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Backup software: BakBone upsets in Quality Awards, page 3

Evaluating backup software products over the long haul: product reliability and repurchasing intentions.

Continued from Page 2.

Product reliability

"The main thing you want in your backup system is reliability," said Yoho. "They [CA and HP] don't go down, and they don't have to have a lot of patches."

Our product reliability section gauges how well each backup software product meets service-level requirements, how often unplanned patches are required, how easy patches are to apply and so on. For this category, enterprise products had the widest spread among scores of all of the categories. BakBone NetVault achieved its second highest category score with a 6.14. The bellwether score we've detected in all of our surveys is for the statement "Patches/updates can be applied nondisruptively." In this regard, NetVault garnered an exceptionally high 6.77. Veritas NetBackup's 4.43 was the only negative reliability category rating of any enterprise product, and the product was also given a 4.01 for nondisruptive patch management. We've determined that there's a more direct connection between patch management and overall product satisfaction than any other single element.

But given the experiences of Johnson & Wales University's Price, CommVault Galaxy's 5.45 score for upgrade proficiency may be something of an understatement. "To download all the updates, it's a two-click thing," said Price. "To install the updates on every machine, it's another three clicks." He said that he was able to do a service pack upgrade on 150 servers across four campuses in approximately an hour and a half.

The overall reliability ranking for SMB backup software products wasn't particularly inspiring either. Veritas Backup Exec won the category, but with a relatively low 4.81. EMC Retrospect wasn't far behind with a 4.76, while CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup suffered its worst category score with a very negative 3.45.

We also found that the statement "This product's error handling is easy and intuitive" revealed a low level of user satisfaction. Although not all products scored poorly, the responses to this statement were among the lower scores in the category for every vendor.

Would you buy again?

We've never found a direct correlation between user satisfaction and a willingness to repurchase the product. Not all organizations use a "best in class" purchase criterion and all of them factor numerous other considerations into their decision. Moreover, organizations can't retool their B/R environment annually and generally need a compelling reason to change.

However, for organizations consolidating operations or considering a change, and for those companies that are still developing their B/R strategy, knowing which products customers would buy all over again is instructive.

In the 2006 survey, CommVault Galaxy was highest rated in this regard with 92.9% of its respondents, indicating a willingness to repurchase. IBM TSM received such consideration from 82.5% of its respondents followed by HP Data Protector (82.2%), BakBone NetVault (76.9%) and Veritas NetBackup (76.1%). EMC NetWorker was last in the enterprise group with 59.7%. Among SMB products, Veritas Backup Exec had 69.7% positive responses, followed by EMC Retrospect (52.4%) and CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup (39.3%).

Although products must meet a threshold of functionality, products that delivered trouble-free operation were generally more highly regarded than those with the longest feature lists.

Tech support and Sales force competence in backup software: Page 4.

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