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Zerowait High Availability Blog

Zerowait is an international 3rd party provider of Parts, Services, and Support for Network Appliance equipment. Zerowait is not a partner of, nor affiliated with, Network Appliance Corporation. Offices in USA,UK & AUS.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

National Association of Broadcasters Show Customer Appreciation Dinner


Over the last few weeks I have been traveling thought Australia and New Zealand visiting our customers, many of whom are in the Movie, Gaming and VFX business sectors. I’ll see some of them again next week in Las Vegas at the NAB show where we can catch up with many of our North American, European and Australasian customers in one place. For the last few years we have been having a dinner party at NAB so we can catch up with our customers and they can catch up with old friends while discussing common business and technology issues.

As we sit down to dinner there are always a few new folks joining us, and we introduce them to everyone and tell them how we met and then we start to see who knows who. Usually it turns out that it is a very small world; even with people living and working on other continents they’ve often heard of each other, met each other on various web sites or share common friends. 

As the appetizers are finished, drinks refreshed and dinner served, our conversation is usually taken up by war stories of our customers dealing with vendor issues and laughter about how things can go so bad, so quickly, because of miscommunication of vendor support policies.  It often seems that our competitors put revenue before relationships and so they lose their customer’s trust. In the storage business if you can’t trust your supplier in the short term are you going to trust them with your archival storage for the long term?  Our customers tell us that frankly they want a long term storage partner that will work with them in their business cycle, and not a storage and support vendor who is looking to increase revenue by artificially shortening their equipment’s life cycle or ending software support. 

As we finish our main course and review the dessert menu, the conversation turns to plans for the rest of the year and interesting projects and technologies that we have run into at the show. There are always a couple of really cool new things that most of us will be drawn to, and as we chat about how we can integrate them into our Network infrastructure we are enjoying our dessert and the last of our drinks, before we say good night and promise to catch up again next year. 

We always have a great time, and really appreciate our guests joining us at our dinner parties.  After more than 20 years in the ever changing world of high tech, we know that long term, trusting business relationships are the most valuable assets of our company. We’ll be hosting dinners like this at other trade shows this year and we hope you will join us. If you want to join us at NAB just let us know so we can add you to our reservation. We hope to see you there!



Friday, March 11, 2016

Is your current NetApp ‘Good Enough Technology’?

Does this sound familiar? Although your NetApp hardware is working fine, your NetApp Sales team is proposing a 400% increase in support costs, or an upgrade to a new cDot system which incur the costs and risks of a data migration. Based on corporate belt tightening and the financial news your team is reading an upgrade or 400% increase in support is not going to happen.   Your boss wants to know who can afford that in today’s economy, and asks for alternatives because the Equipment has been stable for years and wants to know why extending the service life should increase your operational costs.  We hear this story and below are three solutions that we have provided recently.

 A large international resources company with NetApp Filers all over the world wants to keep their Filers but NetApp’s costs are too high. The folks at the company call their peers at other companies  and find out that Zerowait can provide international support at a fraction of NetApp’s prices and the references they check  with tell them Zerowait  support is better than the OEM’s which seems to be cutting back on support and raising its prices. With our quote in hand NetApp  tells the customer that they don’t have to upgrade to cDot and reduces their  continuing support quote  The customer wants to know why  NetApp didn’t provide them the option of staying with 7 mode and  lower prices to start with.

An educational institution that has been using NetApp for many years has instituted a campus wide video monitoring and surveillance system with hundreds of cameras and a long retention period. The amount of storage it is consuming is eating up their Expensive NetApp disk at a growing rate and the data is only accessed occasionally, but when it is needed it is needed quickly. They need an affordable solution with Good Enough Technology that is affordable, and NetApp is not the answer. Zerowait SimplStor is the answer they are looking for, it is Scalable, Predictable, Affordable and Reliable and uses the same Zerowait engineering team for support that they have been relying on for years for their NetApp equipment. In this case the NetApp equipment is good enough but it is not as cost effective as Zerowait’s SimplStor Solution.

A large Biotech company that was an old Zerowait NetApp support customer has switched to another array vendor for their new equipment, and after repeated failures with the new equipment called us up to put his mothballed Netapp equipment back on service as a three – six month interim solution while they determine what they should invest in.  Within 48 Hours we helped them transition back to their ‘Good enough technology’ older NetApp and are helping them evaluate their options to move forward.

Over the next three weeks I will be visiting our growing list of clients in Australia and New Zealand trying to help them find solutions to their growing storage requirements which have to get by with shrinking budgets. During the week of April 18th the Zerowait team will be at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas and we will be having our annual dinner party there for our customers and friends. It seems that no matter where are customers are or what industry they are in our customers are looking for more solutions to their storage cost control issues. And Zerowait has the answer.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

5 Star NetApp Storage and Support on a 2 Star Budget




A lot of our customers are being forced to reduce their storage budgets because of the poor/uncertain profit picture caused caused by globally volatile finance and markets. Although their budgets are being squeezed their requirements for high availability and additional storage resources continue to grow. Our savvy customers are finding ways to grow their storage infrastructure while reducing their support costs because with Zerowait as their partner they can dance to the beat of a new budget drumbeat without missing a step.

Recently I was visiting a customer in Oklahoma that is trying to match the requirements of growing regulatory and insurance requirements for onsite storage requirements with a budget that is being reduced because of the drop in Oil prices. The engineer I was meeting with mentioned that no matter what the market conditions are their storage requirements continue to grow and there is now no way that they can afford either new equipment or costly OEM support. By switching their support to Zerowait from NetApp, and by adding storage to his NetApp controllers with NetApp equipment from Zerowait, he was saving enough money to maintain his engineering staff and increase his storage even though his budget has been reduced.  

While I was in Denver I met with a customer that complimented our engineering staff for solving some NetApp performance problems. The engineering manager and his staff had spent countless hours being shuffled around through NetApp’s support organization without a solution other than to upgrade their Filers. Upgrading their Filers and migrating to cDot was simply not in the budget. Working with Zerowait’s engineers the performance problems were quickly solved and by adding off lease storage to his current NetApp controllers he was able to meet the demands of his growing exploration and log files while maintaining his restricted budget 

When I was in New York City with one of our engineering managers I met with a customer at a financial organization that had heard about our reputation and decided to try us out to see if we could help him solve his NetApp performance problems. After a couple of months of working through a few of their issues, the manager decided that our engineers were so good that he wanted to know if we could remotely manage and maintain his systems, since that is what we were doing anyway.  We had a discussion about his environment and his growth expectations. Together we determined they really did not need a full time storage administrator and only required between 5 and 15 hours a week of support. He was able to get engineers with NetApp certifications and experience to manage his storage for less than it would cost him to hire a full time inexperienced sysadmin that would need to be trained in storage and NetApp.
As the business world gets more volatile storage budgets are getting more constrained and experienced storage engineering staffs are having to find ways to accomplish their goals by increasing the service cycle of their storage equipment while maintaining or reducing their employee costs. As a trusted partner with a staff of certified, trained and experienced NetApp engineers we look forward to working with you to provide the services and storage you need at prices that fit today’s cautious budgets.