Sunday, April 29, 2007
Last week I was at the ASCDI conference in Las Vegas and got a chance to hear how terrible it is to be a reseller of Sun Equipment. It seems that a majority of the folks in attendance at the show have something to do with Sun in one way or another. Sun has not been playing fair for the last few years and so the ASCDI has filed some paperwork in the UK to fight for free trade.
Here is a link to the ASCDI page of information
The ASCDI is pretty certain that it is going to win the action, and the law firm representing ASCDI thinks it will apply to all technology companies that have a command economy mentality to their parts support and distribution models. Sun is the biggest abuser, so it seems to be first on the list.
With all the talent that big companies in Sillycon Valley have you would think that they would hire some people with enough economics and business sense to recognize that consumers in any market will find a way to get the products at prices they desire. And that companies will spring up to fill the requests of these customers. But for whatever reason, Sillycon Valley technology companies generally don't understand the dynamics of markets. IBM seems to be the one company that does understand the marketplace when it comes to marketing revenue from the secondary market of its own equipment, however their division that resells the NetApp re branded equipment are as blind to the profit potential of secondary parts sales and third party support as NetApp is.
I appreciate the hassles that NetApp and IBM are causing their customers in this market niche. If they made it easy for customers to work with them, customers would not be flocking to Zerowait for our service and support offerings. So if you are tired of being hassled by NetApp's sales folks to purchase their latest and greatest marketing acronym fad upgrade, give us a call and we will help you maintain your current perfectly good equipment at a reasonable price, without any hassles!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I was having a conversation with a buddy of mine last night and we were comparing the NetApp of the mid to late 90's to the NetApp of today. In the old days, NetApp seemed really concerned with technology and how it helped solve customer problems. My buddy was complaining because today's NetApp is all about license fees and marketing limits on capacity and ways to milk his company for more money. Paying more for licenses means there is less money for staffing development and budget for raises to keep his good staff.
He asked ' What happened to the company that was all about innovations that helped the customer? I couldn't answer that. I know a lot of the same people are still working there. I read Dave Hitz's blog a lot and he seems to be still working there. Dave certainly does not seem to be engaged in the programming anymore, from his blog he seems to acting more like a marketing droid. Dave and I have not talked in years, although he writes to this blog occasionally, perhaps he can clarify?
My buddy said 'NetApp had a great technology that hit the market at the right time, can they maintain leadership in a market that is rapidly commoditizing?' I replied that that I would keep an eye out for companies that can sell at a commodity price a package of Sun ZFS, cheap JBODs, and Seagate or Hitachi 1 TB or above drives. When 2 or 3 of these companies hit the market a real fight will begin.
When these commodity solutions hit the enterprise marketplace EMC , NetApp and the other SAN & NAS packagers will be in for an SGI/ DEC/ WANG type of business decline. Because they won't be able to justify their price delta, since they are all selling the same drives.
Technology can be a harsh mistress, therefore I would bet on the company that has the lowest cost solution that answers their chosen market's needs the best.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
In order to provide our customers with better service than the OEM does we had to develop faster and better systems for service and support. At first these systems were developed to allow us to compete against other people in the third party service and support business. But as the years went by some of these system became stand alone products like the ZHA Exception Reporter.
Exception Reporter gives our customers a competitive advantage and also provides us with better visibility into the failure rates of system components.
Competition is the mother of invention!
Friday, April 20, 2007
Don't you wish that Enterprise storage vendors felt that way? It seems that many companies believe that storage vendors don't care about the damage they cause their customers, they only care about their quarterly sales numbers.
From Byte and Switch....
The survey of 387 users, many from large financial outfits, the bellwether of user satisfaction for many industry suppliers, shows that customers are using more vendors and liking them less. Just four percent of respondents from large companies trust their vendors enough to take their word on a fix. And a shocking 47 percent of those polled said vendor-recommended upgrades either didn't solve a problem or made it worse.
The media seems to be picking up what we have been reporting on this blog for a while now. Which is that the Enterprise storage vendors are successfully destroying their trust relationships with their customers in a quest for more systems sales and revenue growth. Maybe this is one reason why alternative support companies like Zerowait are growing so fast.
The manufacturer's really need to work on gaining the trust of their customers, currently 96% of their customers don't trust them. Just four percent of respondents from large companies trust their vendors enough to take their word on a fix.
I would say that the storage vendors have a real problem on their hands.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Yesterday I was in NYC visiting with clients that were furious at NetApp's escalating costs of maintenance, and also the pace of change on ESH's and LRC's which make NetApp's storage shelves more and more proprietary. These customers recognize that by making things more proprietary NetApp intends to lock them into NetApp's technology. But NetApp has squeezed these clients too hard, and now they are actively shopping for alternative sources of maintenance for their NetApp hardware and looking for Commercial Off The Shelf Storage solutions for future storage purchases.
Most of the seeds that drop out of a tightened grip are scattered, but a few take root and grow. Zerowait's business continues to grow by offering clients an affordable alternative to NetApp service and support. I guess we are a lucky seed.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Recently a number of our clients have been told that they can't get any more power into their data centers. After asking some questions, I found that a number of them have changed from tape backups to disk to disk back up. They use tape for archiving.
