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Truth vs. 'Truthiness' in Vendor Claims

Veteran IT buyers know that vendor promises about performance or capacity tend to be aspirational rather than factual. But Barracuda, maker of the Network Spam Firewall, has stooped to a new low: eight times lower, that is....

Veteran IT buyers know that vendor promises about performance or capacity tend to be aspirational rather than factual. But Barracuda, maker of the Network Spam Firewall, has stooped to a new low: eight times lower, that is. Recent experiences with their Model 300 in an ISP environment demonstrated that each box could handle 250,000 messages per day, only 12.5% of the marketing literature???s stated capacity of 2 million messages per day.

Calls by the ISP???s staff to Barracuda???s tech support resulted in little progress. However, a salesperson left a message suggesting that the 2 million mark could be only attained by ???corporate customers, in a very pristine environment, not dealing with very much spam and everything like that??????

In a follow-up e-mail an upper-tier technician wrote that ???the data sheets reflect an environment in which the spam firewall can perform at its best with dropping over 99% of the traffic at the MTA level?????? He further stated that the average organization drops 75% of the traffic at the MTA level, which by Barracuda???s own calculation translates into a capacity of 306,000 messages per day???better performance than the ISP was getting, but still just 30.6% of the marketing literature.

Barracuda gets very low marks for veracity, but very high marks for brazenness: a salesperson attempted an upsell with a measly 10% credit toward hardware that was a little less than a year old.

--Frank Bulk, fbulk@nwc.com

Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio
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