Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The animals that depend on instinct have an inherent knowledge of the laws of economics and of how to apply them; Man, with his powers of reason, has reduced economics to the level of a farce which is at once funnier and more tragic than Tobacco Road. -James Thurber

When you are looking to upgrade your storage infrastructure, how do you prioritize your requirements? Most storage customers look at solving today's problems primarily and then they look to see if they have enough additional storage to handle their expected growth for the next year. They have a given budget which they use to solve this years problems.

The majority of Zerowait's customers are however looking to maximize the storage capacity and utilization of their current storage assets. Our typical customer has purchased a piece of NetApp equipment that is still underutilized and is looking to maximize his return on storage investment. They do this by upgrading their storage to maximize their storage density, or by purchasing equipment that has legally transferable licenses and meets their performance and storage requirements. Very few of the NetApp 700 Series and 800 series customers we talk to on a daily basis have maximized their units processing and storage capacity. They wonder why they need to upgrade their units to a 900 series or a 3000 series unit.They know they don't and call us for help in controlling their storage and upgrade costs.

Going to www.spec.org and researching the published NetApp performance documents can help you understand the overall performance specs of newer units against older units. But you have to apply costs to these units to get a real value for your cost of storage. Zerowait can help you do your analysis by providing you current cost data for our stocked units of Licensed filers with NFS, CIFS, Snap mirror and Cluster.

Cost comparisons between storage expansion and storage replacement need to be based on clearly defined goals within your organization. Purchasing new equipment will not guarantee the best cost of storage and performance ratios for your requirements.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"Market research can establish beyond the shadow of a doubt that the egg is a sorry product and that it obviously will not continue to sell. Because, after all, eggs won't stand up by themselves, they roll too easily, are too easily broken, require special packaging, look alike, are difficult to open, won't stack on the shelf."

Robert Pliskin - quoted in Stephen Donadio, The New York Public Library: Book of Twentieth-Century American Quotations


I was speaking to a new customer the other day in Maryland about how Zerowait became the largest third party service and support company specifically focusing on NetApp products. I explained our history and how much my staff and I were impressed with NetApp's products in the 1990's. I reviewed how a NetApp salesman named Tom Morris taught us about the products, and how we met with Dave Hitz at their old buildings on San Tomas. I discussed how the filers worked within our High Availability architectures. I went into our work with Amit Pandey and how we put out a joint press release with NetApp & Radware. I told him about our trips with the folks from Dupont and Legg Mason into NetApp's new customer center on Java Drive so they could see how NetApp products worked and meet with their folks. I explained how Zerowait sent our engineers to training at NetApp, and how their sales and marketing folks used to come to our customer events and work with us in our trade show booths at trade shows in Las Vegas.

I explained how we were introduced to NetApp's Registered Service Provider program at a NetApp Conference in San Francisco, and how we became one of the first RSP's supporting companies like Computer Science Corporation (CSC). I explained that we sold filers to the Jet Propulsion Lab, and Interliant, TTSG and so many others. And the customer asked me what happened to what sounds like a great working relationship. And I had to answer that we still don't know why NetApp canceled our relationship, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to Zerowait.

What we found while being NetApp resellers was that there are lot of companies that were very unhappy with the high cost of NetApp's support and service policies. However, as a NetApp reseller we were not allowed to sell used or compatible equipment to NetApp customers. But when our contract was canceled, we were free to provide third party support to those disaffected customers. So, we developed a niche market and have grown the business very successfully.

Once the Eggshell was broken we saw a beautiful opportunity as the egg spilled out in front of us. Out of adversity, we developed a growing business that is dedicated to providing High Availability service and support for NetApp's products at reasonable prices. Because we are no longer tied to NetApp we can provide unbiased answers to our customers who are looking for solutions to their most vexing technical and budgetary problems related to NetApp hardware.

Monday, August 29, 2005

"Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold." -- Maurice Setter

At a breakfast the other day with a customer of ours we were discussing how unbelievably reliable NetApp equipment is. We have customers running versions 5.X in Unix environments that have not done anything to their equipment for 4 or 5 years. I explained that the reliability is what attracted us to work with NetApp in the late 1990's because our vision was to provide our customers with High Availability solutions. Many of the units that Zerowait sold while Zerowait was a NetApp Reseller and Registered Service Provider are still in operation today . For most of our customers, there is a need for Reliability, Availability , Scalability and Predictability. And we take each of these words very seriously.

