back to article DCIG mid-market array guide: Why we left those companies out

Conversations with DCIG have revealed why seemingly obvious companies and their products were left out of a mid-range storage array buyers' report. DCIG analyst Ken Clipperton told us about the inclusion/exclusion criteria DCIG used when compiling its report. The initial criteria for selecting suppliers and products were: …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maximum raw capacity of no more than 500 TB

    Bloody stupid!

    They should have filter by they "Sell arrays with capacity with under 500TB capacity".

    1. DCIGJerome

      Re: Maximum raw capacity of no more than 500 TB

      DCIG needed objective criteria by which it could justify the inclusion and exclusion of certain arrays in this Buyer's Guide edition. This Buyer's Guide Edition clearly sets forth those criteria. At no point in this Buyer's Guide Edition is any guidance given to storage providers as to how to size or sell their arrays.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maximum raw capacity of no more than 500 TB


        You miss the point - I don't care if the hardware can scale over 500TB, what I care about is it available with less than this, then if I require, I can scale past this. With this comparison, you completely miss array's that can scale (if chosen too) but are also available for the lower-end market.

        Its not a very good way too compare..

        1. DCIGJerome

          Re: Maximum raw capacity of no more than 500 TB

          I agree that this report does not cover arrays that scale past 500TB nor did it intend to cover them. DCIG may produce other Buyer's Guide Editions that will cover those models. DCIG can create multiple views into its enterprise storage array body of research based on different use cases that may result in Buyer's Guides. This is one such example of a use case.


            Re: Maximum raw capacity of no more than 500 TB

            Hi Jerome

            While I value your report and clarification on the criteria, I do tend to agree with a number of other comments regarding excluding arrays which scale past 500TB. I believe a more valid approach would have been to include vendors / models which provide an entry configuration below (in this instance) 500TB but allow you to scale past 500TB if you wish.

            General advice / common practice that we provide our clients is (generally) to ensure that your infrastructure (whether that be on-premise, cloud based or more commonly - hybrid) can scale both vertically and/or horizontally.

            Why would an organisation want to acquire infrastructure that cannot scale? This could potentially place them in a position down the road where their business requirements have changed e.g. unanticipated growth via merger or acquisition for example. The only option at that point is purchase another point solution which is likely to impact your TCO & RTO including management overhead. In times of limited CAPEX or OPEX, accepting scaling constraints from vendors and/or their products seems counter intuitive.

            I trust that you take this as constructive and not negative feedback.


            1. DCIGJerome

              Re: Maximum raw capacity of no more than 500 TB


              Good, constructive feedback and thanks for taking the time to share it. However, you suggest we should include all models that scale past 500TB. Well, how far past 500TB? 750TB? 1PB? a billion PBs? What would you do?

              It appears people are reading more into this Buyer's Guide Edition that it was intended to convey. This Edition is intended for those organizations that want to acquire a storage array that only needs to scale to 500TB to meet the needs of their environment. If this is your use case, this Buyer's Guide is for you and these are the best models to do so based upon our research and opinion. If not, we suggest you leverage DCIG's online research to find the best storage array for your environment.

              DCIG has the capability to produce other Buyer's Guide Editions that reflect other use cases using the same body of research into enterprise storage arrays that was used to produce this one. The results contained in each one will depend upon the use case and inclusion/exclusion criteria applied to it. As DCIG publishes each Guide Edition, we disclose how we arrived at our conclusions. In this way, individuals can make an informed decision if this particular Buyer's Guide Edition is the right one for them to use in their environment.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DCIG invalidated itself

    Eliminating solutions because they scale past 500TB? This shows a complete lack of understanding of how IT acquires systems. This is such an idiotic criteria that DCIG really should just hang it up as they clearly do not understand the competitive landscape at all.

    1. DCIGJerome

      Re: DCIG Validated Itself

      DCIG simply disclosed how it arrived at its results in this Buyer's Guide Edition. After all, these are storage arrays, part of their value proposition is storage capacity, and this is certainly a criteria that organizations evaluate when buying storage arrays. We think organizations do not act wisely if they do not evaluate storage capacity as part of the storage array buying process.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DCIG Validated Itself

        Jerome: You have absolutely no clue on how IT departments buy midrange arrays. Often times they will start with 200TB (certainly less than 500TB) to dip their toes in the tech to see how it performs - especially if they have never used that vendor or technology before. They want to learn how production workloads will work, how effective the deduplication is, etc. Then they may scale well past 500TB. Your storage ranges should be based on STARTING sizes, not peak sizes. That is truly idiotic and disconnected from the real world. To create an arbitrary cutoff of 500TB is absurd. Companies normally do not buy the capacity they need, they will start with less and scale up from there which is why your "analysis" is useless to nearly every end-user.

  3. leon clarke

    One wonders about the relative positions of the cart and horse

    Was there a secret list of vendors who ought to end up in the comparison, and then someone created a set of criteria that resulted in the right list.

