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IBM emerges at top of strong midrange array field

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Product reliability

Product reliability: Midrange array vendors

There’s no sterner measure

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than the test of time for a storage system. A product may fall short feature-wise, but if it shows up for work every day, those shortcomings will likely be overlooked. As a group, this crop of midrange products is a stalwart bunch, with an overall average statement score of 6.72 -- just shy of the 6.74 posted two years ago. IBM again led the way, with a sterling rating of 6.98, which was enough to nose out persistent Oracle’s 6.94. Dell (6.76), Hitachi (6.75) and NetApp (6.72) followed in a tight scoring cluster.

Breaking down the numbers

  • IBM and Oracle each snared 7.00-plus scores on three statements.
  • Dell received the only other 7.00-plus score, a 7.06 for “This product experiences very little downtime.”
  • Oracle picked up the highest statement score (7.18) for the downtime statement.

Key stat

6.91: The group’s highest average score was for experiencing little downtime.

Technical support

Technical support: Midrange array vendors

Across all Quality Awards categories, IBM typically earns high marks for its technical support. In this midrange array group, IBM continues that tradition with a winning mark of 6.92. Oracle again proved to be a dogged competitor, finishing hard on the heels of IBM with a 6.89. All the vendors fared well, demonstrating their attentiveness to customer needs with an overall average of 6.56 for the category, just 0.03 off the best past score.

Breaking down the numbers

  • IBM won on the strength of four over-7.00 scores, highlighted by a category-high 7.45 for delivering support as contractually specified.
  • IBM scored highest on seven of the eight category statements; Oracle’s 7.06 was tops for taking ownership of problems.
  • Dell landed the only other 7.00-plus rating, a 7.07 for delivering support as promised.

Key stat

6.40: The group’s lowest average statement score for providing adequate training

Two more measures of midrange prowess

Buy this midrange vendor array again?

Buy it again? The final question on our Quality Awards surveys always asks: Given what you now know, would you buy this product again? Often (as is the case this time), the buy-again numbers don’t seem to jibe with the category scores. Chalk it up to brand loyalty or to sticking with what you know, or maybe it’s just that all the product lines rated here fared quite well.

Data stored on midrange array vendor

Heavy lifters: We also like to know how the rated systems are being used and how much companies rely on them. Some insight in those areas can be derived from knowing how much data companies have stored on these products. It’s not a measure of features or performance, but it can be another way to gauge reliability.

BIO: Rich Castagna is editorial director of the Storage Media Group.

This was first published in September 2012

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