Reliability - To Zerowait reliability means that the services and equipment that we provide will provide our customers with the highest levels of support and uptime possible. We do this by running all of the equipment we support in our own facilities and we keep our own production environment running on systems like we support for our customers.

Availability - High Availability is not just a phrase, it means that Zerowait will support the products our company sells, as long as we can get the parts for the equipment. It is our commitment to providing reasonably priced support for legacy products that keeps us in business.

Scalability - The reason Zerowait wanted to work with NetApp in the 1990's was that we realized that our customers were deploying products quickly and needed an easy and reliable solution for their databases. NetApp's products were very easy to upgrade and they remain so. providing affordable storage upgrades to NetApp customers remains one of our most satisfying business sectors. Zerowait helps customers increase storage capacity while staying within their budget everyday.

Predictability - Zerowait has been in business since 1989, and we plan to be here for many more years, no matter what happens to the manufacturers' products we support. We just updated a big multinational chemical companies F840 service and support contract for three years. So we will be here for a while yet!

Our commitment to providing High Availability equipment and support to our customers has remained consistent throughout our history, no matter what the latest industry 'Gold Rush' was. And our commitment to our customers is the Sliver lining of partnering with Zerowait for your NetApp storage . Our customers recognize that they can depend on Zerowait to provide them with affordable service, support and upgrades for NetApp storage equipment. And our competitors know it also.


Friday, August 26, 2005

It's cheaper to save fuel than to burn it.–Amory Lovins, energy expert

Yesterday, while driving to work, I was listening to the radio and heard a commentary on the price of gas. I wondered if anyone ever calculated how much it costs to run a data center with a hundred TB of data running on systems that are 25% efficient.

I wonder how much of a dent in our energy bills we could save by increasing the capacity utilization of computer storage resources? I am not just talking about the efficiency of the equipment, I am also interested in seeing if there is any interest in getting storage resources up to perhaps 50% efficiency. That does not seem like much. Imagine how much energy could be saved if fewer disks were spinning with more data on them.

Tom West writes...
Hello Mike,

Along with rising oil/gasoline prices, the return of rolling blackouts in California and Intel's latest talk of "low-power chips" suggest a renewed interest in energy efficiency. You raise an interesting question about cost savings related to increasing the capacity utilization of disk storage.

Of course, one concern in turn is the impact that consolidation can potentially have upon performance (e.g., resource contention). In any case, I'm certainly an advocate for better efficiency in disk capacity utilization (and rising energy costs might well draw the attention of folks to this issue). It seems that having some empirical metrics in this regard would be a big help in evaluating the various tradeoffs involved.

Regards, Tom

Tom West
hyperI/O LLC.
www.hyperIO.com

Thursday, August 25, 2005

When a management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact. Warren Buffett

We often speak in this blog, and with our customers, about how to overcome past decisions within an organization's storage infrastructure. It is not always the most efficient thing to simply upgrade your storage, because your storage might be an under utilized utility now. But how can you tell? That is where Warren Buffett's insight is so applicable to the storage industry. Management needs to know where to go to find the answers to the questions of capacity planning and capacity utilization and figure out how to measure the efficiency of the organization's storage infrastructure.

How do you measure your storage efficiency?
How do you measure your storage usage?
How do you forecast your storage growth?
How much does it cost to run disks and infrastructure with out data on it?
How much does it cost to run disks and Infrastructure which is only 25% efficient?

Zerowait can help you come up with answers to these questions. Give us a call if you would like to know how.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

In economics, the majority is always wrong.
John Kenneth Galbraith

Earlier this week I was speaking to a savvy NetApp customer about a service and support quote for their planned infrastructure upgrade. The customer wanted to know why more people don't know about the transferable license issue, and the ability to get NetApp filers with transferable licenses. I explained that the issue had been addressed by NetApp's founder and CEO a number of times within the toasters mailing list and that there are plenty of customers that are using filers with transferable licenses.

