Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"It has become dramatically clear that the foundation of corporate integrity is personal integrity." (DiPiazza, Sam, CEO of PriceswaterhouseCoopers. May 13, 2003. It’s All Down to Personal Values.

Jon Toigo called me on Wednesday and asked me if I had heard anything about tax trouble involving NetApp. I told him that I did not know anything regarding this issue, but I would look into it in the afternoon. By the afternoon his Blog had some insightful comments on the issue from someone who understands the financial aspects better than I do.

A short time after our conversation a customer sent me this link to an article which is worth reading completely.

And by the afternoon I had been sent a couple of other links which were interesting in regards to NetApp's Culture and Business Ethics, but this one was the most interesting from the San Jose Mercury

Splitting fact from fiction and hype is often difficult in the technology sector, what Karl Von Clausewitz said about war can apply to technology also. - "Many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain. "

From the Wall Street Journal 12/2/06

Marketing hype and sales puffery are one aspect of the business technology culture that most purchasers understand and kid each other about. Financial hype and puffery are taken a lot more seriously. I hope it all works out okay for NetApp, Dave Hitz and the gang created some great technology that many customers depend on for their data integrity. The better NetApp does, the bigger Zerowait's market becomes, therefore, I hope they solve these issues quickly.
Ephemeral Storage equipment

Over the last few weeks we have been speaking to a client that is rather concerned about the ephemeral nature of his NetApp equipment. Although he trusts his data is secure with NetApp, he was not so confident about the longevity of his NetApp equipment. He is concerned that according to his NetApp salesman he is going to have to upgrade his R100 and F800 series equipment, because NetApp is going to end support for them soon. Like so many of our legacy NetApp customers he is aggravated by the constant upgrade path that he is on, his conversation reminded me of the picture of a gerbil on a wheel of never ending upgrades. I assured him that we support several hundred NetApp filers around the world and that the equipment he has is very reliable. He asked to contact some of our references, and got back to me a couple of days later after speaking with them, he had a completely new understanding of his NetApp equipment and the life cycle we can provide him with. He was very excited by his newer lower cost of ownership and maintenance.

NetApp equipment can be long lasting and quite cost effective if you use our affordable alternative to NetApp for Legacy equipment support.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill - Wilbur Wright

Just as Orville and Wilbur found out, if you study the fundementals you will learn that the common knowledge is often misleading or just plain wrong.

Almost on a daily basis we get calls from NetApp customers who have been misled by NetApp's sales folks or some NetApp broker or dealer about the equipment they have or as to whether it can be upgraded or serviced by a company other than NetApp. The common refrain from NetApp's folks is that there is no such thing as a transferable license or that you can't upgrade systems to use different shelves and drives.

At Zerowait we are specialists in NetApp equipment, according to our customers we provide better service and support than the manufacturer does, and that is not just for legacy equipment. NetApp's customers are learning that our Affordable Alternative to NetApp for service and support means that when they do upgrade we can help them save money. Recently there has been a thread on the NetApp newsgroup explaining how you can save money by playing IBM against NetApp for competitive quotes on the same equipment and software. From a negotiating strategy this is a great way to save serious money for a customer.

A recent posting on the newsgroup included the following:
From what I hear IBM is cutting the prices dramatically.

It is an interesting business strategy for IBM, they have put themselves in the reseller business for NetApp and are winning deals by cutting price. This means that their margins must be razor thin on a lot of these sales they are making. I never thought I would see IBM's sales force in the business of cutting prices to win any business they can. They used to be the gold standard. We are in interesting times as the year comes to a close .

But savvy customers can use these strange times to their advantage, NetApp makes great equipment and software - it is just way overpriced. But if you buy it from Zerowait you get all the advantages of NetApp equipment, and software with transferable licenses - at a fraction of the cost. And with our Zerowait support you will save even more - and have access to the best technical support for NetApp equipment.

Just ask our customers!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Holiday NetApp Transferable license specials:

FAS980's with NFS
FAS940's available with NFS / CIFS and Cluster
R150's with NFS / CIFS
R100's with NFS / CIFS

Many of our customers like to keep their environments as homogeneous as possible so we also have plenty of F880's, F840's and F825's available with transferable licensing also.

