Thursday, August 31, 2006

Delaware in in position to attract Data Centers

Delaware is well positioned to capitalize on banks’ demand for data security and data storage technology workers, according to a new study.

Princeton, N.J.-based The Boyd Co., which advises banks and other financial service firms on where to locate offices and other facilities, found that Delaware and Wilmington, the state’s largest city, are in a good position to capitalize on the demand. And data security/data storage is one of the few niches within financial services that’s experiencing significant job growth, said John Boyd Jr.

But the First State is also facing competition for these high-paying data banking jobs from small, low-cost cities in the West and the South, such as Sioux Falls, S.D. and Winston-Salem, N.C.

There are about 41,000 people nationwide now working in financial services data security/storage, and that number is expected to grow by 19 percent annually over the next five years, according the firm’s projections. Jobs in the field generally pay between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the firm’s study.

If major banks decide to locate their data security/storage centers in Delaware, it could ultimately mean the addition of several hundred jobs here, Boyd estimated.

See complete coverage in Friday’s News Journal and online at www.delawareonline.com. Contact Ted Griffith at 324-2880 or tgriffith@delawareonline.com.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Zerowait Opens EMEA Office to Provide Affordable Service, Support & Upgrades to NetApp® Customers in the UK and Europe.

Newark, DE, USA / Manchester, UK—August 29, 2006 –Zerowait Corporation, the recognized leader for independent support of Network Appliance (NetApp) equipment, announces the opening of their European Headquarters. Offering comprehensive hardware support for enterprises and e-commerce companies who need to manage their critical data at a reasonable cost, Zerowait is now positioned to provide enhanced engineering and technical support for NetApp infrastructures throughout EMEA with its expanded sales presence and forward distribution depot.

A Partner You Can Trust

Steve Fishwick, General Manager of Zerowait EMEA comments, “Zerowait has been earning the trust of their customers for over 15 years. Selected by Network Appliance as one of their first Registered Service Providers (RSP), Zerowait’s extensive experience in load balancing, caching and network attached storage provides the foundation for outstanding third party support programmes. Zerowait helps customers maximize their return on investment (ROI) for their Network Appliance storage equipment, by providing affordable high availability support solutions, parts and engineering support.

“Our new European office provides European clients a simple way to reduce the skyrocketing costs that Network Appliance charges for upgrades and hardware support,” concludes Fishwick.

“Zerowait was established in 1989, in Newark, Delaware USA. Zerowait is clearly the largest independent service and support organization focusing on Network Appliance Corporation’s equipment. Several hundred NetApp customers around the world depend on Zerowait to provide them with an affordable alternative for NetApp service, support and upgrades. Opening our European office and parts depot permits us to provide our EMEA customers the same high availability service levels that our customers in North America receive,” said the President of Zerowait, Mike Linett.

If you are looking for a responsive company that will put your requirements first, contact Zerowait by calling 08000 121 801 in Europe or 302 266 9408 in North America. Email us at info@zerowait.com for a competitive quote today!

Zerowait is a third party provider of parts, services, and support for Network Appliance equipment. Zerowait is not a partner of, nor affiliated with, Network Appliance Corporation.

Zerowait USA – 18 Haines Street, Newark, DE 19711. Ph 302.266.9408 http://www.zerowait.com/

Zerowait UK 14-16 Agecroft Rd. Manchester, M27 8UW Ph 08000.121.801 http://www.zerowait.co.uk/

Monday, August 28, 2006

If you are curious about our reputation, check out our satisfied customer list !

A few times a week we get asked by prospective customers for references on our service and support. We gladly send references to people who request them, because we are confident that our customers are extremely satisfied with our independent NetApp service and support. Now that we are opening in Europe we are getting questions about our service & support from many new customers. Zerowait provides service and support to some of NetApp biggest international customers, so providing international references is not a problem either. Sometimes prospective customers ask us for geographic references and sometimes they ask for industry specific references. Either way prospective customers quickly turn into customers after talking with our satisfied customers.

A few months ago we had a get together with a bunch of customers in Texas, Our customers talked candidly about their problems and how Zerowait has solved them. They discussed how Zerowait solved their technical problems and their budgetary problems caused by NetApp's overly priced support solutions. Next month we are planning a get together with some of our customers in Nevada. Communicating candidly with our customers is the most important thing we do. And the most important component of communication has been to carefully listen to our customers and provide them the solutions they are looking for at a price they can afford.