Many NetApp Resellers know about the transferable license issue also, and we have sold to many of them. At least One Platinum reseller of NetApp's products hits this blog regularly and therefore understands that transferable licenses are available, since we touch on the subject regularly.

But essentially, if you are looking to save money on your storage infrastructure then purchasing units with transferable licenses is an easy way to do it. Zerowait currently has a large stock of NetApp filers with transferable licenses including FAS940's, F840's, F825's, F820's and R100's. All of these units are available now, please give us a call if you are interested in these filers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we now know that it is bad economics. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

When it comes to your storage infrastructure do you feel that your vendors are giving you a square deal? In the long run computer storage technology should find a level pricing structure. However, we live in the here and now, and many enterprise storage consumers feel that they are not getting their money's worth from their storage technology vendors. How do you value your storage infrastructure? Is a simple ROI model enough? Is it important that it costs just as much money to spin disks with very little data on them as it does to spin disks that are full? Does it make a difference that your company may be keeping documents that are never going to be accessed again on your most expensive storage platforms? How are storage decisions made in your company?

How do you determine Storage Capacity Efficiency, when it is very hard to get clear capacity numbers from your storage vendors? How do you determine Storage Capacity Utilization, when it is very hard to define your operational and manpower costs per TB of storage.

Determining your actual storage costs can be a daunting task. However your storage costs can represent 40% of your IT budget. Therefore, it seems that getting these costs under control is a very important. Zerowait is working on creating a methodology for evaluating the economics of storage, and we will be putting together a small conference on storage economics in the next few weeks. Give us a call if you would like to be included in the conference.


Monday, August 22, 2005


"Right or wrong, the customer is always right." Marshall Field

The response to our study of the performance of the NetApp 940 compared to the FAS3020 has been enlightening. But it may be that NetApp's customers are asking the same price / performance questions that we did in our study. Because, NetApp's executives are noticing thatit is harder to sell the new units.

NetApp chief executive Dan Warmenhoven said the company's FAS300 series of storage appliances launched in May was the victim of a long sales cycle.

Potential customers required an unusually long evaluation period to compare the new products to similar systems from NetApp and competitors, he said.


Often upgrading an existing system makes more budgetary sense than purchasing a new system. If you are looking to increase your storage without breaking you budget please give Zerowait a call at 888.811.0808.

Friday, August 19, 2005

"The reason why truth is so much stranger than fiction is that there is no requirement for it to be consistent."
-- Mark Twain

Typically the founder / VP of a public company and the CEO of the same company follow the same playbook and sing the same tune. However, NetApp's team seems to be in diagreement on the route or the course of NetApp as evidenced by their statements which are below.
Hitz 03/2005 "We're small enough that we can double our revenues in storage and remain a focused vendor. We're not interested at all in going EMC's route."

Warmenhoven 08/2005 “This is increasingly becoming a two-horse race,” Warmenhoven said of the midrange storage landscape. “We’re becoming an alternative to EMC. The mix has shifted from file server NAS to Fibre Channel across the board, and we’re taking it to them. We’re the only two vendors that offer the complete array of low end to high end, primary and secondary storage, SAN and NAS. We’re competing across the board.”

We are confused by their statements , how can NetApp be not interested in going EMC's route and yet be part of a two horse race? Don't horse races usually take place on the same course?
If you are confused by NetApp's statements you are not alone. However, you can be certain that Zerowait remains focused on providing our growing family of satisfied customers with affordable parts, service and support for their NetApp equipment.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. --Dale Carnegie

Since we started writing this blog several months ago we have gained lots of new friends, a lot of people write us to ask questions about how to improve their return on their storage investments and how to extend the life cycle of their equipment. Because Zerowait focuses on NetApp upgrades, parts and service most of our readers are end users of these products, but about ten percent of our readers are from NetApp and their resellers. We are honored that these folks find our blog interesting and we encourage them to participate in our discussion. Having input from the Manufacturer and their resellers would certainly provide perspective to our readers, and could answer a lot of the questions we have posed over the past few months.

