Of the 15 vendors that offer products in three or more of the surveyed SAN categories, Veritas had the highest overall scores. Veritas's No. 1 ranking is surprising, considering the quality of the competition. The field of vendors includes long-established brands in the storage market (EMC Corp., McData Corp., and Storage Technology Corp. [StorageTek]), as well as 800-pound gorillas with name recognition that extends far outside the storage world (Computer Associates International Inc. (CA), Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Lucent Technologies Inc., and Sun Microsystems Inc.). And then, of course, there is the über-gorilla, Cisco Systems Inc.
Veritas trumped them all, including the über-g, in brand recognition among potential buyers. For the three SAN categories in which it sells products, Veritas had an average name recognition score of 74.8 percent. Cisco wasn't far behind, with an average recognition score of 73.4 percent for the five SAN categories in which it plays.
Of course, this isn't exactly a David and Goliath story. Veritas is a $1.5 billion company with a 20-year track record that includes some strange dalliances with another storage industry old-timer, Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX). But considering their comparative overall statures and marketing resources, Veritas's slim victory over Cisco in name recognition is at least analogous to the Florida Marlins' victory over the New York Yankees in this year's World Series.
Maybe more significant is Veritas's first-place finish in two other market perception categories: product performance and product quality and reliability. Customers see Veritas as a seller of high-quality products. Veritas's margin of victory over Cisco was wider in these two categories, and in fact Cisco placed third in quality and reliability, getting edged out by McData for second place.
Weirdly enough, Cisco graded out first in price leadership among the vendors that have products in three or more SAN categories. And Cisco smoked the competition in service and support leadership, drawing an average leadership perception score of 37.7 percent in that category.