Thursday, June 30, 2005

Transferable Licenses

This subject comes up almost daily. NetApp provides transferable licensing. Zerowait stocks systems with transferable NFS,CIFS,Cluster and Snap mirror. If a NetApp Salesman tells you that there is no such thing as a transferable license Call Zerowait. 888.811.0808 immediately. Ask to speak to Mike Linett. I will fax or Email you a copy of a transferable license from NetApp. This document is on NetApp stationary and signed by NetApp employees.

Zerowait has the largest third party stock of NetApp systems with transferable licenses. Additionally, we stock thousands of parts for most NetApp systems. We provide outstanding service and support to customers around the world. If you are not currently a Zerowait customer I hope that some day soon you will give us a try.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dave Hitz discounts from NetApp. Dave Hitz, cofounder and head of engineering at NetApp. "We have a single software system, and we can cut our prices to gain market share," he says.

Tuesday was an interesting day. It seems that many customers are starting to receive their lower price quotes from NetApp's direct sales force and resellers.

We had one customer call us from Toronto who was getting 30% discounts on his NetApp FAS 270 hardware and software, but only getting15% discounts on his support. We had another customer call us that was getting 50% discounts on his hardware and software but also getting a 30% discount on his 3 year support. This confirms what I heard last week from a client in Maryland who was getting 30% discounts on hardware and 15% discounts on support. Another customer in California was able to get NetApp to meet our prices on hardware last week! So, if you are looking to get a price reduction from NetApp, it can't hurt to show them our Zerowait quote as part of your negotiation process.

NetApp typically aggressively discounts hardware and software at the end of their fiscal quarter or the end of their fiscal year. But it seems that savvy customers can get steep discounts from NetApp now by using a variety of negotiation tactics. Please give us a call if you need some help with learning the ins and outs of NetApp's negotiation process or need a competitive quote for your NetApp storage.

If enough of you send us your NetApp quotes we can put together a database of their quotes and see if there are regional price differences as well as product line price differences. It could be a very interesting database and provide a great negotiation tool for NetApp customers.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Diligence is the mother of good luck."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Over a week in the office I probably speak to an average of 20 different customers. And every week our engineers probably speak to the same number of customers. I can't provide an average week's shipments, because some days we have a lot of small boxes and other days we have a couple of big pallets shipping, some days we have a mix and some days we hardly ship anything at all.

Some days we are making complicated system quotes and some days we are simply quoting out parts and upgrades. Some days we are out and about visiting clients and some days we are entertaining clients in our offices.

And we must be doing something right. Because every week we gain new customers, who like our commitment to providing the best service, support and upgrades for their NetApp equipment. So, if you need a transferable licensed NetApp Cluster or just a Gig card please keep us in mind, we would like to hear from you! And I hope you can join the Zerowait family of satisfied customers.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Last week a customer called us up in a panic. They needed 28 DS 14 36GB drives in a hurry and wanted to know if we had them. We checked our inventory found we had plenty in stock and said that we did have them and could ship right away. He said he would call us back, because NetApp told him they could not ship immediately and he was desperate. He called NetApp and told them Zerowait had the drives and could ship them immediately. NetApp then had a person drive our customer the shelves right away. He called us up and told us what happened. I was very sad to lose the sale but happy to help a customer. Other customers have shown Zerowait Quotes to NetApp in order to help them get lower prices on NetApp new gear and licenses.

If you are trying to get NetApp to quicken their reactions, or lower their prices give Zerowait a call. There are many ways to get a better deal out of NetApp, perhaps the best is to ask for the Dave Hitz Discount "We have a single software system, and we can cut our prices to gain market share," he says.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Disaster Recovery or Disaster Prevention

There was a great article in search storage on the ten reasons DR plans fail recently, I suggest that you read it if you are concerned about your business continuity after a data loss event. Following the attacks on the Pentagon and the NY World Trade Center, Zerowait took actions to build what we termed our Disaster Prevention Strategy. The Project took us about 1 year to completely implement but was relatively inexpensive and has proven itself in all of our tests. What we did was to build a VPN between all of our remote offices and our HQ in Newark, DE . Then we extended the VPN to a Colo Center about 10 miles away at Serveon. We placed duplicate storage there, and servers including a mail server. Since all of our data is kept on transferable licensed NetApp Filers it is quite simple to move data between the filers.

