HDS reigns over enterprise arrays ... again


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'07 scores trump those of '06
Overall vendor scores rose across the board. Last year, scores ranged from Sun's 4.94 to HDS' 5.76, a spread of .82 points. (We use a 1.0-8.0 scoring scale, where 8.0 represents the best score.) This year, scores ranged from 5.70 (NetApp) to 6.31 (HDS) for a spread of just .61 points despite having six finalists instead of five (see "

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Overall rankings" PDF). HDS' year-over-year improvement of .55 was solid, but Sun's 1.18 was the biggest one-year jump. Even HP, which fell from second to fourth, saw its score rise from 5.54 to 5.93. If there's a silver lining for NetApp, it would be that its overall 5.70 would've been good enough for second place last year and represents very respectable customer satisfaction.

Survey responses also revealed which system could be considered the "heavy lifter" of the group. To determine this, we focused on the system with the highest percentage of respondents who indicated having more than 200TB of storage deployed on that vendor's product line. In this measurement, EMC was the hands-down winner; 30% of its respondents had deployments in excess of 200TB. HDS was second with approximately 20% of its respondents having more than 200TB, while NetApp had 15%; HP and IBM tied with 10% each.

In keeping with our established survey methodology, we asked readers to rate the vendors in five categories: sales-force competence, product features, initial product quality, product reliability and technical support. HDS won every category last year, but not this time. Three other vendors--EMC, Sun and IBM--had the high score in at least one category, either by dint of a tie or outright.

Sales-force competence
Although HDS topped the sales-force competence category (see "Sales-force competence" PDF), its 6.13 score tied for the lowest high score of any category. Within the category, its lowest score was for the statement "My sales rep keeps my interests foremost" (5.82)--the only statement in this category for which HDS scored below 6.0. But HDS wasn't alone; every vendor had its lowest category score for the same statement. NetApp scored 4.89 with all other vendors receiving a 5.20 or higher. Sun had the highest response (6.45) for "My sales support team is knowledgeable."

"They understand the business that we're in, the importance of the data--they understand our availability concerns," says Ken Craigie, global IT asset manager at GXS Inc., Gaithersburg, MD, when describing his firm's relationship with EMC. He added that negotiations between GXS and EMC are tough but effective because "you can tell a partner from a predator usually in the first couple of interactions."

This was first published in July 2007

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