I am returning home to Delaware from San Diego today after a very busy week of visiting our customers in Southern California. We met with customers in publishing, entertainment, micro electronics, aerospace and defense. Every customer is looking at how to consolidate their storage to get by without breaking their budget. Maximizing storage to the capacity of their current NetApp systems is one way of making their budget dollars go farther because they can avoid a system upgrade. A couple of customers are looking at Equalogic storage and some were looking into home brewed BSD solutions running ZFS.
The paradigm has changed and high priced arrays are not a priority anymore. The priority is maintaining high availability without breaking the budget. Because of tightened budgets some customers are comparing their quotes from different divisions and have noticed that their pricing was different from NetApp for different divisions within the same company and were sometimes different within the same building for systems and support. One company that I met with that has a European division noticed that NetApp pricing was substantially different and that the Europeans could purchase the identical equipment for substantially less then the US division could. This might have something to do with the opportunity registration that NetApp uses, but with many companies today the lowest acquisition cost is the most important aspect of a purchase, and the vague logic of the pricing that customers are getting seems to be an issue.
This trip was enjoyable. I met with many customers and friends that we have been working with for over 10 years. We discussed the growth and maturity of the networks we have been working on and looked at the new challenges that occur because of rich media and compliance issues. Storing data for compliance can get quite costly and our customers were asking what types of solutions we could provide them that can provide reliability without breaking the bank. And we have some solutions that are a perfect for for today's budget constrained IT environment.