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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 Networks, 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 percent of the marketing literature's stated capacity of 2 million messages per day.

Calls to Barracuda's tech support resulted in little progress. However, a salesperson left a message suggesting that the 2 million mark could only be 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, dropping over 99 percent of the traffic at the MTA level ..." He further stated that the average organization drops 75 percent of the traffic at the MTA level, which, by Barracuda's own calculations, translates into a capacity of 306,000 messages per day--better performance than the ISP was getting, but still just 15.3 percent of the marketing literature.

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