Is it a perfect solution, of course not. But if all power and Internet Connectivity goes out in Newark, DE. we are ready. Our tests have proven that we can be up and running within a few hours from our home offices and our remote site. Our NetApp storage infrastructure helps us streamline our Disaster Prevention strategy, but it was only part our High Availability strategy.

At Zerowait we believe in High Availability. If you are concerned about your Disaster Recovery plan's reliability, please give us a call. I am certain that we can help you build a High Availability Disaster Prevention Strategy that is cost effective and reliable.

In case you did not know, Zerowait provides affordable service, support and upgrades for NetApp equipment. We have an enourmous stock of transfrable licensed units from which you can build an affordable high availability NetApp storage infrastructure.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Email Compliance Conversation

I received a call from a customer who was worried about regulatory compliance for his email. He had looked into a solution and was suffering sticker shock from the price quote he received. I asked him how many email accounts he had, and whether he was running a spam filter or not. I told him " Spam storage costs money" and told him we use a Barracuda to eat our spam. We like it so much we sell the product now. I asked him how many terrabytes of email storage he had and he was not certain. This concerned him as he did not know how big his problem was, or how fast it was growing. I asked him if he wanted us to provide tape back up, or disk to disk at our remote location. He said that the recent tape loss events are quite scary. "No Problem" I said, " what we will do is create a three leg email solution. Primary email is at your location, followed by a copy to our location and then a back up to our remote site. No tape, all encrypted on spinning disk and no spam! " I said. He said "You can do that! " . I answered "Yes, when do you need it implemented." Once we get his storage requirements figured out we will be able to provide him a monthly price which is exponentially cheaper then buying an in house solution.

Zerowait provides customized storage services for clients currently, and it is a growing part of our business. Often your must vexing storage problems are every day solutions we provide! Zerowait has the engineered solutions and we can solve your problems NOW.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

On Sunday, I had lunch with Zerowait's first customer. We still do work for them and
we had to get together to discuss a project we are working on for them. We have been working with this customer for 16 years on various types of projects. The company has recommended us to various other companies over the years, and we have picked up projects here and there from their recommendations. In addition to business, we talked about our parents, and our families and what we are doing for the summer holidays. Over the years we have met each other friends, and it seems that everyone knows everyone else now, so when we work on a project together we can trust that everyone will do what is expected, and we make sure the deliverable is as described in our discussions. There are clear economic benefits to this relationship for everyone because of the trust we built up over time.

As a private company, Zerowait does not have to meet Quarterly numbers for analysts, we have to make our customers happy year in and year out. Of course, we do have to make money. It seems like a large part of a successful business formula is to make your customers happy and be a reliable resource and they will recommend you to other customers. Everyone at Zerowait understands that we can't win every deal, but we all try our hardest to provide our customers with the best quality, prices, service and support that we can. Two large NetApp upgrade shipments on Tuesday went to customers recommended by other customers. We certainly appreciate your kind words and recommendations. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Last week a customer spoke to me at length because they need a NetApp storage specialist for a few month assignment. He wanted to know if we could help them find a person for a 6 month assignment which is all they expected their storage consolidation and migration to take. I spoke to him and listened closely, and we came to the conclusion that they did not want actually to hire someone for six months but actually wanted to find someone who could help them for a period of about six months while they implemented their changes. After about another thirty minutes on the phone it turned out that all that was really required was someone on call 24/7 and someone who could come in when they needed it.

