Quality Awards IV: On top again: CommVault Galaxy, EMC Retrospect


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Although users gave favorable marks to most enterprise and midrange backup software products, they still have concerns about product complexity and usability.

If the results were any tighter, they'd squeak. The 2008 edition of the Diogenes Labs-Storage magazine Quality Awards for backup and recovery software recorded lower high scores, but substantially improved low scores. In past surveys, midrange backup products scored significantly lower than enterprise-class products. This year, the enterprise products still rated higher, but the discrepancy was much smaller.

CommVault's Galaxy solidified its position as the top enterprise backup product, repeating last year's win and finishing first for the third time in the four years we've conducted the survey.

Galaxy's overall winning score of 6.01 came with the slimmest possible margin--.01--to barely nudge out Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.'s Data Protector. HP has nipped at the winner's heels in past surveys, and its final tally of 6.00 left it just shy of an upset victory. CommVault and HP each won two of the five survey categories.

IBM Corp.'s Tivoli Storage Manager held onto third place again and improved its score to 5.85 from last year's 5.72. EMC Corp. NetWorker showed the greatest improvement in the enterprise group, climbing from a 4.88 last year to 5.42 in this survey--a high enough

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score to slip by Symantec Corp.'s Veritas NetBackup (5.40) and take fourth place. Syncsort Inc.'s Backup Express, which was a finalist last year, had too few survey responses to be considered for this year's award. BakBone Software Inc.'s NetVault:Backup, the 2006 winner, also failed to garner enough responses to be in the running.

Among the midrange backup products, EMC Re-trospect retained its crown as the group champion. Its 5.56 score outdistanced second place Symantec's Backup Exec's 5.32. EMC took top honors by winning every section of the survey. Retrospect, Backup Exec and CA ARCserve Backup finished 1-2-3 in all sections of the survey.

While CA ARCserve finished third in the midrange group once again, it deserves some sort of honorable mention. Two years ago, ARCserve finished with a very negative 3.93. Since then, its scores have steadily risen and it finished with a positive overall score of 4.60 in 2008. In our 1.0-8.0 scoring system, a score of 4.50 represents the demarcation between positive and negative ratings. CA's scores were above 4.50 in three of the five categories, and only slightly negative in the other two. Clearly, CA has its product moving in the right direction.

Of all the product categories we survey for the Quality Awards, backup and recovery software is apparently the least loved. Last year, there were a number of negative comments from respondents. This year, negative comments outnumbered positive comments by approximately 4:1. Moreover, one-third of the respondents say they wouldn't make the same product purchase decision again.

In cases where respondents provide evaluations for two or more products, we compare these head-to-head matches to determine which vendor is preferred. This year, the results were quite surprising. Among enterprise products, NetWorker was involved in 29 direct comparisons and won 62.1% of them, the highest percentage among enterprise products. ARCserve was in 26 such match-ups and won 57.5% of them. Note that head-to-head comparisons could be against any product in our survey, not just the finalists.

This was first published in September 2008

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