy but creating flows for different forms or operator groups is a great hassle with little explanation.”

  • Jeffrey I., Software Support Specialist | Defenders of WildlifeComputer Software, 51-200 employees

Best IT Service Management Feature Set

ITSM involves a shift from managing IT as stacks of individual components to focusing on the delivery of end-to-end services using best practice process models. It would therefore make sense for customers to seek out feature sets which are robust and scalable. Below are the awards for Best Feature Set among IT Service Management.

Jira Service Desk, 1st Place

Jira’s praise lies within its useful integration with popular platforms such as Confluence.

“Integration with Confluence is a great feature, allowing us to merge tickets with knowledge base. Very useful by software development or when you aim at first-call resolution of user or client requests.”

  • Viktor M., Information Technology System Architect | A.T. KearneyManagement Consulting, 1001-5000 employees

SysAid, 2nd Place

Customers had very good things to say about the extensive features offered by SysAid, such as its ability to create workflows and streamline customer service.

“Creation of workflows, to make customer service more agile, that response times are in accordance with the SLA’s proposed by the organization to internal users, direct escalation to the case solvers, without waiting for manual escalation by an agent of IT.”

  • Andres E., Information system analyst | Esri ColombiaInformation Services, 201-500 employees

ServiceNow IT Service Management, 3rd Place

Customers praised the customization aspects of ServiceNow which allowed for expandability to those with the proper technical knowhow.

“It is suited for medium to large companies that can afford to have a full-time ServiceNow developer. There is a lot of customization and coding that can be done to make it a great product but that requires some coding expertise.”

  • Verified User, Engineer in Information Technology | Construction Company, 1001-5000 employees

Best Message Oriented Middleware Customer Support

Message-Oriented Middleware (MOM) is a software infrastructure which supports the sending and receiving of messages between component information systems in an enterprise’s distributed system. The MOM helps resolve performance issues and other potentially complex issues of interoperability and scalability, which can occur in a constantly changing network of systems. When such issues do occur, it is critical for vendors to be able to supply top-notch support. Below are the awards for Best in Customer Support amount Message-Oriented Middleware.

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), 1st Place

Customer Support Score: 8.5

Vendor and reseller support was praised for their reliability and problem-solving acumen.

“I didn’t use the software directly my clients did so I never was in contact with support. But if they are anything like seller support they are good about helping you out when you run into difficulties and error messages.”

  • Jackson G., Account Manager | Five Star CommerceMarketing & Advertising, 1-10 employees

Best Message Oriented Middleware Usability

The middleware creates a communications layer that insulates developers from the complexity of different operating systems and network protocols. In order to ensure that this insulation is effective, middleware must be intuitive and highly user-friendly. Below are the awards for Best in Usability among Message Oriented Middleware.

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), 1st Place

Usability Score: 8.5

Amazon SNS was praised for its simple and straightforward setup process, as well as its ease of use allowing organizations to save resources. 

“Easy to set up and easy to use. If you need a system to help streamline messaging Amazon SNS is where it is at. It has helped numerous clients get the needed subscribed information quickly without having to go find it themselves saving them time and overall dollars.”

  • Jackson G., Account Manager | Five Star CommerceMarketing & Advertising, 1-10 employees

Best Message Oriented Middleware Feature Set

MOM technology has become of central importance in IoT applications. Features such as unified messaging, dynamic scaling, and provisioning and monitoring are just some of the many elements customers might expect to find. Below are the awards for the Best Feature Set among Message-Oriented Middleware.

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), 1st Place

Customer praise Amazon SNS’s integrational capabilities as well as its notification system among the many great features offered within the application.

“Push notifications of events occurring are the best scenario where Amazon Simple Notification Service is used within our stack. But because it can be integrated with different products, it does bridge the gap between different communication platforms we use.”

  • Bob S., Co-Founder, President, CTO | Infofree Sales Leads | Business Lists | Person Search & CRM101Computer Software, 11-50 employees

Best Network Performance Monitoring Customer Support

Network monitoring tools continuously monitor a network for problems such as slow or failing components (caused by overloaded and/or crashed servers, network connections or other devices), and will alert the network administrator in case of severe slowdowns or outages. When such issues do arise, vendors must be prepared to assist clients in restoring operability. Below are the awards for Best in Customer Service among Network Performance Monitoring.

