Thursday, December 27, 2012
I met with the team at one of our oldest customers and they are trying to stretch their budget to handle requirements for onsite production and offsite storage. Their FAS3050’s are running fine and still have capacity to handle more storage. There is no budget to upgrade these FAS3050’s as NetApp would like them to do so they are going to keep these high reliability heads running for as long as possible with Zerowait supporting them with parts and service. Additionally, they have been using our SimplStor units for a few years now and find they are an affordable and reliable way to archive, so they are going to use an additional SimplStor as an offsite remote tape replacement.
Another customer I met with has a large user who has recently purchased a large Linux Cluster with projections that it will double its storage requirements in 2013. Additionally, the nature of the modeling requires a lot of writes which slows down the NetApp infrastructure to handle the concurrent demands of VMware and Oracle for their business requirements. During our discussion of options for the big Linux cluster the customer asked if we could build our SimplStor with Solid State Drives. He prefers to work with a company he knows that has been providing service and support for over two decades as opposed to some VC backed Startup Company with no history at all. I told the customer about our new SSD version of SimplStor and how we are carefully rolling it out to select customers to make certain that each unit works flawlessly in their datacenters. Over the holidays our engineers will be working with the customer looking at his logs and discussing his system usage to come up with the best solution. As a service and support business our engineers are encouraged to spend the time to help the customer understand the nature of his bottlenecks and find the best solutions.
Another Boston customer is in the midst of a corporation wide shift in their data system architecture and needs help moving their petabytes of data to different locations. This is a big job and they want us to help them by providing storage resources and engineers to assist at the various sites.There is storage strategy, logistics, security, and technical expertise needed for this job and our customer knows he can depend on our engineering staff to help them make this big project go as smoothly as possible.
2012 is ending a lot like it began for Zerowait; helping our customers find affordable solutions to their biggest data storage problems. Zerowait has grown in 2012 and we expect to grow again in 2013, and based on the quotes we have out I think we are going to have a very busy first quarter.
Thank you all for a great year!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Applying Storage Technology used in Movie, VFX, and Oil and Gas Exploration Applications to Win Races. Hendrick Motorsports Relies on Zerowait SimplStor for High Availability Data Access.Wilmington, DE (PRWEB) December 12, 2012
Who wins the race is often decided by hundredths of a second. Great racing teams are dedicated to finding those hundredths in every part in their performance. With all the information recorded at both the race and during development, Hendrick Motorsports understands that data availability needs to be fast and uninterrupted. Zerowait’s storage technology, solutions and support provide them the edge they need to keep winning.
Finding the Elusive Second
Along with all of the performance data gathered by Hendrick Motorsports engineers, they record many aspects of race events to review while searching for ways to improve their track performance. When the team decided that it needed a storage solution for its HD video archives, they knew that Zerowait was working with the leading international companies in the Film and VFX business. Chris Newsome, Operations Manager at Hendrick Motorsports, says, “We’ve been working with Zerowait for the better part of a decade. Their team has relationships in the VFX business, and we knew they understood the required storage technology better than anyone. Zerowait provided us a turnkey, affordable storage solution to handle our fast-growing requirements.”
Matt Cochran, IT Manager at Hendrick Motorsports, added, “Zerowait’s SimplStor is easy to expand and has the performance we need. It allows us to increase performance by simply adding additional memory and NIC (Network Interface) Cards for bandwidth. The engineering team at Zerowait has always been available to help us with our NetApp equipment, and we recognized that with SimplStor Zerowait had put together the winning solution for our High Definition Video archive.”
Designed by Customers
SimplStor was developed based on conversations with large database users, including the Movie, VFX, and Oil and Gas companies who helped Zerowait design the equipment to meet their needs for a dense, affordable and scalable solution with outstanding performance. Offering 68TB in a 4U server and 90TB in a 4U add-on module, SimplStor offers a petabyte of storage in a single rack. When Hendrick Motorsports started to produce their own High Definition Video, they knew they could trust Zerowait for the storage solution they needed while saving their budget for other improvements to their systems.
Backed by Trust
Mike Linett, Zerowait’s President, added, “The Hendrick Motorsports organization and Zerowait have a lot in common. Both are family owned, have grown from ideas into successful companies, and are dedicated to improving performance. We’re proud to be celebrating our 21st year of providing exceptional support and solutions to our customers through open and honest relationships dedicated to their success.”
