You can consider product features to be the category where EMC Retrospect stumbled and lost the award among SMB backup software products. In a significant change, Retrospect's score fell from a generally positive 4.62 in 2005 to a negative 3.97 this year. This category was also Retrospect's lowest rated section in both the 2005 and 2006 surveys. Had the product achieved even a neutral 4.5 rating, it would have handily won the award for the second year in a row. While Veritas Backup Exec's 4.81 was almost a full point higher, it was one of that product's lowest category scores.
EMC Retrospect's score for this section was particularly hurt by a 3.43 rating for the statement "This product is a complete solution." But perhaps more damaging was that the product didn't get a positive rating to any statement in this section, which queried respondents on management functionality, and file-system and database backup software features.
Products in the enterprise category fared significantly better in this category. CommVault Galaxy bested BakBone NetVault for product features, the only category in which NetVault didn't achieve the highest score. CommVault respondents rewarded the product with a 6.07, higher than last year's 5.77. Respondents especially liked Galaxy's database backup, giving it a 6.24 for "This product's database backup features meet my needs."
NetVault had its best rating (6.23) for "This product is interoperable with other vendors." Sara Weylman, a SAN engineer at a New York-based payroll processing company, is an IBM TSM advocate in a Veritas NetBackup shop. She said that "there's nothing elegant about it [NetBackup]."
Cindy Yoho, a systems engineer at a Nashville, TN, publishing house, notes that the Nashville publishing house where she works is only using CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup because of a single shortcoming of HP Data Protector. "There is no Mac client," she said. "That's the one thing that Data Protector doesn't do."
Alliance Coal's Haueter, another IBM TSM devotee, particularly likes the product's disaster recovery (DR) features. "It prepares a whole DR plan that tells you exactly, step for step, what process you have to go through to rebuild your TSM environment," he said.
Initial product quality
In the initial product quality section, we asked respondents to tell us about their experiences when first using a product. According to respondents, BakBone NetVault is the easiest product to deploy among enterprise and SMB products. NetVault rated a 6.38 for "This product is easy to install," while CommVault Galaxy placed second with a 5.55. The highest rated SMB product for this statement was EMC Retrospect, which placed third overall with a 5.52.
Ease of use is another important consideration, especially in a product category not noted for its easy operation. "I think the HP product is a little easier to use," said systems engineer Yoho, comparing CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup and HP Data Protector. "I wouldn't call it as easy to use as Word," Johnson & Wales University's Price said of CommVault Galaxy, "but I don't consider it any more difficult than any other backup product I've worked with."
We also wanted to know how users perceive the financial aspects of B/R products. Often, the cost of media exceeds the cost of the backup software itself. Therefore, we asked respondents to tell us how efficiently the products use tape. In this regard, respondents indicated EMC Retrospect as best overall (6.10). Among enterprise products, CommVault Galaxy was rated the best with a 5.90.
We're always interested to see the responses to the statement "This product offers good value for the money." Here again, BakBone NetVault and Galaxy led the enterprise group with ratings of 5.85 and 5.79, respectively. These are relatively high satisfaction scores for an often contentious issue that involves money. However, the category ranges down to a "Dissatisfied" rating of 4.25 for EMC NetWorker. Among SMB products, Veritas Backup Exec was rated higher than Retrospect—5.01 to 4.62, respectively. Given that CA scored a 3.63 on this statement, it's fair to say that users aren't overwhelmed by the value delivered by any of these SMB products.
Fig. 2: Rankings of SMB backup and recovery software
Evaluating backup software products over the long haul: product reliability and repurchasing intentions, on Page 3.