Upstart tops NAS vendors


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Unlike the enterprise category, which saw two new competitors emerge (BlueArc and Sun), the midrange category had the same four finalists as last year. EMC's NS Series moved from third place to a solid second, followed by HP's ProLiant DL series servers and Dell Inc.'s PowerVault 7xxN.

NAS satisfaction
Based on the survey results, it's fair to say NetApp has again fielded the strongest lineup from top to bottom. EMC, HP and NetApp were all finalists in both the enterprise and midrange groups and, among the three, NetApp ranked highest in both classes (just as it did in 2006). When we asked respondents if they'd buy the same system again--a retrospective assessment rather than an indication of future buying intentions--NetApp topped all midrange and enterprise NAS vendors (see "Would you buy this product again?" in the "

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Rankings of enterprise NAS," and "Rankings of midrange NAS," PDF). Among enterprise NetApp users, 86.9% of respondents said they'd make the same purchase decision, while 90.9% of its midrange users would buy again. The only other vendor to receive a rating higher than 80% was HP (85.2%). BlueArc had a "yes" rate of 77.3%. EMC NS Series added more than 10 percentage points to last year's rating, with 76.5% of its users saying they'd purchase the product again. We find the "buy again" results to be a strong indicator of overall customer experience, as it reflects a user's entire experience with the vendor.

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

This year's range of category scores was very similar to last year's, with the majority of scores falling between 6.0 and 6.75. This indicates a generally high level of satisfaction for all systems. Some caution is required when comparing year-to-year numerical scores because many variables come into play, but it's still worth noting that EMC's scores increased considerably in both the enterprise and midrange categories. As in 2006, this year's midrange scores were higher than the enterprise scores.

On our rating scale of 1.0 to 8.0, 4.5 is a neutral rating; scores below that figure reflect a negative impression. Although we occasionally get such ratings in our surveys, that wasn't the case in the 2007 NAS survey. In fact, the lowest overall score was a 5.70 (HP's enterprise NAS product). While relatively lower than other vendors, that score is still substantially above neutral and reflects overall satisfaction.

This was first published in June 2007

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