Headquartered in Wilmington, Del., USA, and with offices around the world, Zerowait is the worldwide leader in independent service and support of NetApp filers. Zerowait solutions include off-lease fully licensed NetApp systems and the new Zerowait SimplStor line of single-name space archive storage. Storage administrators throughout the world rely on Zerowait to provide affordable solutions to the skyrocketing costs of data storage. http://www.zerowait.com
ABOUT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
Founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has earned more than 200 race victories and a record 10 car owner championships in NASCAR’s premier division, the Sprint Cup Series. The organization fields four full-time Chevrolet teams on the Sprint Cup circuit with drivers Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Headquartered in Concord, N.C., Hendrick Motorsports employs more than 500 people. For more information, please visit http://www.HendrickMotorsports.com or interact on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
I have met with a lot of customers over the past few years, and after hundreds of customer visits and thousands of phone calls and emails, I think I’ve learned what customers really want from storage. It should be: 1 – Easy to deploy. 2 - Affordable. 3 – Straight-forward to manage. 4 – Uncomplicated to expand.
Why is enterprise storage so hard to deploy and so difficult to migrate data to and from? A lot of storage issues are caused by patchwork networking and storage protocols that have grown over 20 years into a mix of open source and proprietary solutions. Politicians often say that making laws is like making sausage, and the same can be said for enterprise storage. There is no one ‘right’ answer for all storage as there are so many special requirements and applications. After thousands of conversations with storage engineers and managers I have come to the conclusion that storage is simple to define in the macro environment, but difficult to define in the small, user environment. Whereas the Big Boss views his storage issues as simple to understand, the storage admin experiences a kaleidoscope of complexity. This leads to problems, one of which is that the Big Boss is often confounded by the acquisition costs and ongoing maintenance and management costs of their tier one arrays.
When storage managers try to explain that storage costs can be managed by migrating less critical data and information to less expensive arrays, management gets interested. But who wants to admit that his division’s data is not as important as another division’s data? Of course every bit of every department’s information is mission critical. If it wasn’t, then perhaps their division could be considered not critical--and in today’s economy, who wants to admit to that? The next step in that train of thought is the unemployment line. Ego and fear play into the cost of storage and therefore every department’s data is mission critical and on expensive tier one arrays.
We all seem to agree that storage should be easy to manage and that Human Nature creates an environment where every department and user thinks their data storage and network access is mission critical. How, then, can you prioritize resources for users in network and storage environment where everyone wants and requires priority access? The only solution is to get ever faster switches, routers and storage—which, unfortunately in a lot of cases, are not compatible with the existing architecture. This leads to glitches and hold ups in deployment, more headaches for the admin, and the whole storage infrastructure turns into an unmanageable monster, much like Frankenstein—cobbled together from disparate parts.
Then there is expansion. Tier one storage should be easy and affordable to expand, but can’t be because of proprietary software and legacy hardware. Unfortunately, proprietary software and legacy hardware needs to be kept running: data migrations are difficult and costly, something most companies can ill-afford in today’s economy.
Human nature, technological change and proprietary products all conspire to make storage hard to manage and expensive to maintain. Our customers tell me that Zerowait support is the best available and saves them time and money when compared to OEM support. They also tell us that our SimplStor product provides them the flexibility they need at an affordable price point, if they want new equipment. Successful companies will need to master the details of their network and user requirements in an ever growing mesh of complexity.
Zerowait can help you with this difficult task.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Friday, November 09, 2012
Just about everyone we spoke to is trying to deal with managing expanding storage requirements and very tight budgets and our customers are embracing both our Legacy NetApp Support and also our SimplStor products.
During the trade show we also launched a Press Release with Dial America which is one of our SimplStor customers in NJ. Dial America is not in the Oil and Gas business, but our customers at the show could relate to the issues of storage costs and capacity that our friends at Dial America are dealing with .
“Our old tape backup solution was painful to deal with because it was complex to reliably restore files and expensive to maintain” said Gerhard Lindenmayer, Information Security Officer at DialAmerica. “It would take hours to perform recoveries from tape - it was a 20th century solution for a 21st century company. Zerowait’s SimplStor disk archive provided an easy way to reduce cost and complexity while increasing backup and recovery performance.”
With data center space always at a premium, DialAmerica knows the storage density of Zerowait’s SimplStor (338TB raw in only 16U) will help them reduce their raised floor space and increase their operating efficiency. Thomas Conway, DialAmerica’s CIO says “Zerowait’s SimplStor provides us with cost efficient storage for our big data, and is backed by a company we have worked with for a decade”.
If you are looking for an affordable storage alternative to the high priced OEM solutions our SimplStor product line is worth a look. SimplStor is being embraced by customers around the world for a variety of applications in Video FX business, Manufacturing businesses, Oil and Gas sector, and Hi Tech niche businesses.
It was great seeing our Oil and Gas friends in Las Vegas, we are looking forward to next year's SEG show in Houston.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The most important resource of Zerowait is our staff, and they need to remain safe and take care of their family and property. We recommend our staff take Personal Time Off during a weather emergency and concentrate on keeping their family safe. If there is an incidental business question, we can contact them by cell or email. That allows us to check on staff safety as well as provide our customers with the service they expect.