Our customer already knew that his engineers depended on us for their technical support but never realized that we provide consolidation and migration services also. The customer pointed out that most companies he deals with always push their professional services and that Zerowait does not. We laughed together about our lack of marketing skills for our professional services, but he agreed that he would keep Zerowait professional services his little secret.

Zerowait provides NetApp storage migration and consolidation services . There you go - the hard sell!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Last week I was having breakfast with a customer who was complaining about the limited lifecycles of most IT equipment. He went through the usual list of problems that are caused by manufacturers who only support the current and last generation of products. He knew that we were supporting many generations of NetApp products and he complimented us for saving customers a ton of money by allowing them to maintain older equipment for the medium term, but beyond the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) . He wanted to know why we don't cover more brands of equipment.

The reason is simple, our engineers can 't be the best in multiple brands, so we specialize in one thing, and it is NetApp. Many companies sell & support many different brands of equipment. When we sold new NetApp equipment, we only sold NetApp storage. Well over 90% of our business is service, parts and upgrades for NetApp equipment. Zerowait is commited to providing outstanding NetApp service and support, and our customers share the rewards of our dedication to this purpose.

Friday, June 17, 2005

On Thursday we were arranging a shipment from the Netherlands to Zerowait in the USA, and also putting together a shipment that will be going to Amsterdam. Additionally, we were packing an order to go to Hawaii, and got out a couple of overnight shipments to companies in the lower 48. Our Engineers were working with clients on migrations and back up strategies in the USA , Russia, and the UK. The diversity of our clients is astonishing, but we recognize that each one of them has an urgent need to keep their high availability data storage network running within a budget. Another typical day at Zerowait, providing outstanding service, support and upgrades to NetApp customers throughout the world. I hope you will keep us in mind the next time you are thinking of upgrading your NetApp system.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A customer called us up recently who had been quoted a price of over $16,000.00 by NetApp for NBD hardware support for his Filer. He was absolutely non plussed over the quote NetApp gave him, and wanted a competitive quote. I explained that we certainly could provide a competitive price quote, but I did not see how NetApp could possibly be charging that much for hardware support for the 3 year old system he was describing. We quoted him significantly less and it looks like we have gained another satisfied customer.

The incident reminded me of a meeting I had in September of 2000. I was meeting with the CIO of a Fortune 100 company and he told me that often it comes down to a decision to buy hardware and software support or to keep talented engineers on staff, budgets are tight and tough decisions have to be made between staff and infrastructure. I sympathized with him and explained that Zerowait's competitive hardware support prices give IT managers the budget flexibility they need to keep talented staff and maintain their high availability hardware. Of course, readers of this blog already know that! Zerowait provides an alternative to NetApp's high prices, we've been doing it for years and our loyal customer list keeps growing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

It looks like there might finally be some price competition coming to the enterprise storage market thanks to competitive market forces and it should help NetApp's customers. I don't think I have ever seen a more fragmented product marketing strategy by one company.

Over the last few weeks we have seen some very interesting comments from NetApp on their pricing and their marketing strategy. First there was Dave Hitz saying NetApp will lower prices to gain market share "We have a single software system, and we can cut our prices to gain market share," he says.

According to NetApp's Leonard Iventosch "Before, we dialed for dollars, set up appointments and sent the lead to the partner," he said. "Now we will get the lead, follow up with the customer and the channel partner, and make sure the customer stays engaged." So it looks like the customer will be able to negotiate price with the partner, but also start shopping with other NetApp sales channels. Where will the IBM OEM versions of the NetApp products fit into the pricing picture? Will IBM sell their OEM versions for less than the NetApp channel and direct sales force? Will customers be able to get competitive bids for the same product from NetApp's direct sales force and NetApp's partner sales force, and IBM's direct and channel sales force?

How will Pillar Data affect the pricing picture especially within the Oracle NAS storage Niche that NetApp values so highly?
And now there is competition from Larry Ellison's Pillar Data - “ $100,000 for 12 Tbytes: This system seems to target a real sweet spot that’s missed by other storage vendors. It’s unusual for us to buy from a startup. But it’s such a departure from the existing storage paradigm that it’s worth it to take a leap.”

