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Upstart tops NAS vendors

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Product reliability
The product reliability section characterizes how well a product has held up over time in actual use. We asked respondents to tell us how well the product delivers related to issues such as service levels, patch management and upgrades. Our previous surveys have revealed that patch management is an area of least satisfaction for users. Once again, this statement was a strong predictor of the overall order of finish.

BlueArc's highest score (7.0) in this section was in response to "This product requires very few unplanned patches." However, users were apparently not as pleased when patches were required, as they gave BlueArc its lowest score in this section (6.50) for the statement "Patches can be applied nondisruptively."

But Meteor Studio's Juneau hasn't been disappointed with the reliability or patch management of the firm's BlueArc system. "It has never gone down," he says, and "we've only had scheduled maintenance and that's like a two-minute reboot. It's very reliable."

Sun, the second-place enterprise vendor in this category, had similar ratings. Its best score was for "This product meets my service-level requirements" (6.69), but it received a 6.13 on the nondisruptive patch issue.

Midrange NAS vendors met the same fate as their enterprise brethren. NetApp scored 7.0 or higher on every statement in the section except for the nondisruptive patch statement, where it received a 6.03. Among midrange products, EMC

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came in second to NetApp in the product reliability section, and received a 6.0 or higher on almost every statement. However, it, too, stumbled a bit with a 5.59 rating for the nondisruptive patches statement.

Technical support
The technical support section--which addresses users' experiences with their vendors' technical support--was the second lowest-rated section for BlueArc (6.73) and NetApp (6.75), as well as most of the other vendors (see the "Technical support" graphs in the "Rankings of enterprise NAS" and "Rankings of midrange NAS"). Apparently, users are satisfied but not thrilled with their technical support. However, BlueArc's enterprise product scored a 7.0 in this section for two statements: "The vendor supplies support as contractually specified" and "The vendor takes ownership of the problem." Among midrange products, NetApp's FAS200 had its highest score (7.10) for "The vendor supplies support as contractually specified."

"It's always been pretty consistent," says Lah of EMC's support of Eli Lilly and Co.'s Celerra and NS Series storage systems. "The 'sev 1' critical issues are treated very well; in my opinion, EMC does a great job on those."

This was first published in June 2007

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