Feature

Quality Awards IV: It's a tie--EMC and NetApp share enterprise array honors

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Product features
With a solid 6.72, EMC had a comfortable lead over the rest of the field in the product features section. Here, we asked users how well a product fit their particular needs in areas such as snapshots, mirroring, remote replication and scalability.

Wrigley's Odak has found his two HP XP systems slightly tougher to use than HP's midrange EVA line. "The EVA is extremely easy to manage--the XP takes a bit of understanding and knowledge before you can figure it well," he notes. Still, keeping the XPs up and running is hardly onerous for Odak. "Unless you're changing or adding disk constantly, there really isn't a whole lot to operation," he says.

Scores above 7.0 were hard to come by in this survey, but EMC came very close in this section with a 6.98 for "This product scales to meet my needs." EMC users apparently value the product's features in total better than its individual attributes, as it scored a 6.86 for "Overall, this product's features meet my needs." Individual responses to its snapshot, mirroring and replication features were solid, but not as high.

NetApp placed second in the section with a 6.57, and received its best section score for "This product's snapshot features meet my needs." Users also like the product's scalability, giving it a 6.73. In the reverse of EMC, NetApp users gave higher marks to individual features than to the overall

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system.

"It's been great," says Bates College's Bauer, referring to the overall feature set of his dual NetApp FAS3040s, but he's particularly impressed with the boxes' data protection features. "The snapshot takes five seconds at most; to start and stop the database takes three or four minutes," he notes.

One statement in this section, "This product is interoperable with other vendors," received lower scores relative to other areas across the board. EMC had the highest score of the group with a 6.73, while NetApp had its lowest section score (6.19). Only 3PAR fared worse with a 5.94.

Initial product quality
This section assesses vendors regarding installation ease, degree of professional services involvement, ease of use and value. NetApp's 6.47 narrowly edged out HP's 6.45. This was one of two sections in which all vendors scored above 6.0.

Again, how well a vendor works with its local resellers can make a big difference. "There was a NetApp engineer and one of the local engineers," says Bauer, describing his FAS3040 installations. Moore at Scripps Networks had a similar experience with the role his vendors and reseller played for the installation of his Hitachi Data Systems and 3PAR arrays. "Both are very involved in installation, and they don't leave until we're happy," he says.

NetApp apparently has the best out-of-box experience, receiving its highest section scores for "This product was installed without defects" (6.77) and "This product was easy to get up and running" (6.57). NetApp also had the highest score for "This product is easy to use" (6.49).

This was first published in August 2008

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