Some Final Thoughts on the DCIG 2013 Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide

As almost seems customary with any release of the DCIG Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide, it more so than any other Buyer’s Guide that DCIG produces elicits a number of responses from third parties. We are grateful that most of this commentary was quite civil and, in a couple of cases, actually helped to reinforce the points that DCIG makes either in the Guide or in other DCIG blog entries. However there are few of these comments that I wanted to respond to and add a few of my own thoughts.

The allegations that were made over the last few weeks in response to this latest Buyer’s Guide were all items that have been brought up before. However as DCIG has produced over 10 of these Guides to date and has 15 more in the pipeline for this year, it is important to understand which of these allegations have merit and which ones are completely baseless.

  • No one pays DCIG to come out on top. The allegation of someone paying a DCIG a fee so they would come out on top is almost always leveled.  By now it should be evident that no one does pay DCIG a fee to come out on top. DCIG has licensed Buyer’s Guides to a diverse set of companies to include Nexsan (now Imation,) HP, NetApp, Tegile Systems, CommVault, ExaGrid, Guidance Software, STORServer and others.

DCIG purposely does not accept any payment up front to ensure a “favorable” outcome for any particular vendor because we know that if we ever did that this would tarnish the present and future value of these Guides. It is because they are licensed only after the research is done that they carry so much weight in the market place.  

This is also why I suspect that third parties sometimes feel obliged to respond to these Buyer’s Guides and try to diminish their value. End-users know a good piece of research when they see it. So when they read these Buyer’s Guides, they grasp the methodology used in them, the depth of information they contain and how the conclusions were reached. This is something no other publicly available analyst report offers.

  • An informed opinion. The allegation is made that these Buyer’s Guide are biased. Well, I have news for you. They are. DCIG takes the position that any analyst report worth its salt better be biased or why even bother writing or reading it?

If the author claims it is an unbiased report, then I question how truly unbiased it is. After all, if you have no knowledge or insight into a particular technology, the report is worse than unbiased. It represents an uninformed opinion and who wants to read that?

Part of the motivation behind these Buyer’s Guides was to do the heavy lifting for users by assembling information that is publicly available and delivering it in a format that was easy for them to understand.

But just as important, no user just wants a pile of information or facts. Those become paperweights. They want these Guides to provides them guidance (hence the term “Buyer’s Guides“) because they may not be experts on a subject and are looking to analysts to provide them with much needed guidance.

This is what these Buyer’s Guides provide. They are developed by current and former end-users. These individuals know a thing or hundred about data storage, data protection, networking, archiving or whatever other topic that a particular Buyer’s Guide happens to be covering.  So in addition to just putting together a list of features, they add their opinion to it by assessing which features they think are the most important, weighting them accordingly and then scoring and ranking the products.

It is their opinion that gives these Buyer’s Guides sizzle and gravitas. Other analyst firms and magazines hand out awards but the criteria upon how these determinations made are vague at best. DCIG is very transparent as to which features it evaluated and contributed to the final score. This is why DCIG Buyer’s Guides have staying power and credibility.

Further, it should not always be assumed that just because someone has experience with a product that it was always a good experience. There are over 20 virtual server backup software products for a reason. Clearly someone was unhappy with another backup product for some reason and went looking for something new. We try to help them make their next buying decision a little easier.

  • Scoring well is dependent upon the product being feature rich and able to document them. In a general sense, the most feature rich products are the ones most likely to score well and even come out on top in the Buyer’s Guide. However there are Buyer’s Guides where the product that came out on top surprised me for a number of reasons.

Sometimes products that are “perceived” as leading products fail to keep up with changes in the market place. Sometimes they do not communicate what features they offer and we cannot locate them on their web site or other third party sites.  As such, we cannot give them credit for having a feature if we cannot authoritatively document that they have it.

So when vendors complain about scoring lowly or DCIG not fairly representing their product in the Buyer’s Guide, they are disrespecting DCIG analysts and its readers. They have multiple opportunities to share their information with us, validate what DCIG is going to publish before a Buyer’s Guide is published and then provided a window of time to review DCIG’s research about their product and respond to it. So if anyone complains about how its product is reflected in the Guide, they have no one to blame but themselves.

DCIG even gives vendors the opportunity to update their information in the DCIG Interactive Buyer’s Guide (IBG) after the initial Buyer’s Guide is published. In this way, if they do make changes or upgrades to their product, they can update the IBG, produce reports and correct any misperceptions about their product. The IBG then gives them the opportunity to generate analyst branded reports that show side-by-side comparisons of any product and any feature covered in the Guide.  

Otherwise as DCIG demonstrates by a sample report produced from its IBG below, if you want to achieve a higher score in the Buyer’s Guide, start producing a better product and stop complaining about how you fared in the Guide.

commvault versus evault.JPG

Source: DCIG IBG
Jerome M. Wendt

About Jerome M. Wendt

President & Lead Analyst of DCIG, Inc. Jerome Wendt is the President and Lead Analyst of DCIG Inc., an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Wendt founded the company in September 2006.

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