DCIG, LLC Announces Insider's Guide to Midrange Arrays

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Second DCIG Insider’s Guide for iSCSI and Fibre Channel Storage Arrays Provides End Users with At-a-Glance and Comprehensive Guide to Reduce Time to Evaluate

"The Gleaner Company was looking to upgrade its SAN and the DCIG 2012 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide was the primary resource that it used to evaluate available solutions,” said Gareth Segree, Systems Engineer.

Nowhere was the explosive growth of virtualization more evident than in the second annual DCIG Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide. With the industry’s leading conference focused on virtualization, VMworld 2011, attracting more than 21,000 attendees and on average a new virtual machine created every six seconds, the demands on the backend storage infrastructure are heightened.

To ease the demands, end users are demanding a storage solution that is both manageable and scalable in terms of capacity and performance. The new enhancements found in VMware vStorage APIs for vSphere 4.0 and vSphere 5.0 dramatically improve the storage management experience for organizations and performance. These changes were a few that impacted the results of this year’s comprehensive guide for midrange arrays.

From DCIG’s perspective, as 2012 approaches there has been a fundamental shift since 2010 in how most organizations look at purchasing a midrange storage array. While the emphasis on hardware characteristics is still an important consideration, features such as thin provisioning, replication, integration with new vStorage APIs and the ability to scale-out are increasing in significance. With that said, the results in the latest Buyer’s Guide were remarkably similar to the results from the inaugural guide.

DCIG, LLC evaluated more than 50 offerings from 18 companies. After an initial questionnaire of more than 60 questions was completed, participating companies’ capabilities were assessed from the questionnaire and from information available in the public domain. Solutions were then evaluated for more than 90 characteristics, and weighted after conversations with end-users. After scores were compiled, solutions were assessed and ranked either “Best-in-Class,” “Recommended,” “Excellent,” “Good,” and “Basic” across functionality and capability relative to the overall market landscape.

The intent for this Buyer’s Guide, as with all DCIG Buyer’s Guides, was to provide an “at-a-glance” comparison from which end users can select the most appropriate solution for their existing needs. The Buyer’s Guide also provides perspective on how solutions from less well known storage providers compare against established and better known brands.

“It is clear the impact virtualization is making in the industry, not just for servers and desktops, but for the storage infrastructure to support the ever increasing rise in deployments,” said Jerome Wendt, Lead Analyst and founder, DCIG, LLC. “Features and capabilities that were important in 2010, while not diminished in significance, were not as influential in the minds of purchasers. From DCIG’s perspective, organizations now want midrange arrays to integrate with VMware vSphere so they can more effectively and efficiently use the storage capacity available on midrange arrays in their virtualized environment.”

The DCIG 2011 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide Top solutions include (in alphabetical order): Dell EqualLogic PS6000/PS6100 Series; EMC VNX 5500, 5700 and 7500; HDS AMS 2500; HP 3PAR F400 and F200 Storage Systems; IBM XIV Gen3; and NetApp FAS 3270, 3240, 3210;

The DCIG 2011 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide:

  •     Provides an objective, third party evaluation of midrange arrays that evaluates and scores

their features from an end user’s viewpoint

  •     Includes recommendations on how to best use this Buyer’s Guide
  •     Scores and ranks the features on each midrange array based upon the criteria that matter most to end users so they can quickly know which midrange arrays are the most appropriate for them to use and under what conditions
  •     Provides data sheets for 53 midrange arrays from 18 different storage providers so end users can do quick comparisons of the features that are supported and not supported on each midrange array
  •     Provides insight into which features on a midrange array will result in improved performance
  •     Provide insights into what features midrange arrays offer to optimize their VMware integration
  •     Gives any organization the ability to request competitive bids from different providers of midrange arrays that are “apples-to-apples”

"The Gleaner Company was looking to upgrade its SAN and the DCIG 2012 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide was the primary resource that it used to evaluate available solutions,” said Gareth Segree,
Systems Engineer, The Gleaner Company Limited. “We even used the Buyer’s Guide to evaluate midrange arrays that were unfamiliar to us but appeared to meet our requirements."

Of the evaluated midrange array solutions, the HP 3PAR F400 Storage System achieved the only “Best-In-Class” ranking. In comparison to other solutions, highlights of its “Best-in-Class” ranking included the following details:

  •     Achieved the top score in the Array Management category
  •     Shared the top score in the vSphere Integration category
  •     Supported both the Fibre Channel and iSCSI storage networking protocols
  •     Provided superior implementation of thin provisioning
  •     Delivered a scale-out architecture

“Virtualization and IT-as-a-Service are having a huge impact on organizations today, changing how enterprises and service providers implement and manage storage in their technology infrastructures,” said Craig Nunes, vice president of marketing, Storage, HP. “The HP 3PAR family was built from the ground up specifically for these environments to deliver efficiency, agility and multitenancy in our customers’ virtualized data centers.”

Disclosure and Methodology
DCIG identified more than 20 plus companies that provide midrange arrays. Each provider was given the opportunity to complete a survey with 60 questions and had to support either iSCSI or Fibre Channel, had to scale to support at least 60 TBs of raw capacity, had to support two controllers with some method of failover, and had to be shipping as of September 1, 2011.

In every case every participating vendor had the opportunity to review and respond to the survey and the information regarding their product displayed on the data sheets included in this Buyer’s Guide.

DCIG also spoke to various end-users to get a sense of how they would weight their needs in these various areas. DCIG then evaluated the vendors’ capabilities by applying weighting indicated from our conversations with these end-users. No vendors, whether clients or not, were afforded preferential treatment in the Buyer’s Guide. All research was based upon information provided directly by vendors, research and analysis by DCIG and other publicly available information.

Availability
The DCIG Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide is available immediately and may be downloaded for no charge with registration at the following link: http://www.hp.com/go/dcig2011study.

Resources:

DCIG Blog: http://www.dcig.com

About DCIG
DCIG, LLC, is an analyst firm with headquarters in Texas, focusing on archive, backup, retrieval and storage systems. DCIG analyzes software, hardware and services companies within the enterprise data storage and electronically stored information (ESI) industries. DCIG's target audiences includes C-level executives, IT managers, systems and storage engineers and architects, press/media, magazine and website editors, other bloggers, financial and technical analysts and cloud service providers. As industry experts DCIG independently develops and licenses access to DCIG Buyer's Guides. Buyer's Guides provide comprehensive, in-depth analysis and recommendations of products available for purchase in the various enterprise data storage and ESI spaces. DCIG's goal is to provide informed, insightful third party analysis and commentary through both sponsored and unsponsored content delivered in the form of blog entries, case studies, product reviews, special reports and executive, standard and full-length white papers. More information about DCIG is available at http://www.dcig.com.

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Jim Nash
DCIG, LLC
(952) 442-8608
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