Whenever DCIG publishes a new DCIG Buyer’s Guide it generates a number of questions. This FAQ seeks to provide answers to those questions and explain why we do the things we do–and why we don’t do some things that initially seem like a good idea.
The questions that come to us typically are grouped around several themes:
- Why did/didn’t DCIG include data about feature xyz?
- Why did/didn’t DCIG include product xyz?
- Why did DCIG create this Buyer’s Guide?
- Do the DCIG Buyer’s Guides truly provide an independent viewpoint?
Where DCIG Analysts can anticipate specific questions, we provide answers in the analysis portion of each DCIG Buyer’s Guide. Within each Buyer’s Guide, we also very clearly describe the independent process by which we establish evaluation criteria, select products for inclusion, score the products, and communicate with vendors. If you are interested in seeing the detailed answers that relate to a particular Buyer’s Guide, please download the relevant DCIG Buyer’s Guide.
DCIG seeks to include only features that can be objectively and authoritatively analyzed. The features most frequently asked about are effective storage capacity after deduplication and other data compression techniques have been applied, and IOPS-related performance numbers. Indeed, we have debated their inclusion but ultimately concluded that these data elements could not be established objectively or would vary significantly based on site-specific implementation decisions and data center infrastructure factors. Jerome Wendt, DCIG’s President and Lead Analyst, has written the definitive DCIG viewpoint on the performance question in “A 7 Part Answer to the Performance Question“.
The inclusion of a product in the Buyer’s Guide generally comes down to two tests. The first test is whether or not the product meets the technical criteria for inclusion. The technical criteria set the primary boundaries. Our intent is for these boundaries to reflect criteria that are relevant to a particular kind of buying decision.
The second test is the availability of sufficient information for DCIG to do a meaningful evaluation of the product. DCIG makes a good faith effort to reach out and obtain information from as many vendors as possible by providing surveys to them for them to complete. DCIG analysts also fill out surveys for vendors based on information available from their web sites and other sources. Some products that might meet the technical criteria for inclusion may still be excluded because of insufficient data.
A third reason a product may not be included is that it became available after the cut-off date for the Buyer’s Guide. The Buyer’s Guide provides a snapshot of the marketplace as of a particular date. Without a cut-off date the Buyer’s Guide would never be published.
A final reason a product may not be included is accidental omission. Although we strive to be comprehensive, we may not be aware of or discover some products. In those cases we believe the resulting Buyer’s Guide still includes many more products–and far more data about those products–than even a diligent prospective purchaser is likely to discover through their own research efforts.
DCIG creates Buyer’s Guides in order to help end users accelerate the product research and selection process–driving cost out of the research process while simultaneously increasing confidence in the results. DCIG analysts choose a topic for a Buyer’s Guide where marketplace confusion exists. Marketplace confusion results from numerous vendors and products in the marketplace combined with a lack of readily available comparative data. DCIG seeks to provide this missing comparative data along with informed analysis.
DCIG accomplishes this goal of faster and better-informed purchasing decisions by providing an informed, third party evaluation of products that scores their features from an end user viewpoint. DCIG’s product rankings dashboards and standardized one-page data sheets enable “at-a-glance” comparisons that help organizations to quickly get to a short list of products that may meet their requirements. The result is a 50-90 page Buyer’s Guide that can be used by business technology leaders who evaluate, recommend and purchase data center infrastructure products.
After initial completion, the Buyer’s Guide is then offered for license to the vendor with the overall “Best-in-Class” product. The licensee subsequently provides end users with a time-saving resource to the end user in exchange for the end user’s contact information. All DCIG Buyer’s Guides are also made available through the DCIG analyst portal for subscribing users.
Prior to the completion of the guide, there is NO sponsorship of Buyer’s Guides. The Buyer’s Guide is created knowing there will be a winner, but we “let the chips fall where they may” on the results.
DCIG has a standard process we use to score and rank products that is fully described in each buyer’s guide. In summary, the process is:
- Prior to selecting the features ultimately included in any Buyer’s Guide a longer list of features is compiled based on features supported by products that appear to meet the DCIG inclusion criteria. In cases where a feature can not objectively defined or understood, it is excluded from consideration.
- DCIG establishes which features should be included in the Buyer’s Guide and which ones should not.
- DCIG assigns a score to each feature based primarily on our estimation of the feature’s significance or value to the end user.
- The features are grouped into general categories that will be used to summarize the scores.
- DCIG develops a survey that includes all of the features that will be scored in the Buyer’s Guide. A DCIG analyst completes a survey for each product and then sends a copy of the survey to the vendor for verification. All vendors are given the opportunity to review their unscored/unranked survey data and/or data sheets and provide updates before the final scores and rankings are determined.
- All of the features are scored based upon the finalized data.
- The products are ranked in comparison with the other products included in the Buyer’s Guide using standard ranking techniques.
For a full description of the process used to score and rank products, please download a DCIG Buyer’s Guide of particular interest to you.
DCIG is a group of analysts with IT industry expertise who provide informed, insightful, third party analysis and commentary on enterprise IT hardware, software and services. Within the data center, DCIG has a special focus on the enterprise data center infrastructure technologies and electronically stored information (ESI) industries.
DCIG independently develops and licenses access to DCIG Buyer’s Guides. DCIG Buyer’s Guides provide actionable intelligence through comprehensive, in-depth analysis of data center infrastructure product features. DCIG also develops sponsored content in the form of blog entries, case studies, product reviews, special reports and executive, standard and full-length white papers.
DCIG’s target audiences include C-level executives, IT managers, systems and storage engineers and architects, press/media, magazine and website editors, bloggers, financial and technical analysts, and cloud service providers.
We hope this FAQ about DCIG Buyer’s Guides has answered your questions. If you want additional information we recommend that you download a DCIG Buyer’s Guide or visit the DCIG web site to learn more about us and the value we bring to both vendors and end users.