Feature

Quality Awards IV: Dell plus EqualLogic -- A winning combination

Dell's midrange arrays soar from last to first in our user service and reliability survey.

If the people at Dell Inc. are reflecting with more than a little satisfaction on their decision to acquire EqualLogic Inc., it's certainly understandable based on the most recent results from the Storage magazine Quality Awards (see "About the survey"). Until it acquired EqualLogic, Dell had relied mainly on its OEM versions of EMC Corp. Clariion arrays for its midrange storage line, and it didn't fare well in any of our previous surveys, ranking ninth out of nine in 2008. But adding EqualLogic to its roster of storage systems appears to have had a dramatic impact. In the 2009 edition of the Quality Awards for midrange arrays, Dell has fashioned a dramatic reversal and leaped to the top of the field based on user surveys that for the first time combined Dell's and EqualLogic's products.

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About the survey

The Storage magazine Quality Awards are designed to identify and recognize products that have proven their quality and reliability in actual use. The results are derived from a survey of qualified Storage readers who assessed products in five main evaluation categories: sales-force competence, product features, initial product quality, product reliability and technical support. Our methodology incorporates statistically valid polling that eliminates market share as a factor. Our objective is to identify the most reliable product on the market regardless of vendor name, reputation or size. Products are rated on a 1.00-8.00 scale, where 8.00 is the most favorable score.

The respondent pool for this survey skewed toward the small- and medium-sized enterprise, with 70.9% of respondents from companies with less than $1 billion in revenue. In keeping with most of the prior surveys, financial services/banking was the most represented industry (15.8%) followed by healthcare/pharmaceuticals (13.3%) and IT services (12.3%). Most respondents had operationally oriented titles, with storage administrators being the largest group (29%). In addition, 8% were either CIOs or CTOs, which is a somewhat higher percentage than usual; this probably reflects the composition of smaller organizations where a senior individual is more likely to have direct interaction with storage issues.

This was not the first time EqualLogic products made it to the top of the charts. EqualLogic won the award in 2007 and was runner-up to Compellent Technologies Inc. in 2008 -- missing out on the top spot by the slimmest of margins. However, Compellent wasn't able to repeat last year's performance, falling to sixth place in the current survey. IBM Corp. also made a significant move up the ranks, rising from a seventh-place finish last year to second this year. IBM was remarkably consistent across all categories of our survey, placing in the top four in every evaluation category -- a feat matched only by Dell.

This was first published in March 2009

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