Quality Awards: Backup software


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The Diogenes Labs-Storage magazine Quality Awards debuted in our August issue with the results of our service and reliability survey on enterprise-class arrays. This month, we turn to backup and recovery (B/R) software, and evaluate leading products in two categories--products for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and products for enterprise backup applications. Rather than a line-item comparison of product features or a measure of market share, the Quality Awards process quantifies the factors that contribute to users' perceptions of a product's overall quality. Toward that end, we surveyed hundreds of storage professionals who have practical experience with specific B/R products to gauge their levels of satisfaction. As a follow-up to the survey, a number of respondents were then contacted and interviewed.

About the survey

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Respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement or disagreement with a series of evaluative statements in each of five categories using a 1.0-8.0 scale. A response of 1.0 indicated strong disagreement, while 8.0 indicated strong agreement. Because the 1.0-8.0 scale doesn't accommodate a neutral response, all responses indicated some degree of either favorable or unfavorable experiences. Responses were required for all questions, although "Don't know" and "Not applicable" responses were permitted.

With 4.5 as the mean on this scale, scores below 4.5 are generally negative while those above are generally positive. The survey included 14 backup and recovery software products from leading vendors in the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) and enterprise sectors. Vendors whose products were represented in the survey had no prior knowledge of the survey, and didn't influence the selection of specific products included in the survey.

Survey respondents
The Diogenes Labs-Storage magazine Quality Awards for backup software are based on 465 unique survey respondents who provided 775 product evaluations. Thirty-five percent of those surveyed evaluated a single product. The others used more than one product, with nine respondents using as many as nine different products. Our margin of error was +4% with a 95% confidence factor.

Respondents were asked to rate the products in the following categories: sales competence, product features, product quality, product reliability and product support. Each category had up to eight questions. The overall scores for the backup and recovery (B/R) survey were lower than the scores for our previous survey on enterprise arrays. We believe this is because IT organizations find B/R to be a problem area, and are therefore more generally dissatisfied with it. "It touches everything—servers, networks, database applications-everything," says Roman Van Liempt, storage administrator for xwave Solutions in St John's, Newfoundland, an IT services company that provides support for New Brunswick Power. "Backup software will bring to light any problems that you have in your network."

The survey used to determine the winners of the Quality Awards for B/R software included five series of service and reliability questions in the following key categories:

  1. Sales competence
  2. Product features
  3. Product quality
  4. Product reliability
  5. Technical support

Respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement or disagreement with a series of evaluative statements in each of these categories using a 1.0-8.0 scale, where a response of 1.0 indicated strong disagreement and an 8.0 indicated strong agreement. With 4.5 as the mean on this scale, scores below 4.5 are generally negative and those above are generally positive.

This was first published in September 2005

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