The staff at Zerowait and our blog readers are very interested in maximizing the price performance ratio, return on investment, and product life cycle of NetApp products.

Thanks for following our discussions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Storage is a puzzle with so many facets that getting the correct answer is not easy. Consider the list of options that must be decided before a purchase decision is made in the storage arena:


1) Capacity to purchase.
2) Forecasted storage growth over the year.
3) Speed of retrieval for users.
4) Lost files recovery options and speed.
5) Cost at purchase time.
6) Continuing cost of operation for system.
7) Continuing cost of maintenance for software and hardware.
8) Cost of staff trained to use and maintain storage systems.
9) Projected cost of replacement parts, after company supersedes equipment.
10) Availability of maintenance parts for 3, 5 and 7 years.

Creating an algorithm to manage these fixed and variable costs is rather difficult for the average IT organization. And there are many other parts to the equation. IT departments are not trained in the economics and book keeping aspects of the business they serve. However, viewing storage from a hardware performance perspective only is myopic and does not provide the business with the real cost of storage. For Example, if an inventory item was sitting on the shelf for two or three years without being used, the accounting department would have a cost for the unused inventory. And perhaps right down the asset. However, if a company has an unused inventory of computer storage the only costs associated with it are the costs of power to run the underutilized storage . Sooner or later companies are going to have to recognize unused storage inventory as a cost to the business.

I had dinner with an economist in Boston this week and he has tried to make economical storage decisions, but has been stymied by documentation and other headaches in creating an economical storage solution for his company. His thoughts and problems are here.


It is an interesting article, and I think you will enjoy it.




Creating an algorithm

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"I have just returned from Boston. It is the only sane thing to do if you find yourself up there."
-- Fred Allen
I was up in Boston and Cambridge yesterday and today visiting some of our customers. I am always confused by the road signs and the compass directions on them. There seems to be no logic to the road signage in Boston. So this time I brought my portable GPS with me and my Yahoo maps. I still had to call to get correct directions.

In some towns I visit, the customers joke about the weather, but in Boston it is always fun to talk about the roads. But unlike Fred Allen, I had a great time visiting our customers and going to some great restaurants. Most of the customers I met with were looking to upgrade their NetApp units without breaking their IT budgets, and universally they complained about NetApp hardware support prices. They really like our service and support policies and our prices.

It is always great to meet happy customers, especially when they recommend us to other folks!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

What I just said is the fundamental, end-all, final, not-subject-to-opinion absolute truth, depending on where you're standing."
-- Steve Martin

I suggest to all of our regular readers that you read this Blog Entry by Jon Toigo it raises some interesting issues .

Friday, August 12, 2005


Save money with our suggestions for purchasing from NetApp

Rule 1: What Is your Need? – Clearly Identify your requirements & timeline. Don’t be afraid to tell the salesperson you are considering your options. Go to www.spec.org and www.zerowait.com to review the specs on NetApp systems. Compare older systems to newer ones. Clearly identify which performance parameters are most important to you. Give Zerowait a call, we can help you define your requirements.

Rule 2: Never meet a salesman alone – Invite the salesman into your office conference area. Do more listening than talking. Tell him the parameters of your requirements and request fair comparisons between the NetApp equipment and their competitors.

Rule 3: Remain calm use, your poker face – Your negotiating position weakens and the salesman gets more aggressive if you give them the impression that they have the perfect solution for you.

Rule 4: Avoid your Data Center – Don’t let the salesman into your data center. Salespeople don't need to see your Network and Storage infrastructure.

Rule 5: Ignore the first price quote – Your final invoice is directly affected by the initial price quote you receive from NetApp. NetApp has a very flexible list price. Lower volume customers pay a lot higher price then volume customers. Remember that in most cases, NetApp’s sales people are on salary and commission. Commission salespeople make their money based on the total invoice. The larger the invoice, the more they bring home. Your job is to get the invoice as low as possible. A price list you can use as a reference is here

Rule 6: Don’t be afraid to shop around - Do some research on the Web, There are four sources for NetApp’s new equipment now. NetApp direct, NetApp resellers, IBM direct, IBM resellers. They have identical products, service and support. Get multiple prices, when the salesperson comes back with a counter offer or says they can't go any lower, tell him thank you and you will get the product elsewhere. Remember, there are plenty of options for your storage solution.

