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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, October 27, 2016

Weighing Internet availability and On premise systems

http://fortune.com/2016/10/23/internet-attack-perpetrator/

Our worst hacking fears came true on Friday as criminals deployed millions of everyday objects—internet-connected cameras, printers, and so on—to launch an attack on a critical part of the Internet. The attack was a success, crippling the websites of major companies like Amazon, Netflix and Twitter for hours at a time.


Many of our clients use cloud services for their critical business services and storage needs, and typically they have made some calculation basing the risk of availability and security against the cost of keeping equipment and services on site.  For companies like this the recent internet attacks on DYN have awakened that debate.

The availability of email is essential to continuing in business, and to save costs many companies use outsourced email providers-. It’s not just hardware—the servers, firewalls, spam filters, email archiving storage,--but also administration.  Email is a resource hog.  On the flip side, you have the potential for an attack on an external email provider, potentially bringing down the service completely:  Thousands of customers suddenly cut off from email! Can your company survive in today’s integrated environment without access to your email for days, weeks or even months?  What recourse do you have if your email is brought down by a malicious attack? How long will it take to recover once services are restored, if they are restored? Further complicating the issue for many companies is the use of IP telephony which can also be compromised in an internet attack.  Phones out, too!?  The whole scenario is pretty bleak, right?

So you need to ask these questions and more - - now, not later:
--If an attacker targets email services and internet telephony services how will your organization communicate with your customers and vendors?  Most companies today are so integrated with on line services that if the internet gets brought down for a couple of weeks they will have a hard time recovering.

--Does your Disaster Recovery plan include a section on a complete communication meltdown of the internet?

--How would your company survive if all your data is at a cloud provider and some nefarious hacker simply mixed up all your customer, accounting and payroll records so your staff could no longer access your databases reliably?

As a networking and storage focused company we believe there must be a balance between on-premise hardware and services and internet-based virtual solutions.  As we’ve seen, the risk of an internet based service provider being brought down is very real.  Based on the recent experience of DYN, we think that more companies must reconsider the risks associated with their cloud based solutions providers. If the internet is brought down, and you have your business information on premises, at least your company will be able to function after communications are restored.  If not, the dream of a virtualized world of internet-based services and storage for an integrated economy like we have today could quickly become a nightmare.  Don’t let it happen to you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Business Analytics powered by Surveillance and Storage

One small step
Most organizations today are looking for an edge to beat their competitors in the marketplace by improving their customers’ experience, while at the same time reducing their labor costs and overhead. In the past a surveillance network was a tool for the security team of a company. But as processors and network speed and capacity increased over the last few years it became possible to use High Definition IP cameras to analyze traffic flows and wait times. This is the kind of information that the marketing and sales department is interested in, and now enterprises are seeing that there are tactical and strategic business advantages to having an integrated surveillance and business analytics network.

Zerowait’s EVS (Extensible Video Surveillance) product line allows our customers to take a building block approach to building their surveillance and business analytics network.  We start by building a surveillance and storage network that can grow as our customers decide on which analytics tools they want to track. Some customers start with simple people counting, while others want more in depth analysis tools to track their equipment, personnel and customers. Over time the information collected can reveal patterns to reduce wait times and overhead costs and improve quality and customer experiences.

Most organizations need some sort of surveillance solution to protect their assets or to watch their perimeter. Building on that basic requirement, the variety of information that can be collected using modern IP based cameras and business analytics software is astounding. Zerowait’s EVS product line provides our customers a solid foundation so they can build a solution set that provides protection and business advantages over their competition.

With the tools that our Business analytics can provide, it is time to start looking at your surveillance network as a profit center.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Unwrap and Install - We’ve Done It All




We listened to our customers:
Many of our customers knew that we had deployed over 10PB in Surveillance storage over the last couple of years, and they asked if we could integrate the SimplStor storage platform with IP cameras, POE switches, Wireless Mesh where needed and Video Management Software for surveillance and security.  For them, going to different vendors for each of these components had proven to be difficult and time-consuming.  They wanted a package.

We first heard this from customers in Australia and New Zealand, then the UK and USA. Our customers required reliability and scalability in an affordable package with an easy to manage interface.  Further, they indicated that it would be really great if we could preconfigure the hardware and software so they could unwrap and install without sending their high priced engineering teams into the field.

A few customers said it couldn’t be done:
Some of our customers told us that based on their experience, building a true unwrap and install integrated solution would be too hard, and that no one was offering a one stop solution for the enterprise because there was so much variability in the requirements across locations and business types.  We took up the challenge.

SimplStor EVS is Born
To provide our customers an integrated surveillance and storage solution our engineering team worked with our customers’ to define specifications, and developed a set of building block assemblies and solutions.

