Thursday, March 31, 2005

I got called out, last minute to do some world traveling, so I’m going to be a little brief today. Yesterday I mentioned that if you bought a used F760, Zerowait can provide hardware support for it. Did you know that Zerowait can provide you with Hardware support and technical support on all your NetApp Equipment? Well they can and at a great price! If you call them they can give you a quote - 888.811.0808 .

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

My point yesterday was that we should take test numbers with a grain of salt. But I added some test info, which brought me a few questions about performance. It seems that there must be a fair number of people actually looking at the FAS270. Is it right for you?

Let’s compare the F840, the F940, and the FAS270.

840 does about 11000 ops/sec
940 does about 17000 ops/sec
270 does about 07000 ops/sec
(Clustered filers yield more, but it’s short of 2.x)

Another big thing to look at is capacity, network and redundancy.

The 840 will support 6TB RAW, 12 TB in a cluster.
The 940 will support 12TB RAW, 24 TB in a cluster.
The 270 will support 6TB RAW, A clustered 270 still only supports 6TB RAW

The 840 and 940 can have multiple NICs, HBAs, SCSI, FCP cards added to them. As a network filer you could configure these boxes with redundant HBAs, create ether channel with 4 GigE ports for more throughput and redundancy, connect to redundant switches, etc.

The 270 has 2 GigE ports, one fiber channel for connecting an additional shelf, and one fiber channel that functions as an initiator for tape drives.

Is the 270 good for you? You need to answer these questions first:
What is the application?
What is the expected growth?
What are the uptime requirements?
What are the performance requirements?
How much space do you have?

The 270 is a nice compact machine for the small office or home office, but it is not really for enterprise class, business critical applications.

A nice used, inexpensive 840 (With or with out a transferable license) is probably the best choice unless you need the power and scalability of a 940.

If you really want a bargain and space is not critical, you can get a used 760. (I didn’t mention them since it is almost impossible to get one with a transferable license these days.) You can get a good-used 760 for a great price and Zerowait will even provide hardware support to keep things running smoothly.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I was talking to Mike Linett the other day and he mentioned something that was very interesting. He said that many of Zerowait’s customers have been asking about the FAS270. You see it sounds life a great deal, a fast, easy, and inexpensive system. At least that’s what NetApp’s test numbers show.

There is a major flaw in test numbers; just take a look at who is doing the testing. Wouldn’t it be in NetApp’s best interest to have test numbers that look real good? If it were my job to set up a test for the sales department, I would make sure that the configuration set up and data used be just the right stuff to make the equipment look lightning fast and flawless. That’s called making the boss happy.

Another option is to go to an independent source for testing, however, the test configuration and the files used in the testing may not be the same as what you use. So something that sounds really good may not work for you.

Now back to the FAS270, we are lead to believe that it is a fast, easy, and inexpensive system. Just take a look at these test numbers on the FAS270 and keep in mind these numbers are from Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. Now compare these numbers test numbers on the F840. It looks to me like in two very similar tests, the older out dated F840 is actually faster and better than the newer FAS270.
Sounds like the 840 is what you want, but you can’t get one from NetApp anymore. So what do you do? Call Zerowait!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Ok, I have been talking a lot about Zerowait and giving you a bit of a look into Zerowait’s past; well, I have good reason for doing this. If I expect you to take the advice that Zerowait will give, contract Zerowait for your support needs, and buy Zerowait products, then I have to show you that they are the best.

I know I have already posted one link to a Jon Toigo article, but I’m going to post another, in fact over time I will probably post more. You see, Jon is definitely recognized as an expert in the field and he, as well as many others, thinks of Zerowait in the same way. He often calls Zerowait to ask their opinion or quote them for an article he is writing.

Here is a link to a 2003 Jon Toigo article, Addressing Storage Growth with Limited Budgets. Check it out then call Zerowait to help you with your company’s concerns, growth plans, and support needs.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I thought that today I would give you a little history lesson. I have been trying to slowly introduce you to the Zerowait philosophy as well as its history and general thought processes. So while searching through some archives and old links, I came across this Radware web link. I know it was written a long time ago, but it not only shows that Zerowait has been working with Network Appliance for a long time, but Zerowait, for a great many years, has been relied upon as an expert in the field.

Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

You will often see me quote Mike Linett, President of Zerowait, or at least refer to something he said. Well, here are a couple of chances for you to meet him in person. In April, he will be attending the ASCDI SPRING CONFERENCE. This will be held on April 13th and 14th in Orlando, Florida. If you would like to schedule a personal meeting with Mike, you can do so by calling Zerowait at 888-811-0808. If you really want to make Mike happy, plan to meet him in Lakeland, FL at the Sun’n Fun fly-in.

Now if Orlando is in the wrong part of the country for you, you can also find him speaking in Las Vegas, Nevada, at Networld+Interop, The Data Management & Compliance Summit. Face it, we could all use a good excuse to go to Vegas. This will be May 3rd to May 5th. You can also call and schedule a meeting with Mike while he's in Las Vegas by calling Zerowait, 888-811-0808.

There will also be other opportunities to catch up with Mike during his frequent trips around the country visiting with Zerowait customers, both big and small. I have him working on putting a schedule of cities and dates on the Zerowait web site to make it easier for us to know where to find him; I’ll post it when gets it there. Try to meet with him; he would love to get to know you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Here is yet another interview with NetApp cofounder David Hitz. This one can be found at the CRN website. What is David really trying to tell us, and do we believe it? Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think, I am still looking to post some good quotes from our readers!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Zerowait on the web! Jon Toigo, noted author of articles and books on storage and disaster recovery, has posted an article about one Zerowait solution. You can be 10 miles or 10,000 miles away and still have your concerns answered by a custom engineered Zerowait solution.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Hello and Happy Monday to you! I hope you all had a great weekend; I spent most of mine hopping around from airport to airport, Orlando, New York, St. Kitts, Myrtle Beach, and others. I will be back in the office tomorrow.

Many people visit the Zerowait web site to shop around for great deals on equipment and service, but often miss out on some of the other great information the site has to offer. I encourage you to surf around on the site and see what else you can learn. Here is a link to the interesting Commentary page of the Zerowait website. Take a look and see what Mike Linett, president of Zerowait, has to say.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Well, I’m going to be in the air most of today, so I will leave you with a short but very helpful tip. Our Chief Engineer tells me that one thing that everyone should do regardless of what NetApp filer you have and what version of Ontap you are running, it is important to zero your spare drives. It can save you down time in the event of a drive failure. You see, part of the recovery process is to zero the replacement drive, if this is already done, that is one possibly long step out of the way, saving time and getting your system up and running.

If you need any help zeroing your drives, give Zerowait a call. Our well-trained staff can help you with this and any other problem you may have!

Have a GREAT weekend and let us know what we can help you with!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

More interesting comments from Dave Hitz, founder and executive vice president of NetApp. I found these comments yesterday, 3/16/2005 on Toasters.

Dave Hitz writes:

Although NetApp's OS looks nothing like BSD (it has no user space for instance, and a very different internal structure from any UNIX kernel), we certainly did use a good bit of code from the Net/2 and BSD-lite releases, back when that was being mostly funded by Berkeley and DARPA.

As Luke says, we used the TCP/IP stack. Also the boot and locore code for both Intel and Alpha. And although we don't have a user space for commands to run in, we did take chunks of user space code in commands like "ping" and "ifconfig" and massage them into kernel code. I don't know the specifics, but I'd be surprised if we hadn't found more stuff to borrow over the years.

I confess that we haven't made any dollar contributions, although if you look at the code contributions I think you'll find that Guy Harris (also of NetApp) and myself were both early contributors. For instance, I contributed cp(1). (When I was done, "cp -R" was a good bit faster than the AT&T version. Instead of doing the copy for a directory in a single pass, I scanned the directory twice, doing files on the first pass and directories on the second. This optimized for the fact that in FFS files in a directory tend to end up in the same cylindar group, so doing the files all together reduces disk seeks.)

