Quality Awards III: Compellent shakes up midrange array field


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Technical support
Compellent returned to its winning ways in the technical support section. Its 7.15 was the only score above a 7.00, although EqualLogic was close with a 6.96. Hitachi placed third with a 6.57, while all of the other vendors fell below 6.0. As with most of our surveys, technical support scores were neither outstanding nor horrible. The Dell CX Series trailed the field with a still-decent 5.19. "Whether you call at 2 a.m. or 2 p.m., they've been very responsive," says Community Health Plan's Dahl of his Compellent array.

Compellent's best rating in this section was for "The vendor supplies support as contractually specified" (7.41). EqualLogic had a 7.23 in this regard. Compellent also had a very nice score for "The vendor provides adequate training" (7.40). Training is an area where we rarely find high ratings. Documentation can also be a sensitive area for storage managers. "The hardest part of dealing with documentation on EMC is finding it," says Yaple at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, although when he does locate the docs he needs he finds them comprehensive and useful. Other sources, such as Web sites, can also be good areas of tech support. Rush Enterprises' Williams likes HP's online forums. "They have high-end storage guys looking at those forums all the time," he says. "They write back within a couple of hours."

The most knowledgeable support

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staff apparently belongs to Compellent. It received a 7.35 for "The vendor's support staff is knowledgeable" and bested EqualLogic's 7.10 for the same statement.

Willingness to repurchase
When we ask users if they would purchase the same product again knowing what they know now, we often find no correlation to the award's order of finish. Many factors play into a purchase decision, even some that many not relate directly to the specific product or support. In this case, however, we did see a significant correlation. Of Compellent's 18 respondents, 100% indicated they would make the same decision again. EqualLogic had a 90.9% positive response and Hitachi had an 82.0%. All other vendors were in the seventies, except for Sun (64.7%) and Dell (60.7%).

Taking a chance on a relatively new vendor can be a risk, but sometimes that risk pays off. In the case of Compellent and EqualLogic, it would appear that users who took the risk are glad they did. If our surveys are any indication, a dark horse bet on midrange arrays can pay off handsomely.

This was first published in April 2008

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