We knew our surveillance storage customers were using a lot more storage once they deployed IP cameras. Several customers told us that their average HD IP cameras were requiring storage of about 1TB a month each, and some of our customers have over 150 IP cameras in a single installation.  Our solutions also needed to offer the storage scalability that our customers needed to handle retention periods for the surveillance images that could vary from 90 days to over 27 months depending on regulatory compliance, legal risk assessments, and business insurance guidelines. The good news is that, by design, SimplStor is Extensible—easily and economically expanded when growth is needed. That was our base. Then we researched cameras and software. Customers kept referring us to Axis Communications, and we discovered why. Management is so easy and the product and image quality and features are amazing! We start with a base storage system, a POE switch and as little as 4 or as many as 14 cameras. Each includes at least 90 days of storage and every package is an integrated, unwrap and install solution, extensible to hundreds of cameras and a petabyte or more of storage over time.
 
Working with our customers we came up with a one stop, integrated solution that provides clear savings in hardware costs, integration fees and deployment time. We are taking orders now, and can ship any of our preconfigured units within 3 weeks after receipt of order, with custom solutions taking just a bit longer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Another exasperated NetApp customer!



Over the last couple of weeks I have been visiting customers in Texas and Oklahoma and one customer of ours who went to NetApp to renew support on a FAS32XX filer with minimal storage was apoplectic when he saw the price from NetApp for a support contract. All he wanted to do was put a non-production environment Filer back in a production service environment. So they asked NetApp for a support contract quote. NetApp came back with a quote for over $50K. You could buy a new filer for that. Which is probably NetApp’s plan. Anyway, what caused the outrageous pricing in this case was that NetApp backdated the filer to 2014, when it went off support. Instead of quoting 12 Months, they quoted 33 months, ending in early 2017. Not only did they charge for nearly two years of support the customer would never receive, they also added a reinstatement fee! NetApp should include a prescription for blood pressure pills when they send a quote like that to a customer.

Perhaps this type of predatory pricing makes sense to marketing folks in Silly Con valley. But in the rest of the world folks are looking for alternatives to dictatorial solutions by single source vendors.  Zerowait support is the affordable solution for NetApp support. And thanks to price quotes like this from NetApp, our SimplStor storage sales are growing as people look for affordable solutions without the proprietary software lock in.

In an economic environment of 2% GDP growth customers need a vendor that provides long term service and support at reasonable prices, which is our long term goal.  In this case our pricing helped the customer control his blood pressure without breaking his storage budget.  Another satisfied Zerowait customer.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Does a NetApp cDOT upgrade make sense for you?



Many of our customers are still trying to answer this question and I have had quite a few of our customers send me links to the WikiBon report http://wikibon.com/assessing-the-cost-of-netapp-ontap-migrations-in-oracle-environments/  This report, written by David Floyer, does a very good job of providing an overview of the costs of an upgrade, the risk associated with a data migration, and the performance problems of NetApp’s WAFL architecture in today’s high write and bandwidth intensive environment.

Wikibon“The breakeven for most migration projects from ONTAP 7-Mode to Clustered ONTAP are poor at over 50 months – the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is anemic at 12% or lower.”  With the economy expected to grow by only 2%, finding extra corporate funds to upgrade is going to be difficult.  Zerowait offers many options to maintain your NetApp equipment on a budget long beyond NetApp’s artificial end of life; we are still providing hardware support for NetApp 700 series systems which were sold at the turn of the century.

Wikibon – “The current systems of record should not be converted to other platforms, as this is both costly and risky.”  In a slow growth economic environment many of our customers find it difficult to add staff, and it is going to be hard to convince the CFO that a risky data migration requiring extra personnel makes business sense.  Zerowait’s technical support engineers are NetApp trained and certified, and we are the recognized experts at maintaining legacy NetApp architectures.  Zerowait’s NetApp support business continues to grow because customers are risk averse, especially when they have tight budgets.

Wikibon“NetApp’s WAFL architecture is not well suited to high-write and high bandwidth workloads.”  Many of our customers are looking to offload the data streams that NetApp is ill-suited to handle.  Using our SimplStor storage products—a flexible, reliable and affordable alternative—as a complementary storage platform allows System Administrators to tier non-critical storage, the first stepping stone toward building the flexible private cloud that is required by today’s bandwidth intensive compute and write applications.

David Floyer and the Wikibon team have put together an excellent report that we recommend to our customers who are looking to assess the risks and high costs of data migration that NetApp cDot requires.  Zerowait has answers to many of the issues that the report clearly defines and describes.  I recommend that you read this report and jot down your concerns before you meet with your NetApp sales team when you are negotiating for the best price at the end of NetApp’s quarter.

http://wikibon.com/assessing-the-cost-of-netapp-ontap-migrations-in-oracle-environments/