It seems like there will be a lot of competition for NetApp's sales in the next few months. Savvy customers will get quotes from all of the different competing sales forces and take the lowest price, because the service and product will be identical.

Competition is good for the customer, and the coming months look like a great opportunity to grow your storage while reducing your costs. There are several successful purchasing strategies that our customers have used over the years in negotiating with NetApp, but getting competitive prices is always the best.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Yesterday, I received an email from a customer who had been given a quote for a NetApp FAS270. He wanted to know if we could quote him a similar unit. I wanted to know what his application was and what his data growth forecasts were, I also inquired as to the number of clients he had that were going to be actively using the storage from the FAS270. I needed to know these answers so that I could see if there was a good fit between the FAS270 and the client's needs. provides online test results for NetApp filers and they are quite revealing. For the customer, it turned out that the quick review showed that there were potential bottlenecks in the performance of the FAS270 that could be a show stopper. I suggested he review the results for the F840 and F820. It turned out that these older systems fit his usage and growth profile much better. Additionally , we were able to save him about 50% of his budget over a new system. This is because Zerowait stocks systems with fully transferable NetApp Protocol licenses, ready to ship and configured to your requirements.

Next time you are told that it is time to upgrade your NetApp system, check the specifications and test results prior to making your PO, or give Zerowait a call and we will try to help you increase your NetApp storage while maintaining your budgetary integrity.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I got back last night from a great trip visiting our customers in Europe at the ASCDI
meeting in London. It was my first trip to London and I found it a very nice place, it really did not seem much different from any other major city. If you have time, I recommend going to the Science museum which is behind the Albert Hall. I wish I had another couple of hours to go through it.

Most of the folks at the meeting were interested in how we could help them provide more value to their customers. NetApp is telling their customers that they must upgrade to newer filers and then NetApp's sales folks tell the customers that the price of service and support of older systems is going to go up so it makes sense to upgrade. It sounds like twisted logic to a lot of our customers.

As readers of our Blog know - Zerowait provides affordable service, support and upgrades for NetApp equipment. We supply Next Business Day (NBD) parts services to many of the Fortune 100 companies who want to keep their older NetApp systems running. So if NetApp is telling you that you must upgrade, why not give Zerowait a call? There are other alternatives to NetApp for service and support .

Friday, June 10, 2005

I just got in this morning from a very busy flying day! The plane I was flying had just come out of a major maintenance inspection. It was in the shop for 6 weeks! One thing experience has taught me is that no matter how good your mechanics are, after a plane comes out of “heavy maintenance” there are a lot of little problems that pop up from having things apart, nothing dangerous, just annoying.

Why do I bring this up here, well I’m learning that filers and storage equipment are the same way. Anytime you re-arrange a system, move a system, or somehow change a system, you will often find little annoying issues that get in the way of smooth operation. Sometimes these problems may not even seem related to the maintenance that was accomplished.

Last week Zerowait got a call from a customer who was having problems with their system. The Zerowait Engineers were also receiving auto support emails from the system, indicating a problem. After many phone calls and dead end troubleshooting, it came out that the customer had recently moved the system from one location to another. During the move a fiber cable got bent or stepped on and was not efficiently transmitting information. No one there suspected that simply moving a system from one location to another could cause such troubles. Once the ever-alert Zerowait engineer heard about the move, the cables were the first things to come to mind. Had the information about the move been discussed earlier, many hours of trouble shooting the wrong problems could have been saved. It is important to give the engineers all the information you have!

Zerowait’s chief engineer also points out that if you are going to use your older shelves with a newer system, many customers have found that the transition goes much smoother if they send their old shelves to Zerowait to blow out old volumes, zero drives and flash new firmware. Basically this will make your old seem new and more compatible with your new system.