Call us at 888.811.0808 in the USA or 08000.121.801 in the UK - or email us at for a price quote. I hope you will join the Zerowait family of customers, you will be glad you did!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Henry Ford

* Beginning - Zerowait started introducing customers to NetApp's products in 1998 when we signed our reseller agreement. Our understanding of High Availability infrastructures made it a natural fit for our customers.

* Progress - When NetApp cancelled our reseller agreement most of our customers stayed with us for service and support of their NetApp equipment, because our service was more affordable friendlier and quite frankly BETTER!

* Success - Since 2002 we have added a lot of customers inthe USA and around the world. So many customers have been added that we have had to open an office in Europe, and we are looking to open an office in Asia in 2007. The reasons for our success are actually pretty simple.

- Long term focus on customers' support needs.
- Affordable alternatives to the OEM's pricing model - using transferable licensed equipment.
- Commitment to service levels.
- Tremendous depth of inventory that we keep growing to service our customers' legacy NetApp equipment.
- Specific custom analysis toolsets designed to support our NetApp equipment customers.

Henry Ford built a company based on a very simple philosophy, Bill Ford is currently struggling with the problem of a corporation that has lost its owner operated customer focus. Zerowait will continue to focus on the customer's needs. As the founder and president I can assure you of that.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

When Partners Compete Customers win!

From Toasters the mailing list of NetApp's users - a way to get better pricing on NetApp equipment. Make IBM & NetApp compete with each other!
We just went with a few IBM boxes here. We have 40 or so Netapp boxes. The determining factor for us was the price. They undercut by well over 100k on what we bought.

Henry Ford said - “Competition is the keen cutting edge of business, always shaving away at costs” Two sales organizations fighting for your NetApp filer business can save you a bundle!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And now for something completely different.

My buddy Greg's amphicar has been swimming!

Monday, November 13, 2006

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." Lewis Carroll

A couple of times a week I will get a call or be talking to a prospective customer who has a massive problem in his eyes. NetApp has just told them that they must upgrade their storage infrastructure because maintaining their old equipment will just cost a fortune. Upgrading is the salesman's obvious answer to the customers problem. When they call Zerowait they are told that there is third party maintenance available and that using virtualization front end enables them to make a large storage pool without going don the road that NetApp is suggesting.

The point is that there are many other roads available to NetApp customers who don't need to upgrade on their NetApp salesperson's timetable. Vittualization and transferable licensed filers enables them to get a lot more bang for their storage bucks.

Many of my friends own BMW cars. After the warranty expires they all complain about the price of service from their BMW dealers. They usually turn to an independent mechanic. At Zerowait we understand this problem and you can depend on NetApp for reliability, but you don't need to use their parts, service and support.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

“Competition creates better products, alliances create better companies.” Brian Graham

With Topio, NetApp and its partners get two key benefits, starting with low-cost disaster recovery, according to Rogers. "This will be quite popular with our customers. Now our NearStore solution can act as a disaster recovery device for competitors' products. This gives customers a choice to not be held captive to their primary storage suppliers," he said.

Over the last several years NetApp has tried to make their products as proprietary as possible to captivate their customers. For example, NetApp doesn't use the standard 16 drive RAID array , like other manufacturers do, they use a custom 14 drive raid array. NetApp doesn't use a standard canister, they use a proprietary sized canister. These are simple every day products that can help customers save money or lock them in. In every case NetApp looks to hold their customer in proprietary captivity.

A leopard can't change its spots, and I don't think customers should depend on NetApp to make it easy to work with their competitors, no matter how nice it sounds to the press and marketing folks. Will NetApp suddenly form an alliance with EMC to help customers? How did their alliances with Hitachi and Dell work out for customers?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sticker Shock:

The FAS3070 starts at roughly $115,000 for a system with 1 TB of capacity and is available now. According to NetApp, its closest competitor is EMC Corp.'s CX3-80.

