Let me start by saying that over the last 2 years, I have provided consulting services to then Imceda and later Quest to improve performance on their LiteSpeed for SQL Server backup compression product. The work I have done on the coding side involved multi-threading, asynchronous operations and the file I/O API. Of course, performance testing and analysis was also involved. In the spring of 2006, I provided the following results in support of their version 4.6 launch. Test system: CPU: 4 x 3.6GHz Xeon MP, Hyper-threading enabled Chipset: E8500 Memory: 16GB I/O: 3 Dual Channel U320 SCSI RAID Controllers Disks: 24 U320 SCSI 73GB, 10K Various disk configurations were evaluated. So long as the data disks could support the required read rate and the backup disks could support the required write rate, a CPU-bound test result could be achieved, that is, the best result possible for the given CPU and chipset combination. The test results for Windows Server 2003 64-bit, SQL Server 2005 32 & 64-bit are as follows for data with low, medium and high compressibility: Compressibility-- Backup Rate @ 4 & 8 threads 2.7 --364MB/sec -- 514MB/sec 4.9 --562MB/sec -- 742MB/sec 9.9 --807MB/sec -- 971MB/sec The restore rates ranged from 400-500MB/sec It is not my purpose here to criticize competing products. Quest paid me to improve the performance of their product, the other companies did not. Of course, if anyone is interested in sponsoring an open test where each party sends a representative to verify the configuration and settings for maximum performance for their product on a given system with adequate disk performance, I will guarantee for Quest that my work is better than anybody else#%92s (a standard implicit part of my services). Just recently, Red-Gate commissioned the Tolly Group to publish a paper comparing the performance of their SQL Server backup compression product against that of the Idera and Quest products. The Tolly Group test system was a HP ProLiant ML570G3 with 2 Dual-Core Xeon 2.5GHz processors. It appears their disk configuration was 6 x 300GB 10K disks in RAID 10 for data and 3 x 300GB 10K disks in RAID 0 for backup, but this is not clear. My test system and Tolly Group system have different CPUs, but very relevent, both use the Intel E8500 or E8501 chipset. I have a considerable library of performance data (see my Processor Performance papers) to strongly indicate that in CPU bound software applications, the difference between the two systems are essentially four 3.6GHz P4/SSE3 cores versus four 2.5GHz P4/SSE3 cores. The compression algorithms involved are highly CPU intensive and sensitive mostly to frequency, and partly to the chipset (memory latency and bandwidth). Other factors such as single and dual cores, cache size are immaterial. So the Tolly system should be able to achieve approximately 69.4% percent of my results on LiteSpeed (2.5GHz/3.6GHz). With proper hardware configuration, the Tolly system should show LiteSpeed backup rates of 252MB/sec with 4 threads and 357MB/sec with 8 threads on low compressibility data and higher rates for more compressible data. Since the Tolly test was run at default settings (3 threads) the result should have been 189MB/sec (0.75 x 252MB/sec) or better. The Tolly produced test results show 153MB/sec for LiteSpeed. Some information has leaked out that the Tolly test configuration did not actually use 3 disks in RAID 0 for the backup destination with the Quest and Idera products, only for the Red-gate product. The details do not really matter. What it comes down to is their report draws conclusions based on results far off what a competent performance expert should have generated. Again, it is not my purpose here to advocate Quest LiteSpeed or criticize Red-gate, but I will say that for anyone interested in hiring an outside firm to produce a performance test report, it is important to find an expert that can produce top quality results. In any report with poor hardware configuration details, missing test details (what was CPU load during each test for instance), the flaws are easily exposed, and it will reflect on your reputation if you hire an incompetent firm or one that deliberately twists the results to a certain conclusion. If any one suspects this has been done to them, I will be happy (on a paid basis) to examine a test report for evidence of serious incompetence or fraud.