Quality Awards V: Spectra Logic reigns supreme


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Steady performers

There's no test like time when measuring the reliability of a product, and our survey results indicate that tape libraries are doing a better job than ever at the daily grind of data center operations. For our enterprise tape libraries, the average of all scores is the highest yet on the five surveys we've conducted, and the midrange group's score was second to only one previous survey.

Spectra's 7.26 score in the product reliability category led the enterprise pack by a substantial margin (IBM was second with a 6.34 followed by Quantum's 6.18). While the midrange group was a little more competitive, Spectra's 6.67 placed it in front of IBM and Dell.

The enterprise-class tape libraries seem to be a step ahead of their more modest brethren in the product reliability ratings. All the enterprise vendors' product lines scored well across all eight statements in this category, with the top scores generally given for "This product requires very few unplanned patches/updates" and "The product meets my service-level requirement."

For all products and all statements, there were only five sub-6.00 scores.

With a narrower margin of victory than in other categories, Spectra Logic's midrange entries scored highest on six of the statements, ceding to IBM for "This product is rarely the cause of backup failures" and to Dell for "This product experiences very few bugs."

Safety net

One product may have

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a great feature list and be easy to get up and running and manage, but the day it decides to hiccup -- and that day will come -- the most important part of the product is likely to be how well it's supported. Most users can easily overlook minor problems if they're resolved quickly and effectively, but if they have to jump through hoops or search for missing manuals, even an otherwise exemplary product can quickly go south.

In the technical support category, Spectra Logic locked up its clean sweep in both the midrange and enterprise groups, resoundingly so, with the highest scores recorded to date for tape libraries. Its 7.45 anchored a strong overall showing in the enterprise group, followed by IBM's solid 6.63 and Quantum just a hair behind with a 6.58 rating. Spectra topped 7.00 for eight statements in the category, with its highest marks for "This product is easy to service" and "Vendor's support personnel are knowledgeable." All vendors netted high ratings for having knowledgeable support personnel, punctuated by Quantum's 6.97 and IBM's 6.83 for that statement.

This was first published in December 2010

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