The client/server relationship goes back decades and even as the cloud permeates our culture, it's very unlikely to stop anytime soon. A server holds files and programs closer than the Internet, but not quite as close as your local hard drive, so it's all sharable and yet imminently accessible. That's why in our recent survey covering network-attached storage (NAS) devices and servers, we took time to ask PCMag readers specifically how they feel about the servers they use at the office, from SOHOs up to big enterprises. The results are below.
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Looking for expert opinion? Read The 10 Best Network-Attached Storage (NAS) Devices of 2016 .
Servers for Work
One big-name vendor of full enterprise-level servers made the cut in our results this year: Dell. But it only managed an overall score of 8.4 (out of 10 as the highest, 0 for the utter worst). Instead, most responses targeted small-to-medium business (SMB) level server vendors, and the leader shouldn't surprise anyone.
Synology, the Taiwanese company known for the DiskStation and RackStation models, and a long-time favorite in PC Labs, stole all the thunder in the server storm. With an overall score of 9.0—the kind of number seldom seen in our survey results—Synology is utterly in a class by itself when it comes to work servers.
What's more, Synology leads in (almost) every other metric we asked about. It's tops in reliability (9.0), has great tech support ratings (8.6), the fewest products that needed repairs (33 percent, which is tops here, but let's be honest, it's not great when one-third of products need a fix in the last 12 months), and a fantastic 9.2 score for the likelihood to be recommended to colleagues.
The only spot where Synology falls short is that its products needed tech help with 64 percent of our respondents. That's almost two-thirds! Yet…it still beats Dell's utterly ridiculous 83 percent of products needing tech support help. The best vendor in this category: Western Digital, whose line of NAS servers only needed tech support 38 percent of the time in the last year (again, that's not much a claim for fame).
Outside that tech support score, plus the amount of repairs needed (80 percent), Dell scores a solid No. 2 slot in the survey; but not good enough, we felt, to warrant even an honorable mention. Following it are Western Digital and Seagate, which may not need as many repairs or tech calls, but it's not reflected in the lackluster scores it got in other areas. Customers just aren't feeling the love with those vendors like they do with Synology.
As it leads at home with the NAS devices, so too does Synology lead at the office when it comes to server storage. PCMag readers handed it a clear win, with ratings that rival some of the best ever seen in our surveys.
We email survey invitations to PCMag.com community members, specifically subscribers to our Readers' Choice Survey mailing list. This survey was hosted by Equation Research, which also performed our data collection. This survey was in the field from March 7, 2016 through April 11, 2016.
Respondents were asked to rate their NAS device or server for work using multiple questions about their overall satisfaction with the solution, as well as experiences with technical support within the past 12 months.
Because the goal of the survey is to understand how the email marketing solutions compare to one another and not how one respondent's experience compares to another's, we use the average of the email marketing solutions' rating, not the average of every respondent's rating. In all cases, the overall ratings are not based on averages of other scores in the table; they are based on answers to the question, "Overall, how satisfied are you with your NAS device or server?"
Scores not represented as a percentage are on a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 is the best.
Net Promoter Scores are based on the concept introduced by Fred Reichheld in his 2006 best seller, The Ultimate Question, that no other question can better define the loyalty of a company's customers than "how likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?" This measure of brand loyalty is calculated by taking the percent of respondents who answered 9 or 10 (promoters) and subtracting the percent who answered 0 through 6 (detractors). (For more, read PCMag's Top Consumer Recommended Companies for 2015.)
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