Making use of the Internet, our remote engineering and sales support teams allowed us to seamlessly move our support services and sales to other regions of the country. This allowed our local staff affected by the hurricane to concentrate on taking care of their families. The staff that was in the office yesterday was able to prepare our facilities in case high water entered our building. We spent quite a few hours moving things around, and making sure that our equipment was safe. The system our team has built over the last decade harnesses the power of the internet to create a virtual environment for the Zerowait staff to provide for our customers, and quite a few were surprised to find we were working yesterday.
We’re back up and running this morning in our main location because the Zerowait team takes storm preparations seriously. We take notes after each weather event to improve our response to events as they occur. The only way to improve is to learn from your past and study what others have done to avoid issues. We learned quite a few things from this storm, and we are reviewing our notes and adding a few new pages to our Disaster Prevention Manual.
There is always room for improvement, even at Zerowait : ).
Friday, October 19, 2012
"Canadian manufacturers are feeling optimistic about their futures as they foresee a sales shift over the next three years towards Europe and developing countries, according to a study released Thursday by their industry's main association.
Sales within their home provinces, to the rest of Canada and to the United States will remain the dominant markets for Canadian goods, but most companies expect to expand their reach to other markets, according to the survey of 649 Canadian companies released by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association.
"Companies expect globalization pressures will propel a shift in where they do business," the analysis conducted in August by a coalition of 52 industry associations found."
All of the customers I met with have tremendous storage needs in multiple global locations, and they are looking for ways to cut costs on their data storage. Zerowait has provided many of them with NetApp storage support for many years, and they are also embracing our SimplStor products for their archiving and image/graphics storage requirements.
Reacting to this globalization of our business niche, and the requests of our Australian customers for a local office, Zerowait opened our Australian office in 2011 and our business is thriving in Australia. Over the next few years we expect our global business to grow to about 50% of Zerowait’s revenues. Working internationally has challenges, but our customers like that we help them control their enterprise storage costs around the world with our affordable storage support and hardware solutions.
The Oil and Gas industry has always been global, and has always required vast amounts of storage. During the first week in November, Farat Buta, our EU sales manager, will be traveling from the UK to the SEG show in Las Vegas to work with us in booth 107. Farat will be working with many of our international clients who will be there, helping them meet their storage growth objectives with our affordable storage products and services.
Finally, in November Zerowait will be celebrating its 21st year in business. When I look back over the past 21 years and see what our team has accomplished and how we have built the company from my dream into an international company I am very impressed with our staff. But more importantly, I am very optimistic about the next 21 years and I know that we can help our customers in new ways as technology improves and globalization increases.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Zerowait has been working with NetApp Filers since 1998. We still are supporting legacy filers for organizations that were built in the ‘90’s. That is longevity! Many organizations struggling with the uncertain world economy take the approach “if it ain’t broke, don’t replace it.” And for those companies Zerowait’s affordable support provides a lifeline for their NetApp storage.
Over the last few weeks we have helped some of the best known organizations in Biotechnology, Video Effect (VFX), Media and hosting meet their growing storage requirements without busting their budgets. Like many of the IT organizations we work with, some of our new customers are in budget lockdown due to reduced quarterly earnings, and upgrading to the latest NetApp head is out of the question. But that doesn’t mean they can’t add more NetApp storage. They know that Zerowait provides storage upgrades and shelves to customers around the world, and our current specials make adding storage to their current reliable, scalable NetApp infrastructure easy and affordable.
In this economy, outstanding service and support has a value which can be measured by comparing the cost of new equipment and required data migration to the cost of adding to your current NetApp highly available and scalable storage infrastructure. These bottom line costs savings can be measured by CFO’s and the folks in the executive suites, with no impact to the quality of service you now provide.
If you like your NetApp equipment, you will love Zerowait.
Monday, October 01, 2012
We work with customers all over the world, and many of our customers say that we provide better service and support than the OEM does for their own equipment. Many customers keep their NetApp systems long enough that NetApp’s representatives will no longer provide support quotes for equipment and Zerowait is the only global company providing high availability support for these legacy systems. We think that NetApp makes great hardware and software and we have been working with NetApp hardware since 1998. Over the last decade we became an independent service and support organization, and that transition has allowed us to provide a competitive business model to NetApp for the support of their equipment. Our customers include commercial organizations around the globe, and many state and federal agencies.
In a turbulent world and uncertain economy, many organizations are fighting with extremely tight IT budgets and looking for ways to save on their storage costs. Over the last month I have met with customers in TX, CO, NV, and AZ to discuss the many ways we can help them stretch their IT dollars, whether by extending the service life of their NetApp equipment or by using our SimplStor as an affordable data archive or tape replacement solution. If you are looking for an affordable storage solution, Zerowait has the answer!