I think most people would agree that the closest competitor to NetApp equipment is NetApp equipment that has a transferable license, especially a 1 TB unit. We have plenty available and can easily save you 40% off the NetApp price list. Give us a call - in the USA 302.266.9408 or in Europe at 08000 121 801.

I don't know of any company that has an unlimited budget for storage anymore.

UPDATE- I got a call from an engineer that said I should point out that if this NetApp system is sold with x276 300GB drives, the 1 TB is all used up in the root volume. Even if it was sold with 14 72 GB drives it would leave only 11 drives for data or about 770 GB RAW and about 420 GB usable after right sizing. $404.00 per gig is a high price for useable storage!

Zerowait has transferable licensed 980's with a 1 TB available for about $50,000.00 and we can add a TB for about $5000.00 per TB.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Another SNW trade show is over and in the record books.

On Friday, I flew home after the SNW show my first leg was from ISM to LBT, I filed IFR and after take off I was vectored through Orlando's airspace and then handed off to the Daytona controller. Daytona sent me out over the ocean to the Jetso intersection and then north to Stary and then on to Lumberton which is the halfway point in my trip. I fuelled up in Lumberton and filed my next IFR flight plan back to Delaware. After departing LBT, I contacted FAY approach and the controller asked me if I wanted to go GPS direct to PXT (Patuxent) I said certainly, but mentioned that in the era of the Washington ADIZ it is very rare to get any direct routings any more. Except for a slight change to the Colin intersection, north of Richmond, I pretty much went GPS direct back home. It was a great flight and I had lots of time to think about the SNW show.

I was really surprised by the number of NetApp end users that came up to me and thanked me for my company's service and support, and also by the number of folks who walked up to me and asked me to send them some more information on our NetApp support services. It was apparent to me that many NetApp users are suffering from Buyer's remorse, and are looking for alternatives to NetApp's forced upgrades. EMC's folks were also interested in chatting with me, since they have a common interest in helping us displace NetApp as a service and support option where NetApp equipment is in place. The folks at 3 Par chatted with me and we spent quite a bit of time together. I have to admit that their 30,000 foot view for the technology they have was pretty interesting.

In the past I have learned that most trade show presentations are about as painful to sit through as getting a root canal, so I actively avoided any presentations no matter how interesting I was told they would be. If something interesting happened the trade press will cover it . I spent my time chatting with customers, vendors and competitors about common problems and solutions. I think that was much better usage of my time when you consider the laughter and cards exchanged and to do lists created.

After it was all over on Thursday night, Jon Toigo, Jeremy and I went to Wendy's for our celebratory dinner and laughed about the number of analysts, reporters, and marketing types that were floating around the show. I think there were more marketing folks at the show than there were end users. But only SNW knows that for sure.

Of interest to many people in the storage business :

Regulatory language proposed in California by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) declares that on or after January 1, 2007, no person shall sell or offer for sale in California, a covered electronic device if the device is prohibited from being sold or offered for sale in the European Union. DTSC will hold a workshop on Thursday, November 9, 2006, to solicit additional input and to update stakeholders on the development of these regulations prohibiting the sale of non-RoHS compliant electronic devices in California.

Date: November 9, 2006

Time: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Location: CalEPA Building

Byron Sher Auditorium

1001 "I" Street, 2nd Floor

Sacramento, California 95814

Thursday, November 02, 2006

SNW in Orlando

On Tuesday I flew from Delaware to Kissimee,FL for the SNW show. It was a perfect flight down the east coast at 8000 feet. Yesterday, I went to the show and met with a lot of folks. I was amazed to meet so many people who read this blog. I had no idea. It was great meeting you all ! Mostly the SNW show is a vendor fest, and many of these vendors are suddenly very interested in working with Zerowait. I listened to some of their pitches and was astonished at the claims I heard. I don't know whether the coming election is having an effect on the storage business. But the politicians and the marketing guys seem to stretch the truth in the same proportions. One customer was listening to one of these pitches with me, and afterwards he said that the storage industry needs an organization like to validate some of these claims. Trust but Verify!

By the way, Jon Toigo's storage revolution meeting was outstanding. Good work Jon!

PS - Adaptec - Thanks for dinner, it was great, and I really enjoyed the discussions!