In flying I have learned to take a plane out for a few “shake-down” flights, before you set out on any long or important flights. Your IT system might benefit from the same process. Before you trust your newly changed system with critical data, let your system burn in for a few days (a week even), run a few processes with it, check it out and make sure everything is working the way you expect tit should. Once you are confident all is well, you can also be confident that you will not lose critical data.

Always keep in mind that anytime you are making changes to your system, big or small, Zerowait is here to help!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

It seems that inventory management is of interest to a lot of people, many blog readers and Zerowait customers have called or emailed to ask how Zerowait handles a large inventory as well as, service and support systems.

Well, if you look into the history of Zerowait you will see that Mike Linett started out as a Database programmer, working on inventory systems. Mike actually has a degree in this stuff! Michael and the Zerowait staff have written and designed their own systems. They built a completely relational database that keeps track of all inventory prices, and quantities and also interfaces with engineering and support. A lot of customers with multiple support locations require special service and delivery solutions, so they are constantly tweaking the systems in response to specific customer service and support requests.

As Zerowait’s growing family of satisfied customers seems to suggest, Zerowait is committed to providing the highest level of service, parts, and upgrades for NetApp equipment, all at a reasonable price. Efficiently managing inventory is just one part of how Zerowait is able to do it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Mike and July left for London today, so the rest of the Zerowait staff will be working harder than usual to cover the phone calls, orders and daily business operations that would normally be covered by them.

Today, other than the absence of Mike and July, is a typical Zerowait day. The phone calls started early this morning, as usual the first calls come in from international customers, followed by more local customers and finishing off the day with west coast customers. The topic of phone conversations has run from answering questions about F840’s with transferable licenses, software revision numbers, and the availability of legacy drives for FC-9’s. These are only a few of the typical phone calls that Zerowait fields daily, and this doesn’t even begin to cover the customer support calls, shipping questions, or those “May I speak to the person in charge of copier maintenance?” calls.

I guess what I’m trying to say is Zerowait gets call from Europe, Asia, and the USA, but as busy as Zerowait is, there is still time to hear from you with your questions or concerns. Excellent service and excellent prices make Zerowait an excellent phone call!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Thank you!
All of us at Zerowait appreciate the difficult job our customers have in managing their data storage networks while working within a tight budget. We work diligently to provide our customers with the highest quality of service and support possible. We strive to maintain the most complete inventory of NetApp Legacy parts in the marketplace. Because of the number of customers we have, and the depth of our inventory, we can provide our customers outstanding service, support and inventory stock at a reasonable price. The cycle continues to turn; the more customers we get, the bigger our inventory reserve requirements become , and the more customers we can service and so on.

So thank you for working with Zerowait, we appreciate your business and look forward to working with you as your NetApp storage requirements grow.
Thank you!
OK, I hate to sound like a broken record here, but I just can’t overlook some of this stuff! It seems as if Dave Hitz is contradicting himself again. In this article from, Dave is quoted as saying, "We have a single software system, and we can cut our prices to gain market share," Yet just back in December has this, “The aim is not to disrupt ONTAP customers," said Dave Hitz, VP and co-founder of Network Appliance. "Think of the upgrade like moving from Windows to Windows NT. There's a long overlap period … All future development is focused on the next-generation product, but we'll support both.”

Is NetApp supporting 1 or 2 operating systems? Will the one you are using be the one they drop? What do you think? Make sure you use the link to the right and drop me an email. I really would like to know your opinion.

At Zerowait you will get straigh talk that is both knowlegable and helpful. Give Zerowait a call and talk about your storage needs!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Good Monday to everyone! If anyone, especially Zerowait's European customers who would like to set up a meeting with Mike Linett, he will be in London this week. Mike will be attending the ASCDI, 2005 EUROPEAN CONFERENCE.

