Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Where is the Roadmap?

Did you every get a cell phone call in your car and talk and talk for a while and then wonder how you got to where you were when the phone call was over? It has happened to me, and I think it is pretty common. Sometimes, I have ended up where I expected to be as the phone call ended, sometimes I have been 20 miles past the exit I was supposed to take. I was talking to a customer in person a couple of days ago and were were discussing this and it related directly to the storage world the customer lives in.

When the customer started their conversation with NetApp, a F760 with 1 TB of storage was a lot. Back then NetApp had a road map of how with head swaps they could cheaply and effectively continue to upgrade their systems and storage to grow with customers usage. Back in 1999 the road map seemed pretty reasonable: stay with NetApp and storage was an affordable toll road. But then NetApp changed from Alpha processors to Intel processors with the 800 series and they moved to BCS (520) drives from ZCS(512) drives and moved to the DS14 shelves. None of this had been on the public road map that NetApp showed their customers and upgrading suddenly had additional costs. NetApp told customers that 520 sectors was better and the DS14 shelves would be supported for quite a while. So upgrading sort of made sense. But it seemed the toll road had gotten more expensive suddenly, and the maintenance costs were higher too.

Things were going along pretty well for a while but then NetApp decided to change things up a bit and came out with the DS14 MK2 shelf, which had a wider slot in the disk carrier so customers could not use their DS14mk1 carriers in mk2 shelves. NetApp also decided about this time that 512 sector drives were good again, at least for Nearstore purposes. This left people wondering if they were still on the same road any more. While they were able to look at their newest road maps and see the newest things on the horizon, it seemed to some that the map held no way to get back home anymore. And there were a lot of folks out there who just wanted to keep their old equipment running on the old map.

Zerowait started getting more and more customers who liked the old maps: they were easy to understand and simple to maintain, and the repair parts were readily available from Zerowait.
This is the road map that we provided, a simple, safe road map of maintenance for your old equipment with a low fee and easy to understand helpful folks who were committed to making your trip enjoyable.

NetApp has just shuffled its executive suite, now that they are a big company their road maps are pretty extensive. I hope that they can still find their way to where they are going, because it seems that many of their customers have given up trying to follow the NetApp maps.

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