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NetApp tops enterprise array field again

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Product reliability

Enterprise arrays product reliability rankings

IBM picked

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up high scores on three of the five statements in the product reliability category on its way to a 6.69 average, which was good enough for a win over Hitachi (6.61) and NetApp (6.58). IBM was strongest for requiring very few unplanned patches, meeting service-level agreements and for providing comprehensive upgrade advice. With a second-place showing, Hitachi stepped up a bit from its third-place finishes in all the other categories. NetApp’s weakest statement score was for nondisruptive patching, which kept it from a sweep of all the categories.

Breaking down the numbers:

  • Hitachi scored highest (6.56) for nondisruptive patching, but its highest score was a 6.72 for “very few unplanned patches.”
  • NetApp’s highest mark (6.83) was for “This product experiences very little downtime.”
  • However many nines of reliability you expect, enterprise arrays won’t disappoint -- the highest average score for all vendors was a 6.64 for “very little downtime.”

Key statistic:

IBM was a model of consistency in the product reliability category, with scores ranging from 6.54 to 6.79.

Technical support

Enterprise arrays technical support rankings

NetApp returned to form in the technical support category with a 6.74, the highest ever rating in the Quality Awards for Enterprise Arrays, which surpassed its own mark of 6.70 in the last survey. NetApp led the group on seven of the eight category statements, highlighted by a 7.00 for “Vendor supplies support as contractually specified.” Second-place IBM (6.60) had another strong showing, including a statement win with a 6.72 (to Net-App’s 6.70) for having knowledgeable third-party partners. All the vendors fared well in this critical category, with Hitachi (6.41), EMC (6.33) and HP (6.20) rounding out the field.

Breaking down the numbers:

  • NetApp and IBM were nip and tuck on most of the statements in the category, and both were strong for the same rating criteria.
  • In addition to its 7.00 score, NetApp’s top scores were for knowledgeable support personnel (6.89), documentation (6.79) and knowledgeable third-party partners (6.70).
  • Besides its one statement win, IBM had the second-highest score for all the other statements in the category.

Key statistic:

Enterprise array vendors are delivering as promised: The highest across-the-board average for all vendors was 6.67 for supplying support per contract.

Would you buy it again?

Enterprise arrays: Buy again?

When we ask our survey respondents if they would buy the same array again given what they know now, we’re often surprised when those responses don’t match up with the rating category scores. Once again, we have a discrepancy, but overall satisfaction levels appear to be high, with 88% saying they would take the same plunge. Eight-seven percent of NetApp users said they would buy that vendor’s product once more—a solid rating, but good enough only for fourth place behind EMC (92%), Hitachi (91%) and IBM (91%).

Enterprise arrays: TBs stored on vendor products

It’s hard to say what kind of reasoning figures into respondents’ “buy again” replies. Often, it’s as much a case of familiarity as anything else, but how much they rely on their arrays and how much data they pile into them might also be factors. Home to an average of 126 TB, Hitachi’s systems are clearly the workhorses of this group. EMC’s systems aren’t much off that mark, with an average of 117 TB; IBM’s and NetApp’s products both host an average of more than 100 TB.

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

This was first published in March 2012

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