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Quality Awards V: Spectra Logic reigns supreme

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Spectra Logic tops both the midrange and enterprise tape library categories in the latest Storage magazine/ SearchStorage.com Quality Awards service and reliability survey.

When Spectra Logic Corp. shows up for the Storage magazine/ SearchStorage.com Quality Awards for tape libraries, it doesn't fool around. Leading the field for both midrange and enterprise-class libraries by substantial margins, Spectra Logic adds a couple of new notches to its belt to complement its two previous wins in the midrange group, as well as a win and a second-place finish for enterprise products. In all other cases -- three enterprise and two midrange surveys -- Spectra failed to tally enough responses to be among the finalists.

If they're in it, they win it . . . or just miss, as with Spectra's second-place overall ranking in the last enterprise tape libraries survey. This time, Spectra's overall score bested its nearest competitor in the enterprise group by nearly a full point: 7.40 to IBM's 6.47. Quantum Corp. (6.39), Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. (6.24) and Oracle Corp. (6.16) rounded out the list of five finalists. It should be noted that all the scores were very good, and any of them would have been high enough to take top honors on at least one our past surveys.

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About the survey

The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com 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 readers who assess products in five main 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. Indeed, our objective is to identify the most reliable products 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 best score. A total of 331 respondents provided 372 midrange and enterprise-class tape library evaluations.

In the midrange group, Spectra made it back to the winner's podium after missing the finalist cut in our previous two tape library surveys (but finishing first in the first two surveys). Its overall score of 6.84 was a bit less impressive than its enterprise ranking, but it was more than enough to once again beat IBM, which notched a fine score of 6.43; filling out the midrange field were Dell Inc. (6.33), HP (6.25) and Sony (5.46).

One respondent referred to Spectra as "the most overlooked tape vendor in the market." If there's any truth to that distinction, it's bound to change soon.

The "steady and solid" award (if we had one) would have to go to IBM. Over the course of the five surveys we've fielded in the past five years, the company has snagged just one enterprise win but perennially finishes second or third in both tape library categories -- a demonstration of consistency unmatched by other library vendors and rare among any of our Quality Award product categories.

Products in the survey

The following vendors/model lines of midrange and enterprise-class tape libraries were included in this Quality Awards survey. The total number of responses for each finalist is included in parentheses after the product names.

Midrange tape libraries
• Dell Inc. PowerVault 124T/114T, TL4000/TL2000 or ML6000 Series (76)
• Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. StorageWorks MSL Series (25)
• IBM System Storage TS3100/TS3200/TS3310 (29)
• Oracle Corp. (Sun) StorageTek SL24 or SL48*
• Overland Storage Inc. NEO 200s/400s or NEO 2000E/4000E Series*
• Qualstar Corp. TLS or XLS Series*
• Quantum Corp. M Series, PX502, Scalar i40/i80 or Scalar 24/50*
• Sony (All models) (13)
• Spectra Logic Corp. 20K/T24/T50 (17)
• Tandberg Data StorageLibrary T24/T40/T80/T120/T160 or StorageLoader Series*

Enterprise tape libraries
• Hewlett-Packard StorageWorks ESL/EML Series (22)
• IBM System Storage TS3400/TS3500 (49)
• Oracle (Sun) StorageTek SL500/SL3000/SL8500 (38)
• Overland Storage NEO 8000 Series*
• Qualstar RLS Series*
• Quantum Scalar i500/i2000/i6000 or PX720 (36)
• Spectra Logic 64K/T120/T200/T380/T680/T950 or T-Finity (19)

*Received too few responses to be included among finalists

This was first published in December 2010

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