It is a great opportunity for the European Zerowait customers and anyone who might like to be a customer to get to know Mike and July. They don’t find their way across the pond that often. Call Zerowait today and set up an appointment to meet with them; they would love to see you while they are there!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Sun Purchases StorageTek: Possible Implications

Many of our customers are both Sun and StorageTek customers so this acquisition has our interest. Zerowait is concerned about how to help our customers maintain their legacy infrastructures to enable them to get the most for their storage investment, and an acquisition often results in the shrinking of support and engineering staffs of the acquired company. Additionally, when you have influential companies like these joining forces there are typically staff reductions in sales staff of the acquired company. Finally there are the long term branding and strategy concerns that customers should be concerned with for the 3 to 5 year period after the initial equipment purchase. For Sun, in our opinion, this acquisition really represents a purchase of a customer list and a brand—technology and real estate play a lesser role.

As Sun takes over the StorageTek marketing and sales functions, they will be forced to slash staff right after they absorb StorageTek’s contact and customer databases. Similarly, StorageTek’s engineering and technical staff will also be affected because both companies brand assemblies made of commodity parts. The business logic maintains that you can get by with fewer engineers to support them. But this would be faulty logic, and problematic for owners of StorageTek equipment. Indeed, the transition period could mean loss of timely technical services support (changing phone/email contacts, changing personnel, untrained techs), but the bigger danger is that, over the next few years, StorageTek customers risk the loss of the long-term expertise required by their niche storage products. As knowledgeable StorageTek personnel find themselves “let go”, the remaining support engineers will have responsibility for more products; this can mean dilution of product knowledge. Additionally, stocks of readily available spare, replacement or upgrade parts will likely diminish—product knowledge disappearing with it. We see that today with our own NetApp legacy parts: newly minted resellers haven’t a clue about which parts are compatible with which systems; nor are most parts available through manufacturer channels. Thus, infrastructure managers need to factor the elimination of support and spares as part of the corporate “right sizing” into mid-term technology refreshment plans. Zerowait considers mid-term to be 2 to 4 years after acquisition of product. Since this type of acquisition takes between 18 months and 24 months to accomplish, we would suggest that customers begin reevaluating their storage infrastructures soon.

We would expect that there will be quite a few orphaned products as soon as Sun’s folks complete the absorption process. Why? The merger brings Sun’s Storage business into competition with its new acquisition’s storage business. They both sell RAID Solutions that are assembled from parts by Xyratex, Seagate, Intel and Qlogic. The internal politics and elimination of overlapping products will take many unforeseen paths, but you can be certain that many customers will be left with unsupported products because of this merger.

Many of you may remember when Chrysler purchased AMC / Jeep. The AMC cars were quickly eliminated from the product mix. And the Jeeps were changed to use more and more Chrysler parts. The brand remained, but the product changed. Chrysler was then absorbed by Daimler. The Plymouth brand was eliminated, and Chrysler’s employees and staff were decimated. Chrysler’s share of the market has tumbled as it has lost its product’s identity. Plymouth is just a memory. I expect that StorageTek will suffer the same fate.
Here is some good news to start your weekend right!

In a Forbes article about Pillar Data Systems, you can read, David Hitz, cofounder and head of engineering at NetApp, agrees that low-end storage technologies will move up the performance ladder, just as PC technologies did. But NetApp is in on the trend, too. "We have a single software system, and we can cut our prices to gain market share," he says.

Does this mean that NetApp has been charging too much for new equipment? Can we all call and ask for the Dave Hitz discount? Or are they just going to lower their prices? Inquiring minds want to know.

Zerowait has the equipment you need at reasonable prices now!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Our thanks to someone at NetApp!

Mike doesn’t like to admit this, but not everyone knows about Zerowait, YET. So those who don’t are likely to call NetApp first when they need parts or service. We got a call this week from a new customer who did just that, they called NetApp looking for an X221A drive. I have no idea who they spoke to at NetApp, but whomever it was suggested they call Zerowait. Now Zerowait has another satisfied customer!