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Strega has been dominating the niche of unlimited air racing for a few years, and their team deserves a lot of credit for the dedication they put into keeping the aircraft competitive. After all, there is not a lot of money to be won and Unlimited Air Racing has a very small following.
This is where the Strega team and Zerowait have a little in common. Outstanding service and support for storage networking equipment is also a niche market.The Zerowait team is dedicated to providing the absolutely best service and support that we possibly can to our customers. And our customers continue to tell us that we provide them the best service service and support . Our engineering and support staff understands our niche better than our competition, and it helps our customers remain competitive in their markets.
Every organization has to have a competitive edge and the dedication to keep its customers satisfied. the Strega team has a great pilot, and a great team of mechanics and engineers that are dedicated to keep it winning. Racing and winning at Reno takes extraordinary efforts.
Congratulations Strega team, and thank you to the Reno Air Racing Association for putting on an outstanding event.
Friday, September 07, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Allowing competition for hardware support for all Federal IT equipment is an easy place to start saving money. The Federal Government could easily stretch their IT budget if it would follow the lead of our Gobal commercial customers.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Hi Mike, nice post and good points raised. But you didn't say what you advised this customer to do. Here are a few tips:
1) Upgrade to the latest version of ONTAP, volume limits have been raised (assuming this customer has a fairly recent NetApp unit that can be upgraded)
Thursday, August 09, 2012
“I’m looking for deep, dense, and cheap. We currently archive to 1TB SATA drives on NetApp with a 4 TB volume size limit. I have share farms on the back end through the ARX that are 18 TB Volumes. I can’t keep spending the amounts of money I’m spending today on storage with our growth rate. So Simplstor looks really good because I don't need to front end it with any server, I can just plug it into my network, add it to the ARX and start moving data to it.”
This client is not alone:
In an uncertain economic environment increasing the life cycle of your trusted IT equipment makes business sense, if you can insure the risk of aging high availability equipment. There is no disruption to your user community due to upgrades and migrations, you can contain your costs and your administrators don’t need expensive and disruptive training since they are already familiar with the environment. And tiering, as our client is doing, allows you to add lower cost archival storage without affecting your clients data access expectations.
For the majority of our customers their organization’s storage growth is a constantly growing cost burden similar to the costs of medical care expenses. The reasons for the cost growth are similar also. The costs of Medical insurance are borne by indirect payment entities (insurance companies or the Government) and the costs of storage are borne by IT departments- which act like an IT insurance company for most organizations. In both cases the person using the service typically does not pay directly for the service. Thus there are no market costs or perceived value exchanged between the supplier of the service and the user of the resource. Since the user of Storage is not directly responsible for its acquisition costs, maintenance costs, and ongoing support, the IT department – like a medical insurance company - must find a way to reduce costs to increase efficiency. Unlike the insurance companies, most IT departments cannot raise their budgets (rates) when they can’t reduce their expenses any further. In their case they take the hit instead of the end user. Since the recession started, IT departments have lost personnel and delayed equipment purchases as they reached the limits of efficiency and still had to reduce their budgets.
Storage and network requirements and associated costs are going to continue to increase until there is a way for IT departments to charge their users with actual cost information for their Infrastructure usage. Without direct feedback on the values and costs of Network and storage resources there will always be a disconnect between the providers of the infrastructure and the users of the IT resources. The company that figures out how to capture the costs accurately and price them to the end users accurately will certainly be an investment opportunity to look into.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Jeff Klein, a long term customer of Zerowait's, recently wrote an article for tech zone about independent third party support and refurbished parts for legacy Information Technology equipment. It is a well written article and I think it is worth your time to understand the issues involved. Here are some interesting excerpts.
* "The Federal Government spent $2,034,269,948 on new equipment while only spending only $9,114,676 on refurbished. A resounding 99.6 percent of Federal IT dollars was spent with OEMs and OEM authorized resellers."
* "Still others [OEMs] issue fictitious list prices. These can be a much as 200 to 300 percent higher than what they will charge a good customer, i.e., they can offer the perception of huge discounts to end customers while asking independents to pay much higher list prices for the same product or part."
Jeff's article ends with this :
"The solution is simple. Corporate IT buyers must join with their independent suppliers to demand that manufacturers: 1. Stop their attacks on independents. 2. Call on the U.S. Department of Justice to commence hearings to determine if AGMA is in violation of anti-trust laws. Without coordinated action, competition will continue to be curtailed, prices will rise, choices will be limited and free trade in America will be a little less free. "
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Last night I was at a gathering of VFX folks in Newtown at the Marly bar and I was talking to folks about robotics and developments in camera technology for film and animation. The VFX community here includes customers of ours in the commercials business, movie business, and the TV business, and I really enjoy coming to Sydney for these evening gatherings. I wish that we could put events like this together in the USA. As mentioned previously in this blog the Aussies have great beer and it is hard not to enjoy a few of them when you are out in the evening with customers and friends.