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM), 1st Place

Customer Support Score: 8.8

SolarWinds’ prompt support and fast turnaround time, coupled with excellent documentation made it a popular choice among customers.

“We get instant support for any of our queries. We had several incidents during installation and configuration, and the product crashed multiple times. We got instant support for license change from one server to another server, plus an installation guide, recovery guide. The best feature is this is not taking more time for installation and configuration of the tool.”

  • Tejas P., Team Lead – Network and Security | Essar GroupOil & Energy, 10,001+ employees

Best Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) Customer Support

Network traffic analysis (NTA) tools are used to gain insight into network traffic flow either for performance monitoring or network security purposes. When such crucial functionality is to be considered, one must also expect vendors to provide support in order to reduce down time. Below are the awards for Best in Customer Support among Network Traffic Analysis tools.

SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA), 1st Place

Customer Support Score: 8.4

SolarWinds once again receives praise, this time for their excellent response and follow-up times, as well as the extent of their troubleshooting.

“I have utilized support for implementation, troubleshooting, and best practice configuration. They have been very responsive in not only support and troubleshooting but also from a touchpoint and follow up standpoint. The team at SolarWinds is always responsive to and helpful with our needs.”

  • Verified User, Manager in Information Technology | Banking Company, 201-500 employees

Best Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) Feature Set

Network traffic analysis software generally provides many different features, including traffic decryption, network transaction visibility, and monitoring for high bandwidth usage, to name a few. Below are the awards for Best Feature Set among Network Traffic Analysis tools.

SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA), 1st Place

SolarWinds once again receives high praises for their excellent feature sets, allowing for granular examination of traffic and customer usage analysis to name a few.

“SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer works very well in tracking usage for individual endpoints on your network either for troubleshooting or for billing purposes. It allows you to deep dive into the traffic and determine if it’s legitimate or malicious. Another feature we regular [sic] use is allowing our Customer Support Personal to run reports on customer usage which allows them to help people out who are having slow internet issues to determine where the slowdowns are coming from.”

  • Justin B., Central Office Network Tech | Ketchikan Public UtilitiesTelecommunications, 51-200 employees

Best Operating Systems Feature Set

Operating systems are the central nervous systems of a computer. It performs basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, displaying data on the screen, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers. It also manages basic security functions ensuring that there is no unauthorized access to the computer. With such a broad range of functions, customers are bound to seek solutions that can do everything they need. Below are the awards for the Best in Feature Set among Operating Systems.

Windows Server, 1st Place

Windows Server was praised by customers for its numerous powerful features, including file sharing and ability to be used as a file server.

“Windows Server’s built-in file sharing capabilities allow it to be used as a powerful file server. Permissions for shared folders can be set on a per-user basis and/or via group membership. Using advanced sharing features, a file or folder can be shared via multiple names with different permissions for each shared name.”

  • Aaron P., Owner | Colorado Computer CareInformation Technology and Services, 1-10 employee

Best Server Virtualization Customer Support

Server virtualization software allows multiple operating systems to run independently of each other on a single machine in a data center. Virtualization software called Hypervisors encapsulates a guest version of the operating system and emulates hardware resources. Below are the awards for the Best in Customer Support among these Virtualization softwares.

VMware ESXi, 1st Place

Customer Support Score: 8.8

Customers were pleased beyond all reason with the support offered by VMWare, citing their knowledgeable engineers and after-hours service as major selling points.

“VMWare support has always been quite excellent over the years. They are generally prompt to respond, and when they do, their support engineers are knowledgeable and are usually able to resolve our problems quite quickly. On several occasions, they have gone above and beyond to make themselves available in off-hours to assist us.”