Although we don't know who at Netapp referred them to us, we certainly appreciate their help and their recognition that Zerowait stocks a tremendous amount of legacy drives, adapters, and other essential parts. So thank you Netapp for the referral; as you know Zerowat has the legacy inventory and can ship today!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

NetApp's Grid computing Vision - We don't get it , and we have been following their changes in direction for years. - I think they are lost. If you can find the road map from these quotes and news stories we certainly would appreciate your help and I am certain the rest of our blog readers will also.


NetApp FAS900 Grid Clustered Failover Solution

Network Appliance is now shipping the InfiniBand-based solution from JNI Corporation and Mellanox Technologies with its new FAS900 series to provide the core interconnect technology for NetApp grid clustered failover high availability solutions. ...
"InfiniBand features low latency, low CPU overhead, and high data throughput, making it the ideal technology for cluster interconnect," said Mark Santora, senior vice president of marketing at Network Appliance.

OK ... so the Grid is a 900 series unit that is clustered running version 6.X, But then the Spinnaker purchase suggests another direction for NetApp Grid. 05 Nov 2003

According to Hitz, the most important thing that Spinnaker's technology brings to the table is its ability to scale its global file system and global management capabilities to gigantic capacity points.
Spinnaker's distributed architecture lets users tie multiple NAS servers together, which creates a large, scalable server that can be managed as a single storage resource through one interface.

But in January 2004 NetApp tries to clears things up a little - but clouds things a bit also, NetApp seems to be embracing interoperability instead of proprietary solutions. So why then did they buy Spinnaker?

InfoStor January, 2004 Author(s) : Lisa Coleman
"We saw what was happening in the compute grid space and we matched it in the storage space. It's not about building the biggest box. It's about having components that work together so you can scale incrementally, both inside and outside the data center," says Mark Santora, senior vice president of marketing at Network Appliance.

OK ... so the Grid is a
900 series unit that is clustered but has something to do with stuff that is inside and outside the data center. We are lost.. what happend to the 900 series cluster running version 6.X as a Grid? Is the stuff outside the datacenter a NetCache?

12/2/2004 - Flash ! We hear about a 'Three phase roadmap ' :
"The aim is not to disrupt ONTAP customers," said Dave Hitz, VP and co-founder of Network Appliance. "Think of the upgrade like moving from Windows to Windows NT. There's a long overlap period … All future development is focused on the next-generation product, but we'll support both."
At a media and analyst event in New York, NetApp said its three-phase roadmap for introducing the grid-based operating system will be transparent to users as it plans to take features from its existing Data ONTAP OS and incorporate them into the SpinServer product.

What is the three phase road map? We have not seen it mentioned again. Are 700 series and 800 series units going to be able to do a Grid? Finally NetApp clears things up. MAY 31, 2005 they have a four year plan!
Over the next three to four years, predicts Hornung, virtually all storage will be grid-like in that it will be based on smaller, easily integrated building blocks that can scale horizontally in performance and capacity in seamless pools of storage. Until then, though, look carefully under the hood at purported grid storage and base your purchase decision on the real-world problems it solves.

But now we learn it all is about virtualization....
Tim Pitcher, NetApp VP for strategy and business development, says

Where is NetApp going?
But bringing out bigger and better boxes for NAS and FC/IP SAN applications isn't the main event. It's necessary, but the main event, the direction NetApp is pursuing, is: "A storage environment, a grid, which provides a global single storage environment that manages provisioning and compliance in a single global namespace. This is the holy grail; this is what everyone will want to get to."

In other words a Data ONTAP-mediated storage environment. Virtualisation is a key aspect of this, an underlying, an under-pinning technology. Pitcher says: "For other vendors the message is do you want to provide the virtualisation or be virtualised?"

So a Grid is a virtualized namespace for now?, should we suppose that it has nothing to do with the former 900 series cluster, and the inside and the outside of the datacenter?

No matter which way this story ends, Zerowait will support your NetApp hardware for years to come!