Rating of Software and Hardware Products

The ratings presented are an average of the opinions of the visitors to this site. The number of visitors who have rated each product is indicated. The ratings are those of our visitors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of anyone associated with this web site.

Vendors and users are welcome to add comments which will be hyper-linked to the associated product. We will also remove all reference to a vendor's product should they so request. We reserve the right to remove from consideration any input which appears to be blatantly biased, or multiple ratings which appear to come from the same source.

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The priorities which apply when selecting enterprise hardware and software are different than those for consumer products. We have selected the following four important factors, and have asked our visitors to give each product that they are familiar with a score between 1 and 5 for each factor.


This is the visitors' assessment of how the market share of that product compares to competitive products in the visitor's industry.

It can be argued, that given the rapidly evolving nature of hardware and software products, a product which achieves controlling market share will eventually out-distance its rivals in all other measures. To paraphrase the old saying about real estate:

When buying enterprise hardware and software, the three most important factors are Market Share, Market Share, and Market Share

Engineers and IT professionals must consider the "survival potential" of any product which requires long term availability and support. In fact, this may be more fundamental than technical features or price. The market survivor will eventually incorporate any competitor's feature which the market deems valuable, and price/performance ratios are constantly falling.


Relevance of particular product features is highly dependant upon the application intended for the product. This rating is the visitors' judgement of whether the product has more or less features, and whether these features are more useful when compared to other products in the category for their application in their industry.


This is the visitors' assessment of the installed price of the product in comparison to others in its category. Rather than only published list prices, factors such as discounting practices, training and documentation costs, cost of spare parts and accessories, should be included to give an overall assessment of cost of ownership.


"Support" is an assessment of the relative responsiveness or effectiveness of remote support ( e.g. telephone and email support, on-line troubleshooting databases, etc.), and local support (spare parts delivery, repair services).

There are a number of factors which influence the applicability of the ratings. For example,

It is therefore important to provide a measure of the degree of "agreement" on the ratings given by the different users. This has been done by adding a calculation of "standard deviation" to the simple averages of ratings. If the product rating assigned by users has a high standard deviation, the rating will be indicated in red. If it has an average standard deviation, the rating will be indicated in yellow, and if it has a low standard deviation, the rating will be indicated in green.

The relative ranking of series of products might therefore be presented as follows:

Product A - Score 5, High Level of Agreement
Product B - Score 3, Average Level of Agreement
Product C - Score 3, Low Level of Agreement
Product D - Score 2, Low Level of Agreement
Product E - Score 1, Average Level of Agreement

Thus, the rating of a product within it's class will include added information as to whether the standard deviation of the rating was above, below, or at, the average standard deviatiion for all product ratings on the site. If the rating is green, proceed with confidence. If it is yellow, proceed with caution, and if it is red, stop and look carefully at why there is such a high level of disagreement among users.

by Gary Rathwell reserved

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