  • Tim E., Senior Systems Engineer | Loyola University MarylandHigher Education, 1001-5000 employees

Best Server Virtualization Feature Set

Server virtualization software often provides many common features, including Type 1 or type 2 hypervisors and the ability to run multiple virtual machines using different OS on the same server. Vendors need to offer a package which can handle all of the needs of the customer by including an extensive feature catalogue. Below are the awards for Best Feature Set among Virtualization software.

VMware ESXi, 1st Place

Virtualized infrastructure and automation were all things customers found extremely appealing about VMware ESXi.

“We use VMware ESXi across our global organization. It’s managed by our System Administrators and leveraged by our DevOps teams to help automate business processes. It gives us flexibility and stability for testing. We have multi-ESXi host clusters for high availability. VMware ESXi has allowed us to virtualize most of our physical server infrastructure which has allowed us to work remotely from our data centers. It removes the need to lifecycle 100’s of physical servers in favor of a simple life cycle of a few VMware ESXi hosts.”

  • Dan L., System Administrator | Proto LabsIndustrial Automation, 1001-5000 employees

Best SQL Performance Customer Support

Although SQL has the ability to tune itself, SQL Server Performance Monitoring Tools are designed to monitor the database at all times. This crucial functionality means vendors need to be able to support customers so that downtime is avoided at all costs. Below are the awards for Best in Customer Support among SQL Performance tools.

SQL Sentry, 1st Place

Customer Support Score: 10.0

Prompt service was the name of the game with SQL sentry, and their openness to customer feedback set them apart for many clients.

“They usually respond within a few hours and will pull in needed resources without the need for me to escalate the issue. They take the initiative to follow up. They are open to suggestions for future enhancements and actually implement them. They give the impression they want to resolve your issues.”

  • Mark L., Associate Director of Database Architecture | MerkleincMarketing and Advertising, 1001-5000 employees

Best Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Feature Set

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is, simply put, desktop virtualization. Desktop (or client) virtualization is like server virtualization but for end-user machines. The end user’s desktop environment is separated by virtualization from the physical machine where it appears. VDI typically includes many common features such as management tools for creation, management, and deployment of virtual clients among many others. Below are the awards for Best Feature Set among Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Parallels Remote Application Server, 1st Place

Customers were simply ecstatic with the versatility offered by Parallels Remote Application Server. They also praised its scalability and ease of doing so.

“Parallels RAS is a straightforward solution for all application publishing conditions. Implementation scenarios go from public cloud data centers to private clouds to on-premises. Parallels RAS scaled from a single server to multiple farms with combined publications of RDS, VDI, RemotePC, and others as a single entry to an enterprise workspace. A solution for companies of all sizes.”

  • Udo J., Director | GCT mbHComputer Networking, 11-50 employees

Best Wireless LAN Customer Support

Wireless LAN (WLAN) solutions allow users to connect to a network using a wireless radio frequency (RF), such as Wi-Fi. Because this is an essential service for any organization, it is crucial that downtime be minimized if not eliminated by way of vendor support. Below are the awards for Best Customer Support in Wireless LAN.

Cisco Meraki MR, 1st Place

Customer Support Score: 8.9

Prompt turnaround time combined with a technically literate staff made Cisco Meraki a top contender for many customers.

“Meraki support is usually top notch. The are quick to respond and stick with an issue until it is resolved. One of the difficulties I’ve had with Meraki MRs is the limited ability the customer has in troubleshooting. Much of the more technical aspects of resolution can only be accessed by the Meraki support team, meaning dedicated IT teams are reliant on them when more complicated issues arise.”

  • Dennis C., Senior Network Engineer | Clark ConstructionConstruction, 1001-5000 employees

Best Wireless LAN Feature Set

Zero-Touch Provisioning and Layer 7 visibility are just some of the features one might expect to find within their WLAN infrastructure, but which platform offers the most value in terms of these? Below are the awards for Best Feature Set among Wireless LANs.

Cisco Meraki MR, 1st Place

Remote management combined with a usable and feature-packed interface set Meraki apart from the crowd.

“It can be easily managed through the cloud which is very convenient and fewer admin headaches. Its cloud dashboard has good reporting as well.”

  • John P., Security Analyst II | Asurion Insurance, 1001-5000 employees

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