    In the interests of avoiding unproven insinuations of corruption, I won't speculate on how the secret list was created.

    1. DCIGJerome

      Re: Suprising Results a Result of Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

      Rest assured, there was no secret list of vendors for inclusion or exclusion. These are simply the products that met the criteria as defined and shared in this article and in the Buyer's Guide itself.

      However, anyone (vendor, reseller, or end-user) who subscribes to and uses the DCIG Analysis Portal can dynamically apply their own criteria to DCIG's body of research into enterprise storage arrays. They may then immediately see what the outcome is based upon that criteria.

      When the particular set of criteria as disclosed here were applied to DCIG's body of research on enterprise storage arrays, DCIG got these results.

      The DCIG Analysis Portal is a very powerful tool and it may provide outcomes that even the writer of this article was surprised to learn. The difference is, he had to go and spend time to validate DCIG's research. DCIG gets these results with a few mouse clicks which it then publishes as Buyer's Guides.

      This approach is better than using a spreadsheet, faster than trying to do it yourself and much more reliable. In short, this is the application of analytics to Big Data and represents the future of analysis. Pretty slick, huh?

  4. Terje

    Who in there right mind say something like this when offered a solution "Sorry I don't want your solution since it's able to scale out more then I want"?

    1. DCIGJerome

      This Buyer's Guide Edition did not attempt to answer that question as you pose it. DCIG would generally agree with the sentiment that organizations will rule out a solution solely because it scales out to a greater capacity. But if a mid-market organization needs 500TB or less of capacity, why pay for a storage system that scales out (or up) to a greater amount? Conversely, if a mid-market organization gains access to a storage system that scales out or up over this amount for the same or a lower price, it may make sense for it to acquire that system in lieu of the one that only scales to a lower capacity.

      1. seven of five

        Bovine excrement.

      2. glnsize

        The upper scale limit of a system is an attribute of the architecture itself. It is not necessarily tied to it's price point.

        If the intent was to rule out overly expensive kit. Then DCIG should have used list price and not the capacity limits of the platform. Respectfully this doesn't add up and none of the explanations you've provided thus far pass a basic sniff test. I respect and appreciate you trying to clarify what happened here, but we aren't confused, we disagree.

        1. DCIGJerome

          DCIG has actually tried to use list prices to create Buyer's Guide editions in the past. But list prices are usually far above their street price and very few vendors willing share either their list or street prices, especially if they know these prices may be, in turn, shared publicly in a Guide such as this.

          The price of an array is often largely determined by the configuration a specific client orders or needs. As such, the price for an array can vary greatly, even on the same model.. Agree or disagree with DCIG's criteria in how it created this Guide, they are what are.

          I am unclear what you mean by "pass a sniff test." What is the criteria "to pass a sniff test?"

          1. glnsize

            By sniff test I meant that the reasoning given doesn't add up. I and others would have no problem imagining a storage vendor who is hesitant to give DCIG a real price.... However, if you at least used the inflated street price we'd at least have a valid comparison point. Then when a vendor cried fowl DCIG could stand on the hill and simply say "you gave us the price". As it stands you've independently self selected to remove a good portion of the relevant market.

            To me, this is the same as comparing automobiles based on how much gas the tank holds. It's an absurd filtering criteria, and i'm honestly shocked your still trying to argue otherwise instead of seeing what can be done to fix this.

            1. DCIGKari

              DCIG strives to be transparent about how we select vendors for certain Buyer’s Guide Editions have responded openly and professionally to comments and concerns. To summarize,

              1. We always post our inclusion and exclusion criteria in every Buyer’s Guide Edition. While we understand that not everyone agrees on the selection criteria we have chosen for a particular guide, it's important to note that this Buyer’s Guide is only ONE Edition produced from the extensive research DCIG has done on the vendors. There are numerous ways to slice the data so that vendors who may not be included in this edition may be included in a future edition based on a different set of inclusion/exclusion criteria. All of this data is made available through our Analysis Suite where subscribers can apply their own filters to identify vendors that might meet their needs.

              2. DCIG is always open to suggestions on how to improve the guides for end users, vendors, and VARs alike and welcome constructive conversation with anyone who requests it. Please contact us directly through the website,, if you are interested in participating in a guide improvement conversation. We welcome these conversations and have found them to be highly productive.

            2. DCIGJerome

              First, I am not sure DCIG can “fix” this (by which I assume you mean the unwillingness of vendors to publicly share prices) or that DCIG should even necessarily try to fix it. Buying a storage array based on price is very difficult to accomplish since there are so many hardware and software variables involved in the configuration of an array that organizations have control over.

