Quality Awards: Top NAS products


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Technical support
Similar to our other Quality Award surveys, tech support didn't stand out as either a strong positive or a negative. All of the vendor finalists had acceptable or higher scores, with NetApp's FAS200 midrange system leading all products with a 6.62. Among enterprise products, HDS scored a 6.44, and had the most notable score of 7.00 for the statement "Vendor provides support as contractually specified." Even though Dell's PowerVault 7xxN, EMC's Celerra NS Series and the HP ProLiant DL series Storage Server had scores below 5.5 (5.34, 5.26 and 5.26, respectively), no one "bottomed out" on any item.

The fact that support scores didn't diverge significantly is good news for both users and vendors, as it indicates a generally high level of satisfaction and underscores the importance of solid support for ongoing operations. For example, Steve Mays, chief technology officer at X2 Technologies Inc., a consulting firm in San Rafael, CA, has three Dell PowerVault 745N systems in his shop and recommends them to his clients because he finds them so easy to implement. One of the reasons he sticks with Dell is its responsiveness to support issues. "We've called Dell and said a drive died and, literally, later on that day a courier showed up with the drive," says Mays.

"The local CEs [customer engineers] and SEs [system engineers] are great," says CGI-AMS' Georgeson about the help he gets for his HDS NAS implementation.

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But he also acknowledges that Hitachi sometimes seems a little shorthanded when it comes to NAS support. "They need some more people," he says.

20/20 hindsight
At the end of our survey, we asked respondents to tell us if, all things considered, they would purchase the same product again. This question shouldn't be confused with buying intentions because it's possible (and often the case) for users to buy based on the philosophy of sticking with "the devil you know." Rather, this question asks people how they would act if the slate were wiped clean and they knew what they know today.

HDS led all products with 90.5% of its users saying they'd buy another NAS product from the company. This is the highest "buy again" percentage for any product in all of our Quality Awards to date. NetApp wasn't far behind with an 87.8% response for its midrange FAS200product, and an 81.4% for its enterprise FAS900/FAS3000 products.

This was first published in May 2006

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