The product features category asks users about the usefulness of various product attributes, including management capabilities, mirroring and replication. This category illustrated the topsy-turvy nature of the top four positions in our survey. IBM bested a bunched-up field with a 6.48, just ahead of NetApp (6.46) and Hitachi (6.45), with Dell a not-so-distant fourth with a 6.40.
"Everything we've needed has been there," says Mathew Colona, IT manager at Pite Duncan LLP in San Diego, referring to the Hitachi Adaptable Modular Storage 200 (AMS200) they installed about eight months ago. "With the AMS, I actually think a layperson could use it," he says. "I think that's how easy it is; it's really a point-and-click deal."
IBM's best score was for the statement "This product scales to meet my needs" (6.68). Users also rated IBM highly for its overall feature set, giving it a 6.60 for "Overall, this product's features meet my needs."
Despite finishing sixth in the product features category, Compellent had the highest score for the statement "Overall, the product's features meet my needs" (6.75). Hitachi's 6.66 was the second highest rating for that statement.
Having a comprehensive feature set built in is another advantage that midrange systems users consider. "You buy the product and you've got all the features," says Navicure's Wilkins of his Dell/EqualLogic arrays. "It was not à la carte pricing, it was all-inclusive."
A full slate of features is certainly a requisite for competitive midrange arrays, but performance counts, too. "When we run any type of disk I/O or disk benchmarking utility against it, it just blows us away with the I/O," says RelayHealth's Gray of their Compellent systems. "Performance is just screaming."
Compellent's category score was dragged down by a 6.09 for "This product is interoperable with other vendors' products." While not a bad score, it was enough to lower Compellent's average score for the category.
NetApp's highest score (a 6.75) was in response to the statement "This product's snapshot capabilities meet my needs."
This was first published in March 2009