Rubrik has questioned the credibility of a recent magic quadrant (MQ) report from Gartner, insisting that the analyst firm’s methodology was “seriously flawed”.
The public outburst from Bipul Sinha - co-founder and CEO of Rubrik - came in response to the publication of '2019 Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions', with the vendor ranked as a ‘visionary’ behind Actifio.
Market leaders are Dell EMC, Commvault, IBM, Veritas and Veeam, while niche players include Arcserve, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Unitrends.
According to Sinha, the results are “inconsistent” and represent a “major conflict of interest and bias” at the heart of the drafting process, as outlined via a company blog post.
“We have engaged with the Gartner team over several months to remedy a number of significant issues and concerns to no avail, so we felt it was important that the market, including our customers, potential customers, partners and employees, have the full set of facts that are pertinent in objectively evaluating the information contained in this MQ,” wrote Sinha.
Since the report was last published in 2017, Sinha said Rubrik has made “significant progress”, “out-paced all of its competitors” and delivered a “disproportionately large impact” on the data centre back-up and recovery market.
“Yet, this progress has not manifested in any significant movement, as reflected in Rubrik’s position within the 2019 MQ,” he added.
Sinha also accused Gartner of failing to manage a “major conflict of interest and bias” during the drafting process, in relation to five analysts allegedly approaching Rubrik seeking employment.
“In 2018, five Gartner analysts covering back-up and recovery separately sought to leave Gartner and approached Rubrik for employment,” Sinha explained. “Of the five, Rubrik eventually made offers to only four analysts.
“What happened to analyst #5? After his sustained pursuit of a position with Rubrik, we declined to offer analyst #5 a role, and he expressed his clear disappointment in light of his colleagues’ hirings at Rubrik.
“Approximately four months after communicating this displeasure, analyst #5 would change teams and be named as a lead analyst on the MQ covering Rubrik. We expected that this conflict of interest would have been disclosed, as Gartner’s policy requires, and it was not.”
During subsequent process with the Ombudsman, Sinha said Gartner “did not acknowledge” the conflict of interest, and instead continued to "justify their findings with new arguments", many of which were allegedly supplied by 'analyst #5' and justified by Gartner’s Peer Review Process.
“When the conflict of interest was clear to Gartner, a second full review was conducted over a three week period, which concluded with a product that “provides no material change” and is now the current 2019 MQ,” Sinha added.
“We are disappointed that Gartner’s proposed resolution was to rely upon a short three week review performed by a new analyst relying upon analyst #5’s work, analysis, and data. This is in sharp contrast with the typical 4-5 month research process led by dedicated analysts with deep firsthand experience with customers and vendors in our industry.”
According to Gartner, a magic quadrant provides a “graphical competitive positioning” of four types of technology providers, in markets where "growth is high and provider differentiation is distinct".
Leaders execute well against their current vision and are well positioned for tomorrow while visionaries understand where the market is going or have a vision for changing market rules, but do not yet execute well.
Meanwhile, niche players focus successfully on a small segment, or are unfocused and do not out-innovate or outperform others, with challengers executing well today or may dominate a large segment, but do not demonstrate an understanding of market direction.
Specific to Rubrik, Sinha said the vendor made 17 “substantive corrections” of fact in response to Gartner’s verdict that led to “no material” changes in outcome.
“Despite a comprehensive 30-page survey submission and 25 formal analyst inquiries over the preceding 12 months, Gartner failed to get many basic facts correct in the draft MQ and critical capabilities,” Sinha added. "In the draft summaries shared with vendors, Rubrik found 17 inaccuracies covering missing functionality, customer adoption, and deployability.
"In some cases, it was clear that the analysts confused us with a smaller competitor in their description of an OEM relationship and in multiple descriptions of how our technology works.
"Unfortunately, these corrections when submitted, had absolutely no impact on Gartner’s assessment of Rubrik or dot positioning. Gartner gave us no further assurances that all errors were ultimately corrected."
In response, Gartner published a blog post entitled 'Gartner Research Does Not Please Everyone, All Of The Time'.
"Unfortunately, Rubrik does not agree with Gartner’s point of view expressed in the Magic Quadrant, but we respect the company’s right to voice its opinion," the post stated. "We believe Gartner’s opinion on vendor capabilities in this market is accurately expressed in the Magic Quadrant, a rigorous, independent analysis that helps buyers navigate technology purchase decisions."