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Quality Awards VI: NetApp nudges Dell for top midrange array spot

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Dell plus Compellent proved to be a strong combination, but not quite strong enough to overtake NetApp on our sixth Quality Awards survey for midrange arrays.

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To say NetApp Inc. outscored Dell Inc. on the latest Quality Awards survey for midrange arrays is something of an overstatement. With the slimmest possible margin separating them -- 0.01 -- the two data storage behemoths duked it out in every rating category, sharing honors along the way and finishing in a near dead heat. With all scores tallied, NetApp topped Dell with a score of 6.60 vs. 6.59. Obviously, both vendors’ products are highly regarded by their customers, even as that trust and loyalty has been earned via two distinct routes. NetApp is a networked storage pioneer, while Dell has successfully leveraged partnerships and acquisitions to build an impressive portfolio.

OVERALL RANKINGS

QUALITY AWARDS VI: OVERALL RANKINGS FOR MIDRANGE ARRAYS

Enlarge QUALITY AWARDS VI: OVERALL RANKINGS FOR MIDRANGE ARRAYS diagram.

NetApp and Dell led a generally strong group of eight midrange vendors and their product lines. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), with an overall 6.47, wasn’t far behind the leaders, and IBM’s 6.40 was also just a bit off the pace. Rounding out the field were EMC Corp. (6.31), Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. (6.25), Oracle Corp. (5.97) and first-timer Nexsan Corp. (5.66). (For more information about our process and surveyed products, see “About the Quality Awards” and “Products in the survey.”)

SALES-FORCE COMPETENCE

Setting the table for its close competition, NetApp bested Dell in the sales-force competence category by a scant two-hundredths of a point: 6.40 to 6.38. The two vendors evenly divvied up the six statements in the category. NetApp showed its strength with a sales team that’s knowledgeable and reps who understand customers’ businesses and interests. Dell’s reps scored high for taking time to learn their customers’ industries, and for their flexibility and willingness to negotiate. HDS’ 6.31 placed it third, just trailing the leaders on most of the category statements.

QUALITY AWARDS VI: SALES-FORCE COMPETENCE RANKINGS FOR MIDRANGE ARRAYS

Enlarge QUALITY AWARDS VI: SALES-FORCE COMPETENCE RANKINGS FOR MIDRANGE ARRAYS diagram.

Breaking down the numbers

Smart sales: The highest overall average for a single statement in this category was a 6.36 for “The vendor’s sales support team is knowledgeable.”

Four vendors scored 6.00 or better on all six statements: NetApp, Dell, HDS and EMC.

The worst scores across the board were for “My sales rep keeps my interests foremost” (5.86).

This was first published in September 2011

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