Quality Awards II: EqualLogic emerges as top midrange array

Product features
Software functionality differentiates storage arrays more than the underlying hardware. Thus, our survey places an emphasis on software features, including snapshots, mirroring, remote replication and management tools. Respondents are asked to evaluate a product based on how well it meets their needs in these general areas, rather than by simply comparing product feature lists.

EqualLogic scored well in this category with a 6.26 rating--its second highest category score (see "

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Product features"). PS Series users particularly like its snapshot functionality, giving it a solid 6.47 for the statement "This product's snapshot features meet my needs." It also received a 6.40 for "This product scales to meet my needs." In fact, EqualLogic scored 6.0 or better for all statements in this section. This category generated the highest scores across the group, with even the low score--Dell's 5.15--still quite respectable.

Compton Petroleum's choice of an EMC Clariion was based largely on features. "The EMC had more flexibility for replication and allowed us to do better DR planning," notes the firm's Rickards. Daily operations were also a key consideration. "Their management interface seems quite intuitive," he says. "Their grouping of hardware monitoring is excellent--in a lot of ways much more detailed that what the IBM provided."

Sun's FlexLine received a 6.11 rating in the product feature category. FlexLine users responded to the statement "This product's mirroring features meet my needs" with a 6.63. This was the highest statement score for any product; even though it was higher than any score posted by EqualLogic in this category, FlexLine's overall category score was offset by four sub-6.0 ratings, the lowest of which was a 5.77 for "This product's management features meet my needs." These scores are still very solid, but substantially lower than FlexLine's 7.03 average last year.

"It's been extremely easy to expand," says Velocity Express' Weissman of his firm's Sun FlexLine. "We went from 2TB to 4TB." He also likes how he can reconfigure without disrupting production. "One of the best things about it is how you can dynamically change your settings without taking anything down," he adds.

This was first published in December 2006

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