Quality Awards III: IBM and Sun shine among tape libraries


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Initial product quality
In our initial product quality category, Sun topped the list of enterprise products with a 6.45, followed by Quantum (6.23) and IBM (6.17). Part of the reason for Sun's success in this category is its installation process. "They require that everything is certified," says Emilio Greatti, senior storage, midrange project manager at MPS Group Inc., a business services firm in Jacksonville, FL. "They really do try to make sure that the product is going to work as advertised."

Unlike the product features section, Sun was able to duplicate its winning way among midrange products with a score of 6.48, while Dell jumped to second with a 6.38. Sun had its highest enterprise and midrange category ratings for the statements "I am satisfied with the level of professional service required by this product" and "This product is easy to use." Dell also scored its high mark in this category for the required level of professional services. "It was deployed initially by fairly unfamiliar staff and it ran fine," says LandAmerica's Kinsey of his firm's Dell library, which has since been redeployed with similar results.

The initial product quality section of our survey asks users to respond to the statement "This product delivers good value for the money." This year, the "value king" was Dell with a 6.45 for all products, edging out Sun's 6.44 for enterprise systems and Quantum's 6.33 for midrange systems. Responses to this statement seem to be a bellwether, as IBM didn't do well in this section and scored a 6.22 (enterprise) and 6.06 (midrange) for the value statement.

Product reliability
If reliability is another of your core concerns, Sun products apparently can't be beat. The company took top position in both the enterprise (6.26) and midrange (6.30) classes in this category. IBM took second among enterprise products (5.98), while Dell took second among midrange systems (6.10).

When respondents were asked to rate the products for "This product meets my service-level requirements," Sun's enterprise products easily topped the field with a 7.0. Despite the excellent scores, 7.0 and higher ratings were rare in this survey. In a related bellwether issue, we pose the statement "This product requires very few unplanned patches." Almost invariably, this statement correlates very closely to the order of finish. This year, Sun's midrange bested all systems with a 7.08 rating. Sun's enterprise systems were also rated highest in this regard (6.57), but were followed very closely by IBM (6.53).

In both classes, reliability scores were generally high, perhaps something of a surprise for such mechanical devices. HP finished fourth in the midrange field, but with a solid 5.84 reliability rating.

"We've had that HP library since 2004--same drives and it's never been down once," says Advanced Image Direct's Davis. "I've been extremely happy with it."

This was first published in March 2008

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