Quality Awards III: IBM and Sun shine among tape libraries


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Product features
In the product features category, Sun was a study in contrasts. It finished first in the enterprise group with a 6.52, but dropped to last among midrange contenders (5.95). Kinsey is generally pleased with the feature sets of his company's Sun StorageTek L700e and two Sun StorEdge L180s. "The features are appropriate for the platform," he says, although he sees some room for improvement. "It would be nice if it was a little bit easier to ingest the tapes."

Similarly, IBM fell to the bottom of the enterprise group in this category, despite being No. 1 overall. IBM users downgraded the product's user interface with a 5.06, but indicated that overall the feature sets of the IBM libraries met their needs (6.45). "That thing is a jewel," says Mississippi Baptist Health Systems' Touchstone of his IBM System Storage TS3500.

Sun users also rated the product's user interface the lowest in the category (5.84) among midrange systems, but are apparently very pleased with its scalability (7.04). Quantum Corp., which placed second in this category, had the highest rated user interface in the group (6.25). Quantum products also received their highest marks for scalability, but its 6.73 fell a bit short of Sun's 7-plus score. When their NEO tape libraries arrived from Overland Storage Inc., Matt Morris said his operations staff got up to speed with them almost immediately.

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"They didn't have any issue with it; they knew what to do right away," says Morris, network team lead at Wolverine World Wide Inc., a Rockford, MI-based footwear manufacturer. "I'm pretty impressed."

Although Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. tied for last overall among midrange products, it leapt to the top in the features category (6.24). Apparently, the aggregate features of HP products are what users like, as they awarded the company a 6.58 for the statement "Overall, this product's features meet my needs."

Bill Davis, director of information technology at Advanced Image Direct in Fullerton, CA, backs up about 1TB every night with his HP tape library. "The library has just continued to perform at top speed regardless of software changes," he says.

Sun's midrange score was dragged down by customers' marks for its user interface (5.29), which offset a very solid score for overall features (6.42). Quantum, which placed second in this category, received its highest rating for "This product is interoperable with other vendors' products" (6.73). Perhaps, not surprisingly, its lowest rating was for user interface (5.54).

This was first published in March 2008

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