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ARC 2010: SMB Network Storage

Hewlett-Packard's strength in Product Innovation made it a favorite among solution providers that sell and deploy networked storage for SMB customers, but D-Link's strong showing in the Support and Partnership categories made it a close contest.

networked storage SMB

With HP's clean sweep of the Product Innovation category and D-Link's clean sweep of the Support category, the final Annual Report Card winner was determined by the Partnership category, where D-Link won three criteria vs. two for HP. However, because of the way the scores are weighted, HP eked out the highest overall score.

/**/ /**/HP's Product Innovation sweep and D-Link's Support sweep probably stem from the nature of the two vendors' SMB partners, said Stephen Allen, president of Integrated Technology Systems, a New York-based solution provider and longtime HP partner.

Small dealers with sales of less than $50,000 per year have no specific contacts within HP and must deal with HP through its consumer support system, Allen said.

"If you call them, you get told to call your HP rep," he said. "And if you don't have an HP rep, your best source of information is from your distributor like Tech Data or Ingram Micro."

D-Link and Netgear, however, probably have better support for smaller dealers, Allen said. "D-Link isn't the same size as HP and is not dealing with as many dealers as HP," he said.

HP has been working to meet small-business storage needs with a wide range of networked storage products starting with its $500 DataVault appliance, said Lee Johns, director of product marketing for HP StorageWorks.

"D-Link and Netgear are more in the space like that of our DataVault, but they don't really scale up to meet the needs of small businesses with more sophisticated requirements," he said.

HP's DataVault appliance, like the typical D-Link or Netgear products, offers a more simple configuration than other HP products, which could impact the support score, Johns said.

"But that's no excuse," he said. "We expect to win those categories regardless. We're a channel advocate."

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