Thursday, December 22, 2011

EMC drive shortage and price increase

The uncertainty surrounding the enterprise disk marketplace seems to be causing EMC to mention that it has a disk shortage and there will be a price increase. Dave Raffo in his blog has the following interesting information:

EMC vice chairman Bill Teuber sent an email to customers and partners stating the vendor has eaten price increases so far, but will begin to pass them along to customers after this month. He also wrote that EMC does not expect supply problems because it is the largest vendor of external storage systems, but it has to pay more for the available drives.

“EMC has absorbed the price increases that have been passed on to us and will continue to do so through the end of the month,” Teuber wrote. “Unfortunately we will not be able to sustain that practice. Beginning in Q1 2012 we will be increasing the list price of hard disk drives up to 15% for an indefinite period of time. While we hope that this increase is temporary, at this time we cannot forecast how long the flooding in Thailand will impact HDD [hard disk drive] pricing.”

Another email Teuber sent to EMC personnel said the price increases will be from 5% to 15%. He also wrote the increases will apply to all EMC product lines.

The shortage is expected to affect PC drives more than enterprise drives, but EMC enterprise storage rival NetApp lowered its revenue projection last month because of expected shortages.

Teuber referred to NetApp indirectly in his email, stating “Many of our competitors have already announced drive shortages and price increases and have stated that this will have a material impact on their ability to hit revenue expectations now and in the future.”

Zerowait has been experiencing an uptick in our array shelf and disk storage sales over the last few weeks, but we thought it had to do with the great prices we are now offering on some of our storage specials. But the upward trend in our storage sales business could be because we have a lot of stock which we can ship immediately, while the OEM's may be allocating disks based on their own supply calculations.

We had a great year in 2011, and we are looking forward to next year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

No Disk Shortage at Zerowait!

Yesterday afternoon I had a long conversation with a customer of ours in California that told me that they were looking at some new NetApp storage equipment, but were told by their Salesperson that the floods in Thailand have rippled through NetApp's supply chain and that NetApp could not guarantee a delivery time frame. This was predicted by NetApp and discussed by Thomas Georgeons:

"Looking ahead, the impact of the Thailand flooding can potentially be the biggest swing factor on both our top and bottom line in the second half. The large buyer drives we did, as this was all unfolding, should sustain us through a good part of Q3 but probably not all of it. Although enterprise class drives are considered to be the least impacted, we still anticipate some amount of supply and pricing complexity. We have all heard the predictions of the industry analyst and the drive vendors themselves. Some of the information is conflicting and most of it is changing daily in regards to scope and ultimate impact."

We are working with this customer and several others to help them get through their end of year storage requirements with transferable licensed filers, and shelves of disks that we have in stock and ready for shipment.

We want to help loyal NetApp customers maintain their equipment, and we can help them grow their NetApp infrastructure even during the disk shortage. If you need storage during the shortage, please give us a call at one of our international offices .

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Economic Uncertainty? Zerowait’s NetApp support business is booming

2011 Is shaping up to be the best year ever for Zerowait’s independent NetApp support business. We have already surpassed last year’s sales of our Zerowait Parts Assurance contracts on NetApp equipment from our offices in the USA, UK, and Australia. We expect to see our growth continue next year due to economic uncertainty. At Zerowait we understand that our customers are under severe budget pressure to control their storage infrastructure costs, and with our customers help we have come up with several support programs which help our customers control their NetApp storage growth and support costs.

Recognizing that post warranty support and extending time in service for systems reduces new unit sales, I am occasionally asked by storage analysts focused on NetApp how much of an effect Zerowait has on NetApp’s new product sales. I don’t believe there is any way to calculate how many NetApp customers have put off a system upgrade due to Zerowait’s support in any single period. However, over the last decade Zerowait has built a dynamic, thriving, international business in third party support for NetApp equipment. And our customers in the financial, entertainment, health and government sectors throughout the world continue to recommend our company to their peers.

