Feature

Quality Awards II: Leading libraries

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The top tape libraries
Could Sun retain StorageTek's leadership after a full year of ownership? In the enterprise tape library category, the answer is an emphatic "Yes." Qualstar Corp., which didn't garner enough responses in 2005 to be statistically valid and was therefore out of consideration for the award, placed second this year. ADIC, which came in a solid second in 2005, was combined with Quantum this year and the joint entity placed fifth. IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. were third and fourth, respectively (see the "

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Overall rankings" graph within "Rankings of enterprise tape libraries").

Spectra Logic Corp., the smallest privately held vendor to qualify for the award, proved you don't have be a goliath to turn out products customers appreciate. The company also proved that its victory as the midrange Quality Award winner in 2005 was no fluke. Once again, Spectra Logic beat out six other vendors to repeat as the midrange tape library winner. In this category, however, Sun stumbled a bit from 2005. While StorageTek snared second in this category previously, as a Sun entity it fell to fifth place this year. IBM was second, followed by Overland Storage Inc. and HP. In 2005, neither Quantum nor ADIC placed well in the midrange category; the combined entity took sixth place this year. Dell fell to seventh place (out of seven) in 2006 from sixth (out of 10) in 2005, and was the only company to post a sub-5.0 overall score this year (see the "Overall rankings" graph within "Rankings of midrange tape libraries").

But that doesn't suggest that all Dell tape library customers were disenchanted. For example, Terry Nixon, network analyst at Oakland, CA-based Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Inc., says that using a Dell PowerVault Tape Backup 132T to replace an ADIC Scalar 24 in his backup environment has yielded only good results. "We originally had a loaner from Dell and it seemed to work pretty well," says Nixon. "It seemed more stable than the ADIC, even though it looks identical."

Achieving the highest overall scores in a highly competitive market isn't easy. Sun and Spectra Logic have demonstrated the ability to do it two years in a row.

This was first published in January 2007

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