For our 2011 40 Vendors to Watch list, we rang up our most-trusted columnists and a few selected other sources for input, added our own ideas, did some background work and came up with a list we shaped and pared down to our standard. It's an editor's choice, to be sure, and like last year, we're happy to find many more positive stories than we can account for in our latest two score. Eleven companies are repeats from last year (marked with asterisks).

Based on our decision to tilt toward vendors with customer traction that also seem agile or green field, we ruled out nominations for bigger outfits like TIBCO or Information Builders. It was clear though that the rebound of 2010 leading into this year has lifted larger businesses like those as much as it has an Aster Data or Kognitio.

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