OK, here's the latest news on the backup wars... and this time I had nothing to do with it.
Red-Gate has commissioned a report from the Tolly Group to run a comparative benchmark between them, LiteSpeed, and Idera... a decision I would imagine they're already regretting. Get the report here. I hear the benchmark was my idea. After Idera released their benchmark earlier this year, I was talking to the Red-Gate guys at TechED and said that we should all get together and do a fair benchmark with everyone on the same platform. Apparently they ran with that idea. Which is fine, but I'm not sure that Tolly has done it the right way.
The report has come out a few times now. My Quest reps tell me that the report has changed a few times since it was released in Sept. And depending on the changes, that could be something or nothing. I'm not going to make a big deal out of that unless they've changed the numbers between versions.
However, what I do find interesting is that Red-Gate has come out on top. I've personally run a lot of independent tests against all 3 of these vendors, and haven't ever published the results because their EULAs prevent it. Let me say though that while Red-Gate is a good tool, it is single-threaded and has never been able to prove itself the hands-down winner over either of the other two.
So what does the report say that I find suspect? Well, for starters, they tried to make up for their lack of multi-threading by writing to 3 files while pinning LiteSpeed and Idera to 1 file. It's certainly interesting from a performance tuning perspective, but it reads more like a report on how to make Red-Gate perform in the same league with the others by overcoming its limitations. I was curious about whether just adding 3 files would be a fair multi-threading comparison, so I put LiteSpeed in my lab last night and ran a couple quick backups. I backed up a 200GB DB with a single file, and then ran the job again with 3 files. Oddly enough, I saw just over a 20% increase in performance by striping... and yes, to the same RAID array. So it appears that even though you can make Red-Gate perform better than expected, a single-threaded application simply can't compete with a mulit-threaded one. It just can't. It should be just as easy to add a striped backup to the Tolly results, and I'm really curious why they didn't do striped backups with LiteSpeed and Idera to show what the difference would have been. If it truly doesn't add that much to the equation, then they should have shown that. So I'm thinking that it clearly makes a difference.