Monopoly...is a great enemy to good management.
Adam Smith - the Wealth of Nations
Prospective customers ask us how can we provide better engineering, service, and support than NetApp does since they are the OEM. It is not easy, as we must compete with the manufacturer of the equipment we have to do a better job and provide superior service and support at a competitive price point. And since the majority of our prospects turn into customers we must do a great job. If you would like a reference from one of our service customers on the hundreds of filers we support just give us a call.
Currently, many NetApp customers are complaining about NetApp being unable to provide them with equipment on time. As the only supplier for their product they have no reason to improve their service except to fight EMC. But if a customer is 'locked in' to NetApp than NetApp has no reason to improve service, because the cost of changing your storage vendor is so high. NetApp's sales force knows this. Therefore only in a competitive situation with another storage vendor will a NetApp Storage customer have more negotiation leverage.
To get the best price from NetApp, you should negotiate at the end of their quarter, when their sales force has to make their numbers. Also it can only help in your negotiation to introduce a competitive product into your negotiation with NetApp's sales folks. Asking Zerowait for reference quotes for upgrades can also help you when you are negotiating with NetApp's sales force.
Toigo has an another interesting post That is worth reading.