Rule 7: Require Transferable licenses – If they tell you they are not available tell them you can get proof that they are, Zerowait can help you with this.

Rule 9. Require a 60-day trial Surprisingly, many companies never test a solution prior to buying it. Don’t make a mistake; test the system completely in your network prior to making a purchase order for the equipment.

Rule 10: End of Period –NetApp needs to make quarterly sales numbers or their stock may go down, don’t place orders until the end of NetApp's fiscal quarter or end of their fiscal year to get the best deals.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

"Facts are stubborn things."
-- John Adams

A reader asked me to make a list of ten rules of storage management which he could run his enterprise on, without breaking his budget or running out of storage. A sort of Generally Acceptable Storage Principles, that correlates to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Perhaps we should start a group called GASP :) .

Rule 1) Never run out of storage - Running out of storage will stop your business.
Rule 2) Storage is king - Your business requires access to its data storage assets to remain in business. Without your data, you are out of business.
Rule 3) Know your available storage now! - How much actual, tangible, available storage do you have now.
Rule 4) What is your storage balance? - Was there any change in your daily storage balance of available storage, and storage reserves. Why?
Rule 5) You can't manage storage on a monthly basis - Available storage is used daily with unpredictable spikes and valleys. A monthly synopsis may tell you that you are running out of storage too late to react and head off a storage shortage that negatively impacts your business
Rule 6) Forecast your Storage - what is your forecast growth for the next 6 months, can your available storage inventory last that long
Rule 7) Storage problems don't just happen - There will always be leading indicators prior to a storage failure, or available storage shortage . Learn the signs.
Rule 8) Unused storage has a cost - Unused storage inventory costs money to maintain. Empty disks cost money to purchase and keep spinning. What is your unused storage holding cost?
Rule 9) Know the Internal Rate of Return for your storage -Any underutilized business equipment has a carrying cost. Service, support and upgrades for under utilized storage is wasteful.
Rule 10) Maintain good relations with your storage customers - Alienating your storage users will create storage backwaters and raise the overall cost of storage.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

George Bernard Shaw
"Science never solves a problem without creating ten more."

Mike Linett ( 2005)
"Zerowait has the tools, staff and inventory to solve your storage problems."

Recently, we've gotten a lot of calls and emails about our analysis of NetApps FAS3020 as compared with some of the systems it superseded.

One of our customers sent us this quote by a NetApp VP in reference to the new FAS3020 systems "The emphasis is on redefining the price performance," said Suresh Vasudevan, senior vice president of products at Network Appliance. "The main attributes of the new platform supports four times the capacity and has two times the price performance."


How did they come up with these numbers? We can't find any validation in the www.Spec.org tests. Our review of the Spec.org tests seems to show only a meager improvement in performance over their older systems. So, how does NetApp come up with their price performance figures?

Today's storage devices eat up about 40% of most companies IT budgets, According to industry studies these devices are only 25% efficient Most companies would consider them to have a terrible Internal Rate of Return if they were a piece of production equipment at a manufacturing facility.


Zerowait specializes in providing our customers a much better return on their IT investment dollars. If you are wondering about your actual cost of ownership and maintenance per TB of Storage - Give us a call! We can help you raise your storage efficiency!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Perhaps the reason that NetApp's sales slumped last quarter may be because NetApp's consumers took a look at the performance numbers of NetApp's new units and saw that there is not much of a reason to purchase a new unit? Zerowait recently reviewed NetApp's published performance numbers on their new FAS3020 and found that there was not much reason to buy a new unit as compared to buying additional storage for an older unit. I can tell you that our sales of add on storage for NetApp systems has been very strong lately.

According to NetApp's CEO, 'Warmenhoven says customers took longer to evaluate NetApp systems last quarter following the rollout of new FAS3000 Fibre Channel-plus-SATA systems"
Warmenhoven deos not mention that there are now four sales channels - NetApp Direct, NetApp Resellers, IBM Direct and IBM resellers - all selling the same unit. So savvy customers will shop around for the lowest price. Customers know that price is the only differentiator, all of the service and support is identical. As every salesman knows, it is very hard to differentiate added value for the identical product , service and support.