As these clients now realize the Disk to Disk solutions were great on paper, but the extra disk and the extra cooling required for the spinning media caught up with them on the power side of their infrastructure.
Free Unlimited Power is not available to everyone yet, and so tape may remain a good answer for companies that do not have an unlimited power supply available to them for some time into the future.
I wonder when we will see a whitepaper from EMC or NetApp discussing power consumption of Disk to Disk back up as compared with Tape backup?
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Hewlett-Packard has a major crush on the small and medium-sized business market and has announced a new model in its All-in-One Storage line and shuffled some executives to help prove it.
HP's latest move in the love-pentagon is the addition of the HP StorageWorks 1200. The 2U system is the densest chassis offered in the StorageWorks line with 12 drive bays holding up to 9TBs of SATA drives or 3.6TBs of SAS drives. The box starts at $8,759 for 3TB and runs on Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 R2.
Click here to find out more!
The new data storage system joins StorageWorks AIO400 and 600, which have 1TB and 1.5TBs capacity respectively and debuted at around $5,000.
I think I will bet on HP to win this battle, as even NetApp's storevault resellers admit there is a problem with NetApp's marketing.
Urso said. "When I talk to small businesses, they know EMC and Dell, but not NetApp."
I think HP knows a lot more about selling high volume, commodity profit items then NetApp does. Ultimately , the storage marketplace will decide.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I have always thought it strange that IBM would be a reseller of NetApp equipment, making very marginal rates of return for its stockholders. It just makes more business sense for IBM to own and sell their own NAS products because they could own the Intellectual Property. It may be that IBM was using the NetApp product line to learn how to sell into the departmental NAS market niche, where NetApp is strongest.
If IBM has decided to dominate the departmental NAS space, the rumors of an IBM acquisition of Falconstor make a lot of sense.
Wall Street analysts said that IBM has been looking at this acquisition for some time but has been waiting for FalconStor to get real traction. "That time would seem to be now,"
Only time will tell.
Monday, April 09, 2007
"It appears that NetApp's move into the SAN market is meeting some resistance despite its dominant position in NAS," the report's analysis of the numbers reads. "On the plus side, just over 40% of the respondents that are candidates for NetApp's SAN offerings have purchased or are planning on purchasing these products, up slightly from our August 2006 survey. However, the biggest shift between these two surveys is a steep decline in the number of respondents that are currently evaluating NetApp's SAN offerings and a corresponding increase in current customers that are only planning on using its NAS products and have no plans to even evaluate its SAN lineup."
Out of our large customer base of clients , very few are using filers as a NetApp SAN .
Friday, April 06, 2007
NetApp's newest software costs that much.
ReplicatorX is available now for $50,000 per Tbyte of replicated data.
Let's do some simple math on a typical small NetApp system which has 10TB on it
10TB * $50,000.00 = $500,000.00 Doesn't that sound expensive to you?
That is just for the software, you still need a second filer to replicate too!
I wonder what the commission structure is on that software!
Thursday, April 05, 2007
If I recall the events of September 11, 2001 airplanes struck the WTC and the Pentagon, not ships.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Something weird is going on here," said Arun Taneja, founder and analyst with the Taneja Group, who said he'd been working with NeoPath since the company's inception and had not been aware of the plan to discontinue the products. "For the life of me I can't understand why NeoPath's products would be end-of -lifed. It's a good product. It's functioning well."
Perhaps the new owner of Neopath wants to sell its own proprietary solutions, or is about to come to market with its own solution?
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
1) Most of the components in enterprise storage systems are made in Asia.
2) Most of the assemblies in your storage infrastructure are made in Asia.
3) A lot of software engineering and technical design is done is Asia.
So when I read things like this from the Economist - I get a little worried.
After a long drawn out, and highly fraught, negotiation that pushed right up against the deadline, America and South Korea have inked a new trade deal. It is the largest America has signed since NAFTA. However, tensions between the Bush administration and resurgent protectionists in America's new Democratic Congress make it highly uncertain that the pact will be ratified. In related news, China is protesting an about-face on anti-dumping suits by America's Treasury department, which has resulted in punitive tariffs on paper products
Maybe it is time to write our Senators and Representatives, so they will stop this silliness?
Monday, April 02, 2007
Brocade has some ideas that may change the cabling and wiring of your
April 01, 2007 (Network World) -- Brocade Communications Inc. this week announced plans to incorporate 10Gbit/sec Ethernet and iSCSI technology into its Fibre Channel switches.
At the company's annual Analyst Day in San Jose, CEO and President Mike Klayko reviewed how Brocade has diversified in the past year. He mentioned the acquisition of NuView in 2006, which brought Brocade into the burgeoning file-area network market (see "Brocade buys file management vendor NuView for $60M") And he talked of the company's acquisition of McData and Silverback Systems (see "Brocade acquires Silverback for storage chips").
"If we had just stayed in the Fibre Channel SAN market, we would have had a market of about 1.8 billion dollars," Klayko said. With the acquisitions and Brocade's diversification, Klayko estimates that the company will make three times as much money -- $5.4 billion. Klayko also addressed further diversification with the introduction of 10Gbit/sec Ethernet in 2008.
"You are going to see us incorporate [Silverback's 10Gbit/sec Ethernet and iSCSI technologies] and incorporate it into the infrastructure that we are filling out for the future of the data center," he said