Quality awards: Enterprise arrays


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Head-to-head comparison
Seventy-three percent of our respondents worked with only one vendor's products. Twenty-one percent used two different vendors' products, 5% had products from three vendors and 1% had four different vendors' products. "We're going to maintain a dual-vendor presence," says National City Bank's Bottger. "Our philosophy is to leverage a dual-vendor approach to leverage contracts, technologies, etc."

To compare vendors directly, we examined the 27% of cases in which respondents used more than

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one vendor. This comparison was based on the average rating assigned by the user for each vendor.

We find the "head-to-head" comparisons from these respondents to be particularly insightful because they're truly comparative, rather than an assessment of perception. Of the 25 IBM respondents who use another vendor's product, IBM was preferred in every case. Similarly, Sun was preferred in every such case (nine respondents). HP was preferred in 23 out of 25 cases, HDS in 33 of 41 cases, and EMC in 17 of 52 cases.

Diogenes Labs and Storage congratulate HDS as the winner of the Quality Awards for enterprise-class storage arrays, and thank the hundreds of users who took the time to thoughtfully respond to our survey.

Respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement or disagreement with a series of evaluative statements in each of five categories using a 1.0-8.0 scale. A response of 1.0 indicated strong disagreement, while 8.0 indicated strong agreement. Because the 1.0-8.0 scale doesn't accommodate a neutral response, all responses indicated some degree of either favorable or unfavorable experiences. Responses were required for all questions, although "Don't know" and "Not applicable" responses were permitted. With 4.5 as the mean on this scale, scores below 4.5 are generally negative while those above are generally positive. However, the vast majority of average scores fell between 5.0 and 6.0. Thus, any score near or above 6.0 could be considered exceptional, whereas a score of less than 5.0 would be an area of concern. The survey included products from the top five companies generally recognized as enterprise-class storage vendors. Vendors whose product lines were represented in the survey had no prior knowledge of the survey, and didn't influence the selection of specific products included in the survey.

Survey respondents

The users contacted for the survey were drawn from the ranks of Storage subscribers. In total, 300 respondents indicated that they used enterprise-class storage from at least one of the five vendors in our survey. The survey has a margin of error of +/-6% with a 95% confidence factor.

Approximately 79% of the respondents identified themselves as operationally oriented individuals (e.g., storage managers/administrators, systems administrators, programmers/analysts)--those most likely to have practical experience with the systems. Fewer than 5% identified themselves as a CIO or CTO, while nearly 16% indicated "Other." Small- to medium-sized businesses--defined as companies with less than $100 million in revenue--accounted for a surprising 27.1% of the total number of enterprise-array users. Respondents were fairly evenly distributed by company size (revenue), but 58% represented only five industries, the largest of which was the financial services sector.

The Diogenes labs-Storage magazine Quality Awards

The Diogenes Labs-Storage Quality Awards is a joint project of Storage magazine and Diogenes Analytical Labs. It's an ongoing process that surveys users to gather their perceptions related to service, reliability and quality of key storage infrastructure products. The enterprise array award is the first installment of this effort; next month, Storage will report the results for backup and recovery software. Other major product categories will be addressed in the coming months.

This was first published in August 2005

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