NetApp tops enterprise arrays field again

A very strong group of enterprise array vendors racked up some of the highest scores we've seen to date on the sixth edition of the Quality Awards for enterprise arrays.

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Every competition has its winners and losers, and the latest Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Quality Awards for enterprise arrays is no exception. NetApp Inc. is the clear winner in a very competitive field, but it doesn't seem appropriate to call the other five vendors losers as scores across the board were impressively high -- only 0.34 points separated NetApp's high overall rating and the lowest score.

Overall ratings

This is the second consecutive time NetApp has finished first, after sharing top honors with EMC Corp. on the fourth edition of the Quality Awards. Such a solid showing from NetApp should convince any remaining skeptics that NetApp isn't just network-attached storage (NAS) anymore. NetApp cruised into the lead with an overall 6.71 by taking top honors in four of the five rating categories, including a couple of narrow victories for sales-force competence and initial product quality. Hitachi Data Systems finished a strong second with a score of 6.61, while EMC and IBM were deadlocked in third with a score of 6.53.

Users' ratings were overwhelmingly positive. For the first time, all vendors and their product lines racked up scores of 6.00-plus in every category. Average category scores were also the highest we've seen in six iterations of the enterprise array survey, and the overall average rating was the highest to date. Clearly, enterprise storage system vendors are doing a good job of meeting the needs of their users.



Sales-force competence

NetApp just barely nudged out Hitachi in the sales-force competence rating category. The six statements in the category all relate to how well a vendor's sales and sales support teams respond to the needs of their prospective customers. NetApp finished first for two statements: "My sales rep is knowledgeable about my industry" (6.66) and "My sales rep understands my business" (6.56). Hitachi ranked highest for "My sales rep is flexible" (6.61) and "My sales rep is easy to negotiate with" (6.45). EMC's 6.78 led a bevy of strong scores for the statement "The vendor's sales support team is knowledgeable."



Praise was spread around fairly liberally in the sales-force competence category, with four vendors leading on at least one statement. Overall, the average for all six products is the highest sales satisfaction rating registered to date on the enterprise array Quality Awards.

This was first published in March 2011

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