Perhaps NetApp is so aggressively purchasing other companies because they realize that the profits in storage are going to decline as it continues its trend toward commoditization. I certainly wish they could clearly define a 3 to 5 year corporate strategy, because our customers are trying to optimize their storage purchases based on a consistent vision from their storage providers.

No matter which side the pendulum swings toward within NetApp, our customers can depend on Zerowait to provide affordable service, support and upgrades for their legacy NetApp equipment.

Monday, August 08, 2005

What is on your Radar?

Most of our customers are looking at Capacity Utilization & extended ROI on equipment. It does not seem to matter if the customer is a small company or a Fortune 100 company, they want a better ROI picture at purchase and throughout the product lifecycle. However, most of the storage vendors are trying to sell our customers new systems with higher capacity or trying to switch the pardigm on them and bundling options they don't need into their storage solutions.

What is on your Storage Vendors' Radar?

It seems that most storage vendors are concerned with Storage Security by the press reports we see and the corporate merger activity. Here is a sample from Byte and switch


Byte and Switch News Analysis: EMC Casts Wider Net
AUGUST 04, 2005 - Plans to get into net resource management and burrow deeper into security

Byte and Switch Newsfeed: Permabit, NorthSeas Form Archive Pact
AUGUST 02, 2005 - Partnership combines NorthSeas' Guard E/N (pronounced Guardian) with Permabit's Permeon Compliance Store for simplified email archiving

Byte and Switch News Analysis: VCs Add $15M More to Data Domain
AUGUST 01, 2005 - Expects latest haul to take it to profitability but must navigate maze of competitors

Byte and Switch Newsfeed: Unitrends Supports Evaults
AUGUST 01, 2005 - Unitrends announces its line of Data Protection Unit network storage appliances now offer companies the ability to electronically vault data from or to offsite locations

What is on Zerowait's Radar?
Zerowait is focusing on providing our customers with affordable service, support and upgrades for their Storage infrastructure. After all, it is what our customers want most of all.



Friday, August 05, 2005

Is NetApp's FAS3020 faster than their old FAS940, what about the F840? Pursuant to a customer request I went to www.Spec.org to check the results of their testing to see if I could provide our customer the best unit for his budget and performance requirements.

Their testing results are very revealing, and if you look carefully at their testing
parameters, it seems that the 3020 was given a lot of advantages in the testing. The new FAS3020 compared to the FAS940, has over a 40% faster processor and twice the NVRAM, it was tested on a Jumbo Frame network and they increased the RAID set size. More drives typically represents better performance for a database. However, even with all of these advantages the 3020 was only able to handle about 3% more OPS. But it seems to have a lower overall response rate for handling the requests. When comparing the 3020 to the 840 we were even more startled, because the 3020 has 4 times the NVRAM and 4 times the processor speed but only doubles the OPS and the response was only about 20% better.

From our review of the results of NetApp's Spec.org tests we recommended that our customer purchase the F840 or FAS940 with transferable licenses from Zerowait, because they can save a lot of money without sacrificing performance. Our customers are concerned by the cost of storage at acquisition and also the long term maintenance costs of their equipment. At Zerowait we strive to provide our customers with outstanding storage value for their investment dollars. And carefully reviewing these tests results can save you money also.



Thursday, August 04, 2005

"The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price."
-- Vince Lombardi

Over the many years in this business I have tried to simplify the price/ performance ratio down to a simple graph. However, I have often been stymied by the problem that our customers value their labor resources and overhead costs much differently.

When you combine costing issues with the fact that companies like NetApp quadruple processor speeds and quintuple NVRAM but don't even double their OPS when they come out with a new model, it makes it hard to do comparisons. Is it cost effective to run new equipment at 20% efficiency or 3 year old equipment at 50% efficiency? According to industry statistics most storage equipment runs at below 25% efficiency. And what is the real storage value of a hard disk and the right sized value. For instance a NetApp 144GB disk usually reads as 136GB, so you lose almost 10% of your disk space right off the bat. So what are you buying in usable space when you purchase a disk system from NetApp or EMC. Is it just a guess?