Friday, August 25, 2006

"Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts." Edward R. Murrow

Regular readers of this blog will know that for about a year we have been working on setting up our
office and service depot in Europe. After many months of effort the office will open next week. Some of our European customers have already been speaking to our staff there, and many more of them will soon be speaking to them in the next few months.

Starting in September we will be visiting Europe more often to introduce the local staff to our customers there. After many months of training, programming and organizing we are ready, and I am certain that our European customers will receive the same service levels that our North American customers receive.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"We've been NetApped!"

That is what our customer said, and it was not a compliment from the tone of his voice. As I found out more I learned that their NetApp salesman had shown him numbers that proved that buying new NetApp equipment was cheaper then buying continuing service and support from NetApp. An associate in another division of his company had told him to contact us, and he was rather upset that he did not ask us for a Zerowait support quote prior to buying his new NetApp hardware. After learning what his company paid for their NetApp hardware I joked around and asked what kind of car the sales guy purchased with his commission. After a few minutes of laughing we agreed that NetApp's proprietary solutions carry hefty commissions!

When I have conversation like this I always think back to a conversation I had with a large Delaware based company's CIO . He told me that he has to always look at the cost of new technology and compare it to how many people's work it will save. He would rather have talented people on staff, and if he could shave dollars from his hardware costs he could keep his staff. There was only so much budget available and people or hardware was the decision he had to make. By purchasing support from Zerowait his company was able to affordably maintain his high availability systems without destroying his highly respected engineering staff.

NetApp has great technology, and Zerowait can help you support, maintain & upgrade your NetApp equipment for a reasonable cost.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Another Early Adopter gets rid of their NetApp .

August 17, 2006 -- NASA's Solar Data Analysis Center is changing out its network attached storage (NAS) from Network Appliance Inc. for what it described as a more agile set of arrays from Pillar Data Systems Inc. to make it easier for the organization to study the sun.

If only that this NASA division had called us, we could have helped them grow their NetApp Storage, shrunk their footprint, and improved their performance without breaking their budget. And maybe saved the taxpayers some money!

Pillar's sales force seems to be doing the missionary sales work and chasing after the early adopters of storage technologies. NetApp uncovered a market need in the mid 1990's, but are they nimble enough to recognize, implement and execute on a plan to fight this hungry and well financed newcomer to the marketplace? Perhaps their StoreVault product is a distraction from their main business, have they lost focus already? But NetApp does not seem to be addressing Pillar directly yet. Oracle is a big NetApp customer but there are direct ties between Oracle and Pillar.

Recognizing that Zerowait has a rapidly growing North American and EMEA customer base some NetApp competitors have approached us to help them market their products recently. We have seen some really interesting and innovative technologies that will reduce customers overall cost of storage in the past couple of months. But we have not seen a value proposition yet that approaches what we can provide our customers yet on maintaining, upgrading and providing service and support for their NetApp equipment.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Follow the Options

Nearly 100 years ago Teddy Roosevelt said "A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education he may steal the whole railroad."

In the Enron scandal there were a bunch of well educated guys who were able to play games with the books and the rules of accounting. And it is worth watching this film clip to get a sense of that scandal The smartest guys in the room film clip

The current SEC Options investigation is stirring up Silicon Valley, but these types of things unfold at their own pace in the media, based on other news events. Putting the pieces and connections together from the media reports makes it very hard to follow or make sense of for me. How big will the expanding SEC Options investigation get? Jon Toigo has some thoughts.
"Follow the money," was the memorable quote from All the President's Men. Deep Throat advised Bob Woodward that the key to understanding the Watergate mystery was the money.

Dave Hitz of NetApp considers Lock In to be a natural state of things with a fast evolving technology.
The root cause of vendor lock-in is lack of standards and interoperability. Standards don't tend to emerge when innovation is fast. And innovation tends to be fast whenever customers have unsolved problems that make them unhappy. In the storage industry today, I see unhappy customers driving lots of innovation that makes it hard for standards to keep up. I predict that this cycle of unhappiness and innovation will continue for a while, because the problem keeps getting harder: installed storage capacity keeps doubling, and data keeps getting more business critical.


By the way, Hal Varian said in 1998 that lock in is going to get more prevalent. So Dave is not breaking any new ground here. I wonder if Dave knows Hal Varian?
Whether you supply information technology, or merely use it, you will benefit from understanding, classifying and measuring switching costs. The "friction-free" economy is a fiction; look for more lock-in, not less, as the information age progresses.

