Upstart tops NAS vendors


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In the second edition of the Diogenes Labs-Storage magazine Quality Award for NAS systems, top NAS vendors like Network Appliance and EMC scored well, but BlueArc emerged as the surprise winner.

BlueArc Corp., an emerging vendor that has toiled in relative obscurity since 1998, steps into the spotlight in our 2007 Diogenes Labs-Storage magazine Quality Award NAS survey by beating out larger, more recognized competitors and winning the enterprise award. We spoke with many enthusiastic BlueArc Titan SiliconServer users, which suggests the victory isn't a statistical anomaly. The result has ended Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Corp.'s string of victories for enterprise storage Quality Awards at three. While HDS' enterprise NAS entry led the pack last year--and its enterprise storage arrays have taken top honors twice--there wasn't a high enough number of HDS survey respondents for consideration this year.

"We shopped around for a couple of years," says Ken Juneau, IT lead at Meteor Studios, a Montreal video visual-effects studio. "Finally, we got the BlueArc in and everything has been smooth." For nearly three years, the system has stood up to the company's rigorous application environment and surpassed reliability expectations. "I've been very satisfied with everything so far," says Juneau.

Network Appliance (NetApp) Inc., whose name is almost synonymous with NAS, fell to third this year among enterprise finalists with its

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FAS900/FAS3000 systems. Sun Microsystems Inc., which is far less-frequently associated with NAS systems, placed a respectable second with its StorEdge 5310 NAS appliance/StorageTek 5320. EMC Corp.'s Celerra and Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.'s StorageWorks Enterprise File Services (EFS) rounded out the overall rankings in the enterprise NAS category (see the "Overall rankings" graph in the "Rankings of enterprise NAS," PDF).

Click here for a graph showing the rankings of enterprise NAS (PDF).

But NetApp wasn't left empty-handed in this year's survey. Among midrange NAS systems, NetApp's FAS200 repeated its "grand slam" of 2006 by coming out on top in every rating category. "There never really has been a reason to move from our existing environment," says Deepak Upadhyay, senior IT architect at Cadence Design Systems Inc., San Jose, CA. "That's why we tend to enhance with the latest and greatest from NetApp." Although the firm may shop around from time to time, Cadence Design Systems has more than 150TB of capacity on both enterprise-class and midrange NetApp NAS storage systems. "We do tend to test bleeding-edge [technology] with them pretty much all the time," adds Upadhyay.

This was first published in June 2007

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