Quality Awards II: EqualLogic emerges as top midrange array

Technical support
In most of our surveys, we've been surprised to find that product support hasn't been a big differentiator. However, this year's midrange survey provided as broad a spectrum of scores as the other categories. EqualLogic was again the winner, posting a 5.96 (see "

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Technical support"). Sun FlexLine finished a close second with a 5.85. Sun's 6000 series had its highest ranking in this category, placing two spots behind its FlexLine sibling with a 5.31. This scenario was exactly the same as last year's for that company's products.

Because many midrange array systems are sold through resellers, we were interested in how those partners were viewed by customers. In many cases, the reseller provides initial (Level 1) technical support. When we posed the statement "My vendor's third-party partners are knowledgeable," EqualLogic recorded a score of 6.07. Moreover, the company's partners can apparently resolve most problems themselves, as users awarded the statement "Problems rarely require escalation" with a score of 6.13.

Although EqualLogic had the best scores for partner knowledge, it was hardly a runaway. Both HP and Sun FlexLine scored 6.00 on the knowledge of their partners. "[Sun FlexLine's] onsite people are just absolutely fantastic," says Velocity Express' Weissman. "They go over and above." Even IBM, which otherwise had lackluster results, recorded a solid 5.75 in this area. "Whenever I have called their support, they've been excellent," says Compton Petroleum's Rickards. "They've set up the exact scenario that I've got in their lab and have always been able to duplicate the problems."

Elyas at Lilydale Inc., which is also an IBM DS4300 user, says, "The support has been really good. We've always been able to get the parts here within a day."

In our survey, the differentiator was the need to escalate problems. For this statement, Sun fell to a 5.53, HP to 5.30 and IBM to 4.67.

This was first published in December 2006

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