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HDS reigns over enterprise arrays ... again

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The statement "Patches can be applied nondisruptively" has proven to be a bellwether in previous surveys, and was again. We've never seen a vendor score poorly on this statement and perform well in the overall standings. HDS led the group on this statement with a 6.71 followed by EMC's 6.63. Sun scored a solid 6.52, HP a 6.26, IBM a 6.06 and NetApp trailed with a 5.28.

Technical support
IBM proponents may be disappointed in the company's overall showing, but its top rating for technical support in 2007 is a nice consolation (see "

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Technical support" PDF). The company received its highest score (6.62) for "Vendor provides support as contractually specified." HDS had an even better 6.84 for this statement, but had its category average dragged down by a 5.22 on "Vendor provides adequate documentation and support materials." IBM also had the top score (6.27) for "Vendor takes ownership of the problem." In terms of the support group rated most knowledgeable, HDS' 6.35 nudged out IBM's 6.33.

Do it all over again?
In our surveys we ask users if, all things considered, they'd make the same purchase decision again. This 20/20 hindsight question is more interesting than a future buying-intention query, as momentum may cause users to continue purchasing a system even when less than thrilled with it. We noted an interesting non sequitur in this year's survey in that overall scores rose, but changes in willingness to repurchase were all over the map (see "Would you buy from this vendor again?" PDF). This year, 84.6% of HDS customers would do it all again--lower than last year's 88.4% and the biggest drop of any vendor. Sun rose almost 14 percentage points to 82.6%. NetApp was third with a healthy 77.8%, indicating that respondents are either willing to work through NetApp's growing pains in this category or feel that, on balance, NetApp is a favorable provider. EMC's rating dropped slightly from a 79.3% to 76.8%. HP climbed slightly to 71.4% from 69.8%, and IBM rose from 62.2% to 68.1%.

Many respondents evaluated more than one vendor's system, so we also compared the ratings for multiple vendors as submitted by the same respondent. Comparing head-to-head win rates, Sun led with a 44.4% win rate. Again defying the order of finish, NetApp was second with 41.2%. HDS was third, winning one in three comparisons. Does HDS' declining rate of willingness to repurchase and head-to-head win rates suggest chinks in its armor? Stay tuned for the 2008 results.




Products included in the survey
The following products were included in the Diogenes Labs-Storage magazine Quality Award Enterprise Arrays III survey.

EMC Corp. Symmetrix 3000 Series/8000 Series/DMX Series/DMX-3 Series, Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. StorageWorks XP Series, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Corp. Lightning 99xx Series or TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform (USP) Series, IBM Corp. ESS TotalStorage ("Shark") F Series/800 Series/800 Turbo Series/DS8000 Series, Network Appliance (NetApp) Inc. FAS6000 Series, Sun Microsystems Inc. StorageTek 99xx Series, 3PAR InServ Storage Server S400 or S800*

*Didn't receive a sufficient number of responses to be included in the survey results.

About the survey
The Diogenes Labs–Storage magazine Quality Awards are designed to identify and recognize products that have proven their quality and reliability in actual use. The results are derived from a survey of qualified Storage readers who assess products in five main categories: sales-force competence, product features, initial product quality, product reliability and technical support. Our methodology incorporates statistically valid polling that eliminates market share as a factor. Indeed, our objective is to identify the most reliable products on the market regardless of vendor name, reputation or size. Products were rated on a 1.0-8.0 scale, where 8.0 is the most favorable possible score.

This year's survey yielded 408 valid respondents on 687 systems for a margin of error of +/- 5% with a 95% confidence factor. The single largest group of respondents was for EMC Corp. (142); Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Corp. had 78, followed by IBM Corp. (72). Sun Microsystems Inc. had the smallest number among award qualifiers (23). We allow respondents to rate families of systems, not just current models. Network Appliance Inc. is the only vendor without three-plus year-old enterprise arrays in the field. EMC DMX-3 was the most numerous reported system in the field (98).

This was first published in July 2007

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