The range of scores narrowed for technical support. BakBone's NetVault was again the leader among enterprise backup software products, but its 5.79 rating in this category and for product features were its lowest category scores. EMC's NetWorker trailed the group with a somewhat positive 4.69. Among the SMB products, EMC Retrospect and Veritas Backup Exec had solid technical support scores of 5.70 and 5.35, respectively.
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"We don't have to call them that often," said Alliance Coal's Haueter of IBM's support for TSM. "But when we do call them, they pretty much get us what we need." Of course, everyone would like their tech support issues resolved on the first call, but expeditious problem escalation is equally desirable. "HP has stellar support," systems engineer Yoho said. "They're very willing to escalate the problem quickly—if they can't find a solution, they immediately bump it up to someone else."
While Price hasn't had any serious problems aside from the usual implementation and learning curve issues, he senses that CommVault is trying to strengthen its tech support. "They've been hiring more people, and you can tell that calls are much shorter and resolutions are much faster," he said.
We realize that first-level technical support is often provided by a reseller or company other than the manufacturer. Therefore, we asked respondents to react to the statement "Vendor's third-party partners are knowledgeable." BakBone NetVault received a 6.62 for this statement, well above its category average. EMC Retrospect was also highly rated with a 6.38. No other backup software product was rated above a 6.0 in this regard.
The majority of backup apps are sold through resellers, so some of the survey results are more a reflection of a conglomeration of resellers rather than the vendor directly. However, the results highlight a vendor's ability to recruit, train, service and support quality resellers.
All winners of our Quality Awards have scored high on salesforce competence. BakBone NetVault did so in style this year, with a very high 6.16. CommVault Galaxy also scored well, but with a relatively distant 5.47. For the statement "My sales rep is flexible," NetVault gained its highest score (6.31). More importantly, it scored 6.15 for the statement "The vendor's licensing formula offers good value." EMC Retrospect had the second highest rating among all products for this statement with a 6.38.
Licensing (how the licenses are counted and what their price is based on: CPU, tape drives or volumes) is one of the key areas of contention in the sales process.
"I just really don't like the idea that every time I add a few more servers, I've got to go buy some more licenses," Yoho said, in reference to CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup. Yoho's company also uses HP Data Protector and she notes that "HP's licensing works a lot better for us. It's just licensed by tape drive." Price said he thinks CommVault's licensing is much easier vs. Veritas NetBackup. "The system monitors the licenses and you can only use exactly what you have," he said.
Interestingly, Veritas Backup Exec (with a 5.54) didn't win this category among SMB products, while EMC Retrospect had its best category score for salesforce competence (6.03). In fact, this was the only score in any SMB product category that exceeded 6.0. This was CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup's strongest category score (4.86), and the only one in which it posted a positive score.
About the authors, and about the backup software survey: Page 5.