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Guest Post By Maryling Yu, Product Marketing


In Dungeons and Dragons, my highest-level character was a Level 28 Mage. (Yes, I play a magic-user, and yes, it’s because in real life I am more brainy than brawny. And yes, I enjoy roaming through fantasy realms blasting anyone who looks at me funny with a Finger of Death spell.) When I heard the news that NetApp had taken the win – for the 4th time in 4 surveys – in SearchStorage’s Quality Awards for Enterprise Arrays, beating out an alphabet soup of stiff competition (EMC, IBM, HDS, and HP, among others), I started to think: does this make NetApp the equivalent of a Level 30 Mage in D&D? Yes, I think so.

Even my character – a blond wisp of an elven lass named “Selonae” – as powerful as she was, got “killed” off every once in a while. (Oh, and this is her, by the way):


Copyright George Mayer


You don’t see the parallel? Okay, let me explain. In D&D (2nd edition rules, anyway), you roll dice to determine how many points you can apportion over ability scores in 6 areas: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Obviously, this means that you can’t have maximum scores in all 6 attributes, or else you would be a minor deity. The idea is that to have high scores in certain attributes, you’ve got to give up scores in other attributes, making you vulnerable. My mage, for example, is long on Intelligence and Wisdom and short on Strength and Constitution.

In the SearchStorage Quality Awards for Enterprise Arrays, they ask customers to rate storage vendors on a scale of 1.00 to 8.00 in 5 main categories: sales-force competence, initial product quality, product features, product reliability, and technical support. 213 people responded to this survey, providing 320 system evaluations, so this was no statistically insignificant joke of an exercise. NetApp garnered top scores in 4 out of 5 of these categories (sales-force competence, initial product quality, product features, and technical support), and that was how we managed the overall win. And in the category we didn’t win (product reliability), we still posted a strong third-place showing (an average score of 6.58, vs. IBM’s winning score of 6.69). So that means that with our products, you don’t have to sacrifice Strength for Intelligence…er, I mean to say, quality for features, or a knowledgeable sales force for good ongoing support. NetApp can truly be considered an “all-around” performer – the D&D equivalent of a brawny AND brainy mage.


But not only is this super-mage called “NetApp” well-stacked in attributes, it’s also collected its share of conquests and experience points. In Quality Awards IV (4th edition), we shared our glory with EMC. In the Quality V (5th edition) survey, we won outright. Similarly, in the Quality VI (6th edition) survey, we won outright. And this time (Quality VII), we’re again standing alone at the top. As Rich Castagna so aptly put it:

By now, everyone should be convinced: NetApp Inc. is an enterprise data storage powerhouse and not just a major network-attached storage (NAS) player.



And I say this makes NetApp the equivalent of a Level 30 Magic-User…yep, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!


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