The tests we see mentioned and the white papers don't seem verifiable or repeatable in any environment other than the specific test environment. And it often seems that the test systems are optimized .

So it all comes down to hard work to produce a verifiable solution to the storage hardware questions of :
1) How much does it cost to run my old storage compared with a new solution
2) Will a new storage solution provide more storage at a lower cost per TB?
3) Will Replacing my current storage solution cost me less per terrabyte to administer?
4) Is it more cost effective to add storage to my older system or buy a new system?

Zerowait is working on a way to provide our customers answers to these questions.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"Never confuse motion with action."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Does putting a product in a different package improve the product at all? The reason I ask is that IBM announced that it is selling NetApp's FAS270 today for $50,000.00 for a 0ne TB package. However, a quick review of the test results at spec.org will show that this unit provide less performance then the F840 that NetApp sold a couple of years ago. So it seems like a lot of money for less performance, then you could get two years ago. Here is the article, I hope that IBM is including transferable licenses with the units. Because that would be a great way to help customers retain the value of their units. But as consumers our savvy customers should be able to get more competitive quotes now from the myriad of sources for the NetApp and IBM equipment since there are now four channels selling the same product. NetApp direct, NetApp resellers, IBM Direct and IBM resellers. Since there is no product differentiation the only difference will be price. So the sales process could turn out to be very similar to dealing with a car dealer and haggling on price will be the differentiator.

The last time NetApp tried to distribute it products through a major channel was with Dell Computer. Those Dell units were left without a lifeline when that agreement fell apart. I hope the folks at IBM have carefully read the DELL - NETAPP OEM agreement on Findlaw as it might help them manage their relationship.

Page 6 of the agreement was interesting.
within the scope of the above license. Neither Dell (except as provided in
Section 14 (Escrow)) nor any of its End Users is/are entitled to receive any
source code, source code documentation or similar materials relating to the
Licensed Non-Ported Software Materials. All End Users will receive Licensed
Non-Ported Software Materials subject to all of the terms and conditions of the
End User License.

6. Prices; Payment Terms.

a. Prices for OEM Products. NetApp agrees to sell OEM Products,
related options and software, protocols, software subscriptions and upgrades at
the prices and discounts specified in Attachment A-1, Section f.

b. Cost Reduction Assistance. Dell agrees to exercise commercially
reasonable efforts to assist NetApp in lowering its commodity costs for OEM
Products as provided in Attachment A-1, Section g.

c. Favorable Pricing. NetApp shall provide to Dell favorable pricing
for OEM Products as provided in Attachement A-1, Section h.

d. License Fees for Licensed Products.

License fees in conjunction with the Licensed Products ("License Fees") shall be
payable to NetApp in conjunction with the Licensed Products as set forth in
Attachment B-1.

e. Payments. Dell's payments to NetApp shall be made in U.S. dollars
as follows:

(1) For OEM Product orders with Dell's EMF (European
Manufacturing Facility), Dell will make one (1) monthly telegraphic payment to
NetApp on the first working day after Dell's fiscal month close. This payment
will be for valid invoices received and dated during the fiscal month prior to
the month just closed. (Example: Payments for the fiscal month of August will be
made on the first working day in fiscal October.)

(2) For OEM Product orders with Dell's APCC (Asia Pacific
Customer Center), AMF (American Manufacturing Facility), and all other
affiliates, Dell will make telegraphic payment to NetApp forty-five (45)
calendar days after the date of a valid invoice from NetApp.

(3) License Fees and Hardware License Fees with respect to
Licensed Products shall be paid pursuant to Section 6(g) below.

No payment by Dell or receipt by NetApp of a lesser amount than the amount of
invoice shall be deemed to be other than on account of the earliest due amount,
nor shall any endorsement or statement on any check or letter accompanying any
check or payment be deemed an accord and satisfaction, and NetApp may accept
such check or payment without prejudice to NetApp's right



Interesting stuff, and I wish IBM good luck.