What is interesting is that in some respects they both miss an important component of lock in - Customers want value for their investment.
That is why Zerowait keeps adding customers for our NetApp Service, parts, upgrades and support business. Zerowait provides extraordinary value to the customer that their high priced OEM will not provide - (I get to toot my horn in my blog !). Another place where you can see customers striving to get better value out of their Storage investment is at the Toasters mailing list (toasters.mathworks.com) of NetApp users. There you will find all sorts of tricks on how to get more value out of your NetApp storage investment.

Are you fighting the vendors' need to lock you in, or are you working toward creating an open and free market for storage equipment? Dave Hitz is a great guy, but he is a big shareholder of a company that profits on locking in customers to his equipment. Vendor Lock In is also a root cause of Vendor Myopia. Just look at that other fast growing company from Sillycon valley - SGI. They missed an obvious seismic change in the marketplace because they considered their customers locked in. In many ways, Sun's troubles arealso because they considered Linux a toy that no Fortune 1000 company would use. Both SGI and Sun learned that Innovation can cause havoc to a Myopic business plan.

A simple way to fight NetApp lock in on price is to get quotes on the same equipment from IBM. Off The Record Research says that in Europe Customers are getting bids from both IBM and NetApp . Or give us a call and we will explain how to negotiate better prices and terms from NetApp.

Innovators recognize that Vendor Lock In is a cancer that kills innovation.

As Deep Throat said " Follow the Money"

Monday, August 14, 2006

NetApp VP says NetApp is working to reduce storage costs.

Are they reducing their costs of hardware support? No
Are they extending the life of your legacy equipment ? No

They are going to sell another piece of hardware & software to reduce your costs!

"This announcement is about NetApp providing customers with a holistic solution to help them gain control over escalating costs and risks associated with unstructured data," said Patrick Rogers, vice president of Products and Alliances at Network Appliance. "With this software introduction, we are extending our portfolio of solutions to help customers reduce the amount of time normally required to manage compliance-related storage management tasks and tiered storage migration."


At Zerowait we work on reducing your storage costs by lowering your costs for NetApp storage support and maintenance. And as we get more and more customers our support prices are reduced further. Because as we grow our inventory, our cost for support goes down and we pass that savings on to you. If you are looking to extend the life of your NetApp storage or affordably add storage to your infrastructure give us a call, you will be glad you did.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Traveling home from San Francisco today!

It has been a productive week in the bay area, we saw 12 clients and caught up with old friends at the brewery in Burlingame. I have to leave in a few minutes to stand on long lines at SFO airport before I get on my flight home. It looks like a lot of our customers will be meeting us at the Reno Air Races this year. If you are interested in Big Engines and fast planes you should check out www.airrace.org.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The main stream computer magazines are asking the same questions we have raised in this blog.

The NetApp StoreVault offering is the same beast. Sure, you can get a 1 TB unit that does snapshots for under $5K, but looking closely, you see that adding RAID and a hot spare to the baseline box leaves you with something less than 250 GB of capacity. In my opinion, and that of others, the box has limited capacity, limited auditability, limited manageability, limited support and apparently no investment protection. Is this really what SMB/SME's want?

But as you know even enterprise sized accounts are looking at costs today. A couple of days ago a NetApp customer sent us a quote they had received from their vendor for some DS14 storage shelves with 144 GB drives. The quote was for over $29,000.00 for 2 TB of Storage! That is a mighty big markup, even for a company from SillyCon Valley! The quote was for 7 shelves and came out over $200,000.00 . The customer asked what we would charge and it turned out to be less than 50% of the price, a lot less.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

NetApp's Cosmic Failures

A regular reader who recognizes that our team is very savvy about NetApp called me and asked if I knew about NetApp's Cosmic Failures. I thought he meant Cosmic Features. But as I learned, he meant failures. He said that he had been 'Netapped' recently and was really tired of their sales puffery and marketing hyperbole, his terms were much more colorful. I listened to his story and asked him if he could send me a link or something that referenced this 'Cosmic Failure' thing . He explained to me that he could, but I could just search the Searchstorage site and find the reference.

Here is the link to the article and the paragraph that is so interesting .
http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid5_gci1169744,00.html

Contacting NetApp about the problem, Campbell discovered that the company has a category of failures it refers to internally as "cosmic failures," which are problems that it can't, or won't, fix. The failover detection fault the Salk Institute experienced was deemed a "cosmic failure," and Campbell never heard from NetApp on the issue again.

Perhaps some of our readers , or some members of the toasters.mathworks.com group can provide us more detail on what these cosmic failures are and what causes them. I am certain that our readers would all appreciate the list of 'NetApp Cosmic Failures' and the workarounds that there are for them.

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

You just can't make this stuff up!