So at the time, we figured that we gave some code, and took some code --

call it even-Steven. :-)

Not that I would object if we found a way to make a corporate contribution. We have made some source contributions to Linux, and I've personally made some contributions to Mozilla, so we are definitely fans of the open source movement.

Dave Hitz

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Well, I am back in the cold, but sunny state of Delaware. It has been a very long, late night of traveling, so I am going to leave you with a little light reading today. Here is a Dave Hitz interview. Dave is the founder and Executive Vice President of NetApp. There are some questions about the direction Network Appliance is going and also a bit about the new OS.

Dave Hitz Interview

I found the question about losing customers in the transition to a new OS interesting and the answer even more interesting. I already know a few Netapp customers that feel a bit left out because the new OS won’t work on their older systems. They are asking Zerowait instead of Netapp to provide their service and support.

Enjoy the interview! Also, make sure you send me an email with your comments and concern’s; I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Captain Rick here, writing to you from, not so sunny, Orlando, FL.

Mike Linett, president of Zerowait, sent me an email expressing concern that not everyone knows enough about Zerowait. How can people trust our advice if they don’t even know how long we have been in the business? Well, it is easy. Here is a link to the About Zerowait section of the Zerowait web site.
It gives you a time-line with a little history about the company, it’s business philosophies, and why Zerowait does what it does. If you read it closely, you will understand how Zerowait’s knowledge base grew from programming and consulting to in-depth engineering and support of High Availability infrastructures.

Now you know something more about Zerowait. Do you want to know more? Call and ask.

Friday, March 11, 2005

I know a lot of people think the older Network Appliance equipment is great, I do too, however with the current thinking at NetApp, you better be careful, it is getting increasingly more difficult to get parts and service for those older systems. I also see people, feeling forced to upgrade, unloading their older systems for a good price.

So I offer you this advice, pick up a spare head unit. The prices are reasonable right now on the older equipment, you can pick up a system that matches your current system and be able to use parts or the whole unit if you ever have a major problem.
Zerowait Special

NetApp may think the old systems are no good anymore, but we think they are great! The price is right, so buy two, you never know when you will need to grow!

Don’t forget to send me your concerns and comments about filers and storage equipment!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Ok, now for some info! I’m sure by now most of you have heard that there is a new version of ONTAP, version 7.0. With this new version, NetApp is pushing your 700 series into the history books. It seems that the folks at NetApp think that we have all out grown our 700 series filers and now need to spend lots of hard earned dollars on new equipment from them. Or is it that the old 700 series has made us so much money that we don’t know how to spend it all and now they are helping us with that too. Well either way, I don’t think most of us would agree.

For many of us the “old” 700 series filers are perfect for the job we are asking them to do. We don’t need new feature sets and we certainly don’t need to spend the high dollar amounts to upgrade.

There are alternative solutions out there. For example, Zerowait can and will continue to support your older filers, as well as newer ones, and they will probably do it for less than NetApp ever did. The Older filers were great when they first came out and are often perfect for your needs still today, so why scrap them? Keep them going and maybe even add more. As long as they do the job there is no need to spend big bucks on newer filers that will be out dated when Net App gets ready to sell you the 10,000 series, complete with onboard decaf coffee brewer.

If, however, you find that you do need that new feature set, there is probably one out there with a transferable license just waiting to find you. Do I need to mention that Zerowait can help with that too?
Welcome to the Zerowait Blog, I am Captain Rick and I will be running this blog for Zerowait and our customers and readers. I have been working with the folks at Zerowait for many years and I can assure you that the focus of Zerowait has always been on providing their customers with the most value for the high availability investments that you make.

With this in mind, the focus and goal of this blog is to keep you, our readers, and your networks running more efficiently and at a lower cost. We will do this through information about changes in the Network Appliance world, hints and tips about bugs and patches, and ideas about ongoing support for your legacy and current network equipment.

Please use the convenient link to the right to email me your questions or comments. These emails will allow me make this site more helpful to all of you!