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


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EMC trailed closely in most areas of this section, registering its highest score for "This product was installed without defects" (6.76). If EMC had an Achilles' heel in this section, it appears to be related to the statement "This product requires very little vendor intervention." Its 5.91 score was a rare sub-6.0 score for EMC in the entire survey. With a 6.0 or higher score on this statement, EMC would have been the outright survey winner. Of course, a higher score on any question would have pushed EMC beyond NetApp to be the outright winner, but this is the most obvious example of where the company was oh-so-close.

The statement "This product delivers good value for the money," is normally a bellwether to the overall order of finish. But this time, the results were somewhat upside down. Hitachi Data Systems was deemed the "best value" by its users with a 6.48 for this statement, and Sun was second with a 6.46. (Sun re-brands Hitachi's systems). HP, another Hitachi OEM, placed third with a 6.34. NetApp was fourth with a 6.30, followed by IBM (6.27), EMC (6.23) and 3PAR (5.88).

Despite its unimpressive ranking in this section, Moore likes 3PAR's value. "It's pretty cut and dry; when you buy it, features that are separate or unavailable in other platforms are simply built in," he notes.

Product reliability
EMC led the product reliability section with its highest

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section score (6.85). This was also the highest rated section of the survey; Hitachi Data Systems closely followed EMC with a 6.81, while NetApp scored 6.75. 3PAR posted its best score of 6.16.

EMC scored the only 7.0-plus rating in the entire survey for "This product experiences very little downtime" (7.08). Hitachi came very close with a 6.97 for the statement "This product requires very few unplanned patches." NetApp also narrowly missed a 7.0 score for "This product meets my service-level requirements" (6.96).

The statement "Patches can be applied nondisruptively" has been a key indicator in the past and was so again. EMC had the highest score on this statement (6.77), narrowly beating Hitachi's 6.75. NetApp trailed with a 6.60, but that was still good enough to be in the top three.

"The XP is rock solid," says Wrigley's Odak. "We've never had any downtime whatsoever due to the XP."

"It's never been down since it's been powered up," says Moore of one of Scripps Networks' Hitachi Lightning arrays, which was first fired up four years ago. Scripps' 3PAR InServ Storage Server S400 hasn't achieved that kind of longevity yet, but in its nine months or so of operation, Moore reports they "haven't had any problems with it."

The statement "The vendor provides comprehensive upgrade guidance" often generates below-average responses. This was true for most vendors, but EMC and NetApp bucked the trend with ratings of 6.77 and 6.76, respectively.

This was first published in August 2008

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