Whether you need an additional storage shelf, transferable licensed system, or a support contract, Zerowait will work with you to meet your support and budget requirements.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Zerowait SimplStor – Affordable Disaster Prevention

Over the years I have advocated that organizations embrace a Disaster Prevention model instead of a Disaster Recovery model. Using server load balancers and some multiple MX records it is relatively easy to create a high availability web presence. Creating a high availability solution for the critical data behind the firewall is also getting easier as disk capacity and network bandwidth increase. Using legacy high availability equipment provides an easy second tier solution and based on the response of our customers, Zerowait’s SimplStor is a great tier three solution for tape replacement.

The European division of EMC has a pdf available that illustrates the issues surrounding Disaster Preparedness.

Across Europe, 49% of companies are obligated by either insurance policies or regulatory requirements to have a disaster recovery plan. However, with the right backup and disaster recovery approach, companies can achieve cost-savings from insurers. Just over a quarter of the organisations surveyed were offered reduced premiums by their insurance provider depending on their IT systems backup/disaster recovery strategy.

Unraveling tape: 40% still depend on tape
but majority are looking to replace it
The research found that businesses are spending, on average, 10% of their IT budgets on backup and recovery, and 29% of businesses do not feel they are spending enough. For backup and disaster recovery purposes, 40% of companies still rely on tape, with an average annual cost of €74,000 on transporting, storing, testing and replacing tapes. Where tape is used for disaster recovery purposes, 10% still have an employee take home a copy of the backup tapes with them.

Overall, 80% of organisations using tape are looking to move beyond it, with the top reasons cited as:

Speed of restoration 39%
Faster backups 33%
Lack of durability 26%

EMC has done a service to the industry with this report, and it highlights the costs and problems very well. If you think the costs of an EMC solution exceed your budget I hope you will consider Zerowait’s solutions. We can provide your organization an affordable alternative for your Disaster Recovery plan in Europe, Australia, or the USA.

Friday, November 18, 2011

SC11 - NetApp Transferable License specials

This week I was at the Supercomputer show in Seattle visiting with our customers and friends. I ran into people Zerowait has been doing business with all over the show floor and it was hard to walk down an aisle without bumping into someone I knew. Repeatedly, I heard about how our customers and friends were having a hard time coping with expanding storage requirements and shrinking storage budgets.

Based on the conversations I had at the show on Tuesday, I emailed back to our office and the marketing department created a special based on the transferable licensed filers that we have available, and distributed it on Wednesday. The customer response to the specials has been enthusiastic and many of our customers want expedited delivery and installation.

If you are looking for an affordable NetApp Filer with transferable licenses please call one of our international offices to discuss you exact configuration requirements and the delivery schedule you require. Whether your company is forecasting a great 2012 or looking at how to muddle through, Zerowait can help your organization get the enterprise class NetApp storage you need at a price your management can't ignore.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Three cheers for an affordable three tiers

The path to a successful storage archive solution should not start with a Root Cause Analysis. Looking back and pointing fingers is often the easiest path to take, but reviewing your storage strategy and current infrastructure may reveal a very easy and affordable data protection strategy. Archiving to tape is a great solution but it is not a 100% solution; tapes get lost, data gets corrupted and often there is an expensive time lapse between a discovery of data loss and its recovery. Keeping all of your data on tier (1) arrays is expensive and does not make sense for rarely accessed data. Thanks to our customers’ requests for an affordable end to end solution, Zerowait now has a complete storage solution for customers who love their Filers and are looking to get rid of their tape headaches.

Many of our NetApp customers would like to use NetApp equipment as their tier (2) storage, since it allows them to use the same interface and tools on their tier (1) storage, minimizing management issues, but the cost of new systems is too high to make this work. For these customers Zerowait provides readily available off-lease NetApp systems with transferable licenses to build affordable tier (2) storage solutions. Many customers locate these systems in remote back-up sites, and our customers snap mirror updates between their Tier (1) NetApp systems and off lease NetApp tier (2) systems to achieve a reliable archive strategy.

The next tier for many customers has been tape, but quite a few of our customers have decided that they are tired of the warehousing headaches and rush delivery costs of their tape archives and want to reduce their tape costs and frustrations. They are replacing all or most of their tape with Zerowait’s SimplStor for tier (3) archival storage. Using NetApp’s tools, our customers can mirror their data between NetApp filers in multiple locations and then copy the data to a SimplStor tier (3) archive using standard software tools. SimplStor costs about the same as