Feature

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

Technical support

In the technical support category, NetApp took its turn at the top with a 6.54 that beat out IBM's 6.50 and Dell's 6.44. Intrinsity gets support for its NetApp machines from their reseller, a situation O'Neal describes as "pretty good" although he adds, "it's not quite as good as when we're dealing direct with NetApp." But with both the reseller's and NetApp's services, he says, "Overall they work hard, and things get fixed generally pretty quick."

Sometimes, direct vendor support is so personalized that it seems more like it's a local reseller providing help than a big, distant vendor. "They gave us an 800-number," says Pite Duncan's Colona regarding Hitachi Data Systems' support for his company's AMS200, "but the engineer who's on site actually gave us his card and cell phone number and said just call him anytime."

This category rarely offers strong differentiators among vendors and such was the case again. The range between NetApp and last-place Xiotech's 6.11 was the narrowest of any category -- a mere 0.43 points. This was also Xiotech's highest category score.

NetApp's top score in this category was a 6.97 for the statement "Vendor supplies support as contractually specified." Among NetApp's survey respondents, 45% purchased their NetApp gear through a reseller. Thus, its high 6.63 score for the statement "Issues rarely require escalation" speaks well of both its own first-level support as well as any first-level

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support that might be provided by its resellers. Its lowest category score was a 6.08 for "Vendor provides adequate training." It should be noted, however, that most vendors received lower ratings in this area.

This was first published in March 2009

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