              Second, comparing a storage array purchase to a car purchase is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Unless people order a new car, their options are largely already fixed for them when they buy the car.. Further, a car is only designed to have one driver and a few passengers. Storage arrays may be administered by one or more people and host a single app or dozens, hundreds or even thousands of apps. Due to these differences, in the use case of buying cars, price becomes an obvious point of comparison and differentiation. To arrive at a price for a storage array, many more variables generally enter the equation that must be determined before one arrives at a price.

              Third, feature evaluation is the only metric that we have found to objectively select products for inclusion or exclusion in a Buyer's Guide Edition. While it may be “shocking” DCIG takes such an approach, taking any other approach often becomes too subjective to arrive at an objective conclusion.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Regarding your comment: "Conversely, if a mid-market organization gains access to a storage system that scales out or up over this amount for the same or a lower price, it may make sense for it to acquire that system..."

        Don't you think that information would be valuable to the readers of your report, and therefore want to INCLUDE those systems in it so your readers could make a more fully informed decision?

        1. DCIGJerome

          DCIG has been all-inclusive in its Buyer's Guides in the past such as you suggest. Unfortunately, due to the number of arrays that DCIG would cover, people could not easily recognize the arrays that were best suited for specific use cases, such as those best suited for mid-market organizations. As a result, DCIG adopted a more exclusive approach in developing and releasing its Buyer's Guides so the number of models included in them are more limited than in the past.

          Any reader who would like to make a fully informed decision about buying a storage array may subscribe to the DCIG Analysis Portal and access the DCIG body of research on enterprise storage arrays. The DCIG Analysis Portal has information on literally hundreds of different storage arrays from dozens of vendors. Further, this Portal includes much more product detail than what DCIG publishes in its Buyer's Guides.

      4. Elvismiggell

        "But if a mid-market organization needs 500TB or less of capacity, why pay for a storage system that scales out (or up) to a greater amount?"

        So all of the systems that scale to 500TB+ are more expensive then?

        I take it no DCIG employee owns a car that can drive faster than the speed limit?

        1. DCIGJerome

          The generalization that all arrays that scale to more than 500+ TB cost more is not true.

          However, the use case as it pertains to this Buyer's Guide concerns hybrid storage arrays. In this use case, I would suggest those hybrid arrays that scale to higher capacities cost more than those that do not. Again, this would likely depend on the number of SSDs and HDDs that are part of its scale-out and/or scale-up configuration..

  5. Pavlov's obedient mutt

    well that was as useful

    ... as a chocolate tea pot. Not including the selection / exclusion criteria in the original report suggests a certain lack of credibility.. or rather, perhaps, maybe, a desired outcome with criterion created to match it...


    1. DCIGJerome

      Re: well that was as useful

      The inclusion/exclusion criteria was included in the original report and it was fully disclosed. Please check your facts before making daft comments,.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: well that was as useful

        What a pile of garbage. You got paid to exclude certain vendors and you came up with "objective criteria" to do it. GTFO the forums and out of the industry. Nobody wants you.

  6. DCIGJerome

    Thoughts on Including All Arrays that Scale from 100 - 500TB

    The concept of including all arrays that scale from 100-500TB regardless of how high they scale as the author of this article suggests sounds noble on the surface. Unfortunately that logic quickly breaks down as literally dozens of arrays fall into that category. DCIG has other Buyer's Guide Editions that will address the markets for which those array are intended.

  7. DCIGKen

    Clarification on reason for exclusion of Nexsan products

    I co-authored the DCIG Buyer's Guide and want to add one clarification. Most of the Nexsan products we researched were excluded on the same basis as arrays from other vendors mentioned in the article--HDS, Huawei, IBM, Lenovo, and NetApp--they scale beyond the 500TB limit that was used as a criterion for the midmarket edition.

  8. Nate Amsden

    HPE was in the report

    From what I saw in the previous el reg article(not interested to register to read the original report from DCIG), 3PAR is the go-to market system for HPE, and there are no current 3PAR systems that scale to less than 500TB as of about late September 2015(announced earlier but not shipping till later in September I believe).

  9. Neoc

    Agree with most commentards

    The proper filter should have been "must be sold as, or able to scale to, between 100TB and 500TB". As a mid-range business, if I am looking for a solution between those numbers, I do not care if their base storage is between these two numbers, if they have to scale up to meet these numbers, or if they can scale even further - the question is can they meet my storage requirements?

    Excluding them because it's possible to upgrade storage is ludicrous.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Make it easy

    DCIG should have just made it easy on themselves and made the criteria as follows:

    1. Must not be from vendors HDS, Huawei, IBM, Lenovo, NetApp or Nexsan.

  11. Noam

    My £0.02

    I find the exclusion based on scalability potential to be arbitrary, unhelpful, and a bit silly. What buyer looking to acquire 100TB of capacity would avoid looking at a given 100TB array because it could potentially be expanded to more than 500TB of capacity?

    "How big can this thing get? Well, that's just too much future proofing for me. Good day and goodbye!" :-)

    (No need to respond, Jerome - your position on this has been made clear via your comments to date.)

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