Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NetApp and Data Domain

Over the last week many people have asked my opinion of this acquisition. I was not surprised that NetApp purchased Data Domain, I know quite a few former NetApp folks who work there, and it will be interesting to see how they are re integrated into the NetApp fold. I think Ken Hibbard is perhaps the most senior former NetApp employee to be rejoining the company .

From Hoovers. com Mr Hibbard comes to Data Domain from Network Appliance, where he was vice president of product engineering. He has joined Network Appliance in 1998 and was named vice president of software development in February of 2000. In January of 2001, he became vice president of product development and East Coast operations.

It looks as if the Data Domain folks understand the NetApp product development cycle and therefore may be able to integrate their products into the NetApp Line card a lot quicker than the Spinnaker products have been integrated. I certainly hope that the integration of Data Domain's customers and employees works out better for them than the Topio acquisition did for their customers and employees.

NetApp is closing down its Snap Mirror for Open Systems product, which came as the main part of its $160 million Topio acquisition.

Topio was bought in November, 2006, and its main product was an any-source-to-any-destination replication product called the Topio Data Protection Suite.

According to an article in CXO

... Data Domain lacks the customer base of large vendors and has been facing market challenges competing against Quantum.

In today's environment customers are looking for the best value they can get for their storage dollar. The question will be if NetApp can sell Data Domain products at an aggressive enough price point, after paying such a premium for the company?

Over the next few months it will be interesting to see if NetApp can integrate Data Domain offerings into their product line and execute a sales strategy that works better than their recently ended Storevault strategy did.

6:31 PM EST Tue. Feb. 03, 2009 NetApp has quietly decided to kill its line of storage appliances for SMBs, a move which caused mixed feelings in the storage vendor's solution provider community. NetApp told some users and partners that it has decided to end the availability of its S550 platform, which was the last product in its StoreVault line of appliances. NetApp unveiled its StoreVault line in May of 2006 as a way of entering the SMB market.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Impressions from the EMC World show

The EMC World show was great. From a trade show marketing point of view it was probably one of the best shows we have ever attended. The attendees understood the storage industry and were looking for answers to their storage and budget issues. We saw many of our old friends within the industry and a few of our customers at the show.

The EMC folks put together a well organized and smoothly run trade show.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

EMC world day one

The first day of the show at EMC world was really great. Our trade show booth was busy the whole time, and there were a lot of folks that really were happy to see us there. We saw quite a few of our customers from business and government. There were a lot of surprised looks and comments from folks who wanted to know what Zerowait was doing at the EMC show. But once we explained why we were there it made sense. NetApp legacy equipment support makes sense to a lot of customers with mixed EMC and NetApp environments.

I was really surprised by how many of the attendees were from overseas, this is really a great show.

Friday, May 15, 2009

EMC WORLD Next week

Next week Zerowait will be exhibiting at EMC World in Orlando at booth 149. It is going to be a great trade show and we are looking forward to seeing many of our customers and friends there. Even in the tough economic environment we are experiencing the EMC show is drawing a lot of customers. This should not be that surprising since it is really one of the only targeted events for folks in the big storage business.

We hope to see you at the show.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Are Dot Hill's shipments hurting Xyratex sales

Many years ago NetApp purchased their disk arrays from a company called Eurologic. These arrays known as the NetApp FC7, FC8 and FC9 were quite reliable and Eurologic was working on a new set of arrays when Xyratex came out with a variant of their RS1600 with 14 disks for NetApp. These disk arrays known to NetApp customers as the DS14 have been quite reliable and Xyratex has been selling quite a few of them.

NetApp has been looking to cut costs though and Dot Hill came in with a product that is significantly cheaper than the DS14 variants. According to Dot Hill:.

Pursuant to our Development and OEM Supply Agreement with NetApp, we are designing and developing general purpose disk arrays for a variety of products to be sold under private label by NetApp. We began shipping products to NetApp under the agreement for general availability in the third quarter of 2007, and net revenue from NetApp increased significantly during 2008.

In this tough market NetApp is going to have to find significant ways to cut its costs on hardware sales. I have heard rumors of a significant scaling back of NetApp Sales Engineers in the field. This will be a pity, since NetApp has some of the finest field engineers in the industry. In my opinion, if they cut back on their service and support there is not much to differentiate NetApp from every other hardware company. This may cause NetApp sales to erode further over time.

If NetApp sales are down, that would mean that Xyratex sales are down, and if Dot Hill is the new low cost vendor to NetApp it would be a double hit to Xyratex gross revenue numbers. The Xyratex folks were a loyal vendor to NetApp, I hope things turn out well for them over time.

I'll bet someone is pitching a cheaper array to NetApp to take Dot Hill's place currently.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A sense of humor

Many times a day we get to laugh with our customers over something that happens or an interesting turn of a phrase in a piece of marketing material or in press release. Sometimes people send us an email with a funny turn of a phrase and today we got a good one.

"We have received a support renewal quotation from NetApp at post-warranty rates and fell off our chairs. (Have you heard this story before?) "

NetApp builds great products, and they are very reliable. But NetApp is a box selling company and not a service and support company. Therefore, NetApp needs to keep renewal support quotes high to incentivize customers to purchase new equipment. There is nothing wrong with that business model, and over the years it has worked very well for NetApp and most of their customers. But there are customers who value longevity in high availability product support, and that is where Zerowait shines. If NetApp customers are happy with their equipment and don't want to buy the latest model, we provide them with legacy service and support at a very reasonable price point.

It is a really simple value proposition for most folks to understand.... if you are happy with what the equipment you have, we will provide you support at a price that will keep you happy. Even in today's budget constrained situations we can help you stay seated on your chairs.