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Quality Awards V enterprise arrays: NetApp alone at the top

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After tying with EMC in the last Quality Awards, NetApp prevails this time to nudge out EMC and IBM, which tied for second.

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NetApp Inc. continues to shed its "NAS-only" image with another impressive outing in the Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Quality Awards for enterprise arrays. After a tie with EMC Corp. for the top spot in the last Quality Awards survey for this product category, NetApp is alone in the winner's circle this time around.

NetApp's win was by a slim margin -- just 0.06 points -- and just barely ahead of EMC and IBM Corp., which tied for second with an overall rating of 6.45 compared with NetApp's 6.51. At the top of the enterprise array heap this time, NetApp's ratings have surged, especially considering its last-place finish the first time its product lines were included in this category just a few surveys back.

Just like the fourth edition of the Quality Awards for enterprise arrays, the scores for the seven qualifying vendors (of eight included in the survey) were high across the board, with five of seven finalists garnering overall ratings of 6.00-plus. Rounding out the field after the top three were Hitachi Data Systems (6.28), Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. (6.20), 3PAR (5.87) and with a 5.78, Sun Microsystems Inc. (now owned by Oracle Corp.). While those are all solid scores, the results are just a bit less impressive than our previous survey, when six of seven vendors finished in the 6.00-plus points realm.

About the survey

The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Quality Awards are designed to identify and recognize products that have proven their quality and reliability in actual use. The results are derived from a survey of qualified readers who assess products in five main categories: sales-force competence, initial product quality, product features, product reliability and technical support. Our methodology incorporates statistically valid polling that eliminates market share as a factor. Indeed, our objective is to identify the most reliable products on the market regardless of vendor name, reputation or size. Products were rated on a scale of 1.00 to 8.00, where 8.00 is the best score. A total of 252 respondents provided 392 system evaluations.

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For all vendors/products, the average total score was a very solid 6.22, which was just a bit lower than the 6.39 racked up in the last enterprise arrays survey. But the message is clear: Users are pretty darned satisfied with their enterprise-class storage systems. And that appears to be a distinction the array vendors have earned; the results reported for the first two surveys for this product category (in 2005 and 2006) showed users to be considerably less enthusiastic about these products as they doled out sub-6.00 scores across the board.

Products in the survey

The following products were included in the Quality Awards V Enterprise Arrays survey (the number of ratings responses are in parentheses).

  • 3PAR InServ Storage Server S400/S800 (14)
  • EMC Symmetrix 3000 Series/8000 Series, DMX/DMX-3/DMX-4, V-Max (92)
  • Fujitsu Eternus8000 Series/Eternus DX8400/DX8700*
  • Hewlett-Packard StorageWorks XP Series (70)
  • Hitachi Data Systems Lightning 99xx Series or USP/USP V/USP VM Series (46)
  • IBM DS8000 Series or XIV Storage System or ESS 800 Series (64)
  • NetApp FAS3000/FAS6000 Series or V6000 (81)
  • Sun StorageTek 99xx series (20)

*Did not receive enough responses to be included in the final results.

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This was first published in March 2010

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