Quality Awards II: EqualLogic emerges as top midrange array

Product reliability
"It's astounding to me, but I have not had one single disk failure yet," says Weismann, referring to Velocity Express' Sun FlexLine array after nearly two years of use. That level of reliability might be a stretch for most storage managers, but it underscores the faith we place in the reliable operation of installed hardware.

In contrast to the initial product quality category, which had the widest scoring spread, product reliability had the narrowest. In fact, less than one point separated EqualLogic's top finish (5.92) from EMC's 4.98 (see "

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Product reliability"). All other vendors finished above 5.00. EqualLogic recorded its highest ratings (6.20) in this category for two statements: "This product meets my service-level requirements" and "This product requires very few unplanned patches."

In all of our prior surveys, products that did well on the statement "Patches can be applied nondisruptively" also did well overall. This proved true once again. EqualLogic's lowest score in this section was for this statement (5.20), which might indicate a low overall score. However, the good news for EqualLogic was that the other vendors were rated even lower in this area (below 5.0) with the exception of Sun FlexLine, which had a 5.40. HP's EVA and EMC's Clariion recorded scores of 4.46 and 4.44, respectively.

Patches and firmware upgrades continue to be a thorn in the side of midrange array administrators. "For the money you're paying--you're well into six figures, if not more--you shouldn't have to take these things down or quiet all the hosts on the SAN just so that you can do a firmware upgrade," says Salbego at Argonne National Laboratories, which has two HP EVAs installed. "That's an industry-wide issue, not just HP EVA."

This was first published in December 2006

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