Thursday, September 27, 2007

Former Network Appliance Manager Charged With Embezzlement - US Attorney
....Here is the link
Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2007

LAWFUEL - Former Transportation Manager of Network Appliance Corporation Charged Over $ 90,000 in Personal Expenses to Corporation

SAN JOSE - United States Attorney Scott. N. Schools announced that Bernadette Escue, the former Global Transportation Manager of Network Appliance Corporation, ("Network") was charged yesterday afternoon with wire fraud. According to the Information filed in San Jose federal district court, Ms. Escue, 41, used her position to embezzle over $90,000 by charging personal expenses to her company charge cards.

According to the Information, Ms. Escue was Network’s Global Transportation Manager and worked in Network’s Sunnyvale, California facility. The Information states that between February 2001 and October 2003, Ms. Escue fraudulently charged over $90,000 in personal expenses on Network corporate credit cards, including $12,900 for her son’s tuition at a private high school in San Francisco.

Joseph Fazioli is the Assistant United States Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Legal Assistant Susan Kreider. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Another Link in SF paper.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Congressional Earmarks for SAN's.

Nothing should surprise us anymore...

Storage Area Network Earmark

“$1,000,000 to Eisenhower Medical Center for Storage Area Network”


Storage Area Network Earmark

“$3,000,000 to University of California - Redlands for Spintronics Memory Storage Technology”



Sunday, September 23, 2007

What was your favorite OnTap version?

This is an interesting question lately because the multiple releases of version 7 and all the patches remind many users of the updates of MS Vista. According to this article MicroSoft is letting folks downgrade to XP from Vista.

Here is an article on this new MS policy:

"While Microsoft is still pushing Vista hard, the company is quietly allowing PC makers to offer a "downgrade" option to buyers that get machines with the new operating system but want to switch to Windows XP....

"The program applies only to Windows Vista Business and Ultimate versions, and it is up to PC makers to decide how, if at all, they want to make XP available. Fujitsu has been among the most aggressive, starting last month to include an XP disc in the box with its laptops and tablets. "

So what was your favorite OnTap version? Was it stable and secure? Why not let customers choose to stay with an older version of software? Perhaps NetApp can offer older versions for a reduced price, and let the customers who want to be early adopters of new software pay more. Buggy software costs more to support, and therefore NetApp would probably like to charge more for it.

Imagine the conversation over the coffee pot between two storage managers.

Engineer 1 says, " I really liked the old stable versions of Ontap that ran on the Alpha chip systems."
Engineer 2 says, " I really like the challenge of debugging software with NetApp engineering so I just paid more to be a guinea pig testing the new software."

I wonder if a storage manager values stability more than all the new features.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is IBM thinking outside the box?

Which will generate more revenue in a free software world - hardware services or software services?

The recent announcement that they will join the open office movement and dedicate 35 engineers to the project requires one to ask where is the revenue going to come from to pay for this model. Is IBM considering giving away the software but charging for remote hosting of documents? This seems to be what Google is getting into.

See here about IBM ...

"Implementing the XML based file and display formats of the ISO standard Open Document Format (ODF) specification, Lotus Symphony will be based upon software written by the Open Office coalition, which IBM has joined along with Sun, Google and others. Last week IBM announced that it has dedicated 35 developers to contributing code to Open Office."

It looks like IBM is trying to break Microsoft's Vendor Lock in

"By joining Sun and Google to develop and promote open source software products implementing ODF, IBM adds welcome resources and marketing power to lure users away from the high costs and vendor lock-in of Microsoft Office.

IBM executives compare its ODF initiative with the support it gave to the open source system Linux by promoting its use in corporate data centers, support that helped make Linux very successful over the last several years."

Does anyone know if Google uses IBM storage on their pay for storage solutions?

See here...
"Google suddenly began offering upgrade plans beginning at $20 per year for 6 extra gigabytes. Not quite in the nick of time and not exactly free, but I'll take it."

Do you think the marketers at IBM are thinking about giving away their storage software if you purchase their hardware? Sort of like the Razor blade model of revenue, give away the shaver and charge for the blades.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Is this strategic thinking?

In 2005 NetApp instituted its hard deck program, and now in 2007 NetApp is instituting a new Foundation for its sales program. It looks pretty much like the old program to me.

In 2005
"Besides its channel programs, NetApp will soon introduce new channel-specific product bundles, including its first iSCSI bundle and an upgrade to its Fibre Channel bundle. The bundles offer good margins without the need for special pricing, Iventosch said."

In 2007
"The first thing that NetApp has done is created a series of base system configurations that reflect more the way people are actually buying and paying for their products, rather than the way most bundles have been created in the past--which usually reflect deals on products that the vendor is trying to move in the absence of real demand. The base configurations are flexible, however in that there are still enough a la carte options to allow the solution provider to order a customized solution without having to haggle over every unique element of the bundle."

It shouldn't be a surprise that NetApp resellers want to make a reasonable profit on their services, it seems that resellers were trying to make a profit two years ago with NetApp products and they are still struggling to make a profit.

See here...
"When you put all this together, Ivantosch appears to be doing something radical in the channel. He's trying to make NetApp a pleasure to do business with in the channel. Time will tell if he's successful, but after years of watching vendors consistently fail to create programs that enhance the business models of their partners, the NetApp approach is a refreshing change."

What is a surprise is that NetApp considers renaming their programs and using different words is somehow considered a radical change in Silly Con Valley.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Go fast, turn left. Rare Bear Wins!

Last week I was visiting customers on the west coast and then went out to the Reno Air Races. A few of our customers attended the races also, and we had great time. Reno is great, there is no other way to describe it.

During the week I heard from several customers that they are starting to implement the Sun Thumper storage platform for their NFS operations. It is affordable and seems to meet many of their requirements. One customer said he liked the platform except for the weight of the unit when it is fully configured with drives. It comes in at about 200 lbs, so he is only planning on putting four units in a rack. The Thumper is loud, at least as loud as a F760 with the old FC8 or FC9 shelves, maybe a little louder and they draw about 4 amps per unit it seems.The thumper this customer has can deliver about 12 TB usable storage as configured with 750GB drives. One outstanding issue is that as configured it does not serve CIFS yet unless he mounts SAMBA, but it was a very interesting visit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Do you want your storage vendor to be proactive or retroactive?

According to this article NetApp is trying to be retroactive...

"Once up and running, there's a Storage Availability Audit service. The retroactive audit makes sure customers are making use of the availability features built into the systems."

Does the retroactive audit simply provide data for a ' root cause analysis' review? Does NetApp have any tools that could help predict oncoming problems?

At another point in the same article I learned that the FAS2000 series is low priced and runs a lot of storage. I think this is the same unit that uses the Intel Mobile Celeron for its processor, which I learned from a NetApp customer who told me, but that is not mentioned in the article.

"Similar to NetApp's FAS200 product line, the new FAS2000 series is designed as a low-to-mid-end storage appliance, but still sports some high end features and protocols."

The jury of my peers is still pondering whether the Mobile Celeron is enough processor for the enterprise storage market. I suppose that the early adopters will be able to tell us soon enough.

It looks like NetApp is pricing the 2000 series products at the same price levels as their storevault product, does that make any sense?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two tech companies with executives that play a lot of golf seem to be at war, maybe their CEO's avatars can play Bocce together to settle their differences?

In an ironic twist of fate, two companies that are well represented in most of the data centers we work with are getting tangled up in a legal fight over patents and technical innovation. IMHO the only winners in this battle will be the attorneys because the customers of each company don't want to take sides, they just want their data center to deliver high availability access to their data resources. The risk of boffins at Sun and NetApp implementing proprietary protocols and locks to prevent interoperability between Sun equipment and NetApp equipment is a scary thought to many data center managers.

I hope that these companies can settle their differences quickly and amicably, because there are many new players in the enterprise storage marketplace that may come to market with a disruptive technology which inevitably will hurt both Sun and NetApp. Additionally NetApp's customers, employees, stockholders, integrators and resellers may get pulled in to this by being forced to take sides and make recommendations based on legal ramifications rather than on technical grounds.

Chris Mellor of techworld has an excellent article on the subject, and it seems that he is as surprised by this as I am.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We’ve moved!

For the last 8 years we have been in the center of Newark, DE, where the University of Delaware is located. We loved the location, but we outgrew our building and decided to move. We found our new building in January and just completed our move to 707 Kirkwood Highway in Wilmington, Delaware . Our new building is almost three times the size of our old one, and we were able to increase the footprints of our Data Center, production and storage facilities. Additionally, we substantially improved our offices and phone systems.

Moving from a University town to a commercial area has lots of advantages. It is easier for delivery vehicles to get in and out of our building, and we have more parking available for our staff and visitors. But we will miss the college town atmosphere.

Thanks to you, our customers, our business has been steadily growing, and our new facility will allow us to increase our staffing and inventory levels to continue our growth while providing you with the outstanding customer service levels you have come to expect from Zerowait.

I want to thank you for the confidence and repeat business that has allowed us to grow into this new building. We really appreciate the opportunities that you have given us.

Here is our new contact information:

Zerowait Corp.
707 Kirkwood Hwy.
Wilmington, DE 19805
Phone 302.996.9408
Fax 302.994.4302

Our toll free numbers remain the same:

Sales: 888.811.0808
Tech Support: 888.850.0808

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sun has a new plan, but can they execute on it any better now than they did in the past?

Sun wants to dis-integrate storage industry

"Sun is hatching a plan it hopes will literally disintegrate the storage industry by removing the value that comes from integrating software and hardware into storage appliances.

Joe Heel, Senior Vice President of Sun's Global Storage Practice told TechTarget ANZ that: "In general computing, value stack has unbundled the different pieces of computing like the CPU, the operating system and applications. This has commoditised some components and elevated the important of the operating system."

"In storage this has not happened," leaving storage dominated by business models Heel likened to computing businesses from the mainframe era in which vendors provided all of the technology in their products. That dominance was famously undone as minicomputers and eventually PC-based systems mixed and matched components from different sources, a trend that gave rise to the Wintel hegemony.

Sun believes that today, the likes of EMC and NetApp are similar to mainframe providers and therefore susceptible to a new approach.

"In storage we want to drive this unbundling," Heel said. "The intent is 'de-mainframising' of storage."

The company's first attempt at this project so will be an open source network attached storage (NAS) device due in early 2008."

Most of the customers we do business with have a substantial amount of Sun equipment in their infrastructures. If Sun can clearly differentiate why their storage is now better, cheaper or able to provide a longer term ROI, perhaps some customers will delve into their storage platforms.

However, Sun has a reputation for being difficult to deal with, just like the storage competitors they are targeting. It is very hard to change a business model, it will be interesting to watch what happens.