Thursday, November 04, 2010

Competitors and Peers

Many of our customers like to differentiate between competitors and peers. When we look at all the different hardware, services and support that Zerowait provides our customers around the world we find it hard to find any peers. We are keenly aware of our competitors though, and there are a few competitors in each part of our business. But we are unaware of any single company that provides all of the services that Zerowait does.

Many folks would say that EMC, NetApp and IBM are competitors, but they are not peers. They are very different companies and they each have many capabilities that their competition does not have. They are peers in some aspects of their businesses, and when there is a very similar offering from each of them a savvy customer will seek competitive bids. For instance the IBM N series and NetApp FAS series are essentially the same product, with slightly different bezels, stickers, and support models.

IBM, EMC, and NetApp are all customers of Seagate and Hitachi for disks. I am pretty confident that Seagate and Hitachi treat the big three slightly differently based on sales and profitability factors.

Our SimplStor product also uses drives from Seagate or Hitachi, and components from many of the same manufacturers that the big three use. However common the components we all use, we are not competitors.

When Zerowait was a NetApp reseller in the late 1990's our focus was selling the F740 and F760 into the departmental storage niche market. That market niche was not being targeted by either EMC or IBM and so we were able to sell our customers NetApp filers without much competition.

In a similar way our SimplStor is a targeted and unique product. It is targeted towards our customers who need the reliability of name brand components, but want to avoid high priced proprietary software features and support pricing. One of our customers recently mentioned that our lease pricing is lower than the price he was quoted by a cloud service provider, and he did not have the security issues to deal with. At the SEG show in Denver a lot of folks were very interested in a Petabyte of storage that can fit in a single standard rack, and were surprised that we could offer it for $300,000.00 with a switch to provide a single Namespace, and support.

The way we look at our SimplStor product it is not a competitive product, but a complementary product to the big three's offerings that can work well in mixed environments and reduce our customers' costs substantially.

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