|NetApp and Synology sew up top NAS honors|
|Friday, 18 March 2016 00:00|
NAS STANDS FOR network attached storage—but it’s also the first three letters of “nasty.” And judging by the tough evaluation standards of our survey respondents, NAS system vendors better sit up and take notice—or run for cover.
The respondents to our 10th Quality Awards survey for NAS systems, continuing a trend we saw developing last year, were tough critics of their network-attached storage vendors and systems in both the midrange and enterprise categories.
Across the board, scores were down from last year, when we saw some of the lowest marks ever doled out by respondents. It’s likely more a “honeymoon is over” situation than deep-seated disappointment, as the spiraling growth of file data is taxing all types and sizes of NAS boxes in companies big and small. So what we’re seeing is probably more about heightened expectations of network-attached storage system vendors than broad disappointment with the product category.
Against that backdrop, we had a couple of very tight races, with NetApp prevailing among enterprise NAS systems and a newcomer—Synology—rising to the top of the midrange class.
Our 505 valid survey responses yielded 616 product evaluations, with six enterprise and seven midrange product lines comprising our finalists in the survey for NAS systems.
Overall Rankings: And the winners are ...
Enterprise: With an overall average score of 6.10, NetApp outdistanced a cluster of rivals who finished second, third and fourth separated by only .04 points. For NetApp, this is its second enterprise NAS win, its first coming back in the third edition of this survey. And while NetApp’s margin over second-place EMC (6.01) was relatively narrow, the NAS storage systems pioneer actually won quite handily, earning top marks in four of the five rating categories and coming in second in the fifth. EMC led in the final category and enjoyed an incredibly consistent cruise across all categories with only a .08 spread from its lowest to highest scores. DataDirect Networks (DDN) was just a hair behind EMC with an overall 5.99 for its best finish to date, with the same margin separating it from fourth-place IBM (5.97).
NAS NOTE: The group’s average overall score was 5.93—just barely above last year’s lowest ever at 5.92.
Midrange: The enterprise race was close, but the midrange competition was almost too close to call. The top three vendors—Synology, HPE and NetApp—were separated by .03 points. Synology’s .01 point lead over second-place HPE was as close to a dead heat as you can get. Those three leaders divvied up rating category honors with Synology winning two, HPE snagging one and NetApp coming out on top in the remaining two (tied with EMC in one). Hands-down, this was the closest competition ever among midrange NAS storage systems, but they didn’t stand out relative to past surveys. In fact, the group’s average overall score was the lowest we’ve seen to date across the 10 sets of survey results. The group’s average category scores were either the lowest or second lowest ever.
NAS NOTE: Before this survey, the narrowest margin between overall first- and second-place midrange finishers was .11 points.
Initial Product Quality: Rating the out-of-the-box experience
Enterprise: All of the enterprise NAS products fared well for initial quality, resulting in an exceptionally tight race, which NetApp won by a .03 margin over DDN and IBM. The others were also packed in tightly, yielding a .18 point spread spanning all six vendors—by far, the smallest spread we’ve ever seen from top to bottom. NetApp finished first without coming out on top on any rating statement. DDN’s 6.44 was tops for the bellwether statement, “This product delivers good value for the money”; it also did well for ease of use (6.32). IBM prevailed on two statements, highlighted by a category-high 6.58 for products that install without defects. EMC and HPE grabbed one apiece: EMC for products requiring little vendor intervention (6.07) and HPE for getting products up and running easily (6.17).
NAS NOTE: The enterprise group’s overall average for quality of 6.05 improved on last year’s lowest ever.
Midrange: Synology customers are clearly pleased with the quality of the company’s products, as the SMB-focused vendor notched a category average of 6.57 by racking up the highest marks for each statement (with one tie). That solid mark was underscored by a pair of 6.77s for installing without defects and products that get up and running quickly. HPE’s 6.21 score was good for second place as it tied Synology for user satisfaction with the level of professional services that products require (6.33). HPE was the only vendor in addition to Synology to earn 6.0 or higher marks on all six category statements. Dell (6.04) rounded out the top three, a showing anchored by its best score of 6.30 earned for products that can get up and running quickly.
NAS NOTE: As a group, initial quality was midrange systems best category, with a category average of 5.99.
Product Features: What’s under the hood counts
Enterprise: NetApp was the only vendor to rack up 6.0- plus scores on all the rating statements for features and, in doing so, netted the highest marks for three of the seven statements. NetApp’s best performances came for “Overall, this product’s features meet my needs” (6.40) and a 6.37 for mirroring features. As usual, NetApp also did well for snapshotting features, garnering a 6.10, bested only by DDN’s 6.15. In addition to that statement win, second-place DDN led the group for two others, with a 6.25 for replication and a 6.16 for interoperability. EMC leveraged a solid 6.33 for scalable capacity that won that statement and helped EMC nip IBM 5.99 to 5.94 to finish third. Although there were plenty of good results, as a group, the overall rating was only .01 point higher than last year, which was the lowest group score for features ever.
NAS NOTE: NetApp was the only vendor to merit a score better than 6.0 for management features (6.15).
Midrange: Synology matched its initial quality win with a second category victory in the features category to outpace NetApp (6.21) and HPE (6.04). Synology and NetApp were the only vendors to put up 6.0-plus scores for all features rating statements, and they split statement wins with Synology for five and NetApp copping the last two. Synology’s strength was highlighted by sterling scores for overall feature satisfaction (6.65), management features (6.46) and snapshotting (6.38). NetApp earned ratings from 6.12 to 6.28, with statement wins for interoperability with other vendors’ gear (6.22) and replication features (6.19). Most of HPE’s grades were between 5.80 and 5.90, but it fared well for overall satisfaction with its feature sets (6.48) and management capabilities (6.38).
NAS NOTE: Midrange NAS systems typically do well here, but this group’s overall average was lower than all but one previous survey.
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Credit: http://searchstorage.techtarget.com by Rich Castagna