Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Storage Poker Game

Over the last month I have made numerous trips to the Houston, TX area to work with our Energy customers who have tremendous data and processing requirements.  The folks that I have been meeting with are all concerned with the costs of storage acquisition, maintenance and migrations. In my conversations with them, I realized that dealing with NetApp was like playing a hand of Texas Holdem.

The game starts when the client decides to run his NetApp systems for 5 or more years but his NetApp team tells him that after 3 years he needs an upgrade even though his filers are not maxed out in storage capacity or IOPS.  The customer wants to increase his ROI and the Salesman has to meet his sales quota and wants to increase his sales commissions. So the first cards are dealt; the customer has two down cards - budget and increased ROI, and the sales person deals out the next three face up cards - Software Licenses, End of  Software Support, End of Life.

Over sips of Shiner beer, the savvy customer asks the salesman a question about how come some customers are able to use transferable licensed systems. The salesman bluffs about lack of license transferability on their systems.

The next card the customer receives is the Zerowait card. It gives the customer the comfort he needs because Zerowait has been providing the NetApp community with reliable service and support for over a decade, and SimplStor provides an affordable tier two storage environment.  But a smart poker player wants a stronger hand.

Our customer and poker player has proof of license transferability and knows that Zerowait can support his NetApp equipment around the world and so he stays in and continues to grow the pot and finally calls the salesman.

The salesman has to admit that transferable licenses exist and that high availability equipment does not become low availability because a new model came out. The customer wins by reducing his costs of new equipment by showing the salesman that there is competition in the marketplace, and by leveraging Zerowait’s legacy support he reduces the number of new units he purchases.

That is how Zerowait’s savvy customers play poker with their NetApp sales team and win.

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