Quality Awards IV: Sun shines again in tape library challenge


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Sun Microsystems Inc. tape libraries took top honors in both the midrange and enterprise categories in the latest Quality Awards survey.

When Sun Microsystems Inc. acquired Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) back in June 2005, it raised the eyebrows of more than a few industry analysts. Some doubted that adding a tape library vendor to its arsenal would help Sun, which was struggling to stay viable in the storage market at the time. But the Sun/StorageTek combo has once again teamed up to snare top honors in Storage magazine's fourth annual Quality Awards for tape libraries with a resounding sweep of both the midrange and enterprise product categories.

This is the third time Sun has finished first in the enterprise grouping in our service and reliability survey, to go along with two wins among its midrange competition. With all of those wins under its belt, it's still the first time that Sun came out on top in both product groupings in the same survey. And it was only a slim 0.02-point loss to IBM in the enterprise field last year that kept Sun from winning the category in every tape library Quality Awards installment to date.

This edition of the Quality Awards survey for tape libraries had 694 valid responses, accounting for a total of 811 product ratings (see "About the Quality Awards," below).

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About the Quality Awards

The Storage magazine Quality Awards are designed to identify and recognize products that have proven their quality and reliability in actual use. Results are derived from a survey of qualified Storage readers who assessed products in five main evaluation categories: sales-force competence, initial product quality, product features, product reliability and technical support. Our methodology incorporates statistically valid polling that eliminates market share as a factor. Our objective is to identify the most reliable product on the market regardless of vendor name, reputation or size. Products are rated on a scale of 1.00 to 8.00, where 8.00 is the most favorable score.

Seventeen product lines were included in the midrange and enterprise library categories; 13 received enough responses to be included in the final results (see "Products in the survey," below).

Products in the survey

Midrange tape libraries

  • Dell Inc. PowerVault 136T/132T/TL4000/TL2000/ML6000 Series
  • Hewlett-Packard StorageWorks MSL Series
  • IBM Corp. System Storage TS3100/TS3200/TS3310
  • Overland Storage Inc. NEO 2000/4100/4200/E-series or ARCvault 24
  • Qualstar Corp. RLS Series*
  • Quantum Corp. M Series/PX502 or Scalar 24/50
  • Sony (All models)
  • Spectra Logic Corp. 10K/20K/T24/T50*
  • Sun StorageTek SL48/C4 Tape Library
  • Tandberg Data StorageLibrary T24/T40/T80 or Magnum 224 LTO Library/448 LTO Library

Enterprise tape libraries

  • Hewlett-Packard ESL/EML Series
  • IBM TS3400/TS3500
  • Overland Storage NEO 8000*
  • Qualstar TLS Series or XLS enterprise library system*
  • Quantum Scalar i500/i2000/10K or PX720
  • Spectra Logic 64K/T120/T200/T380/T680/T950
  • Sun StorageTek SL500/SL3000/SL8500 or Sun StorageTek L1400

*Did not receive enough responses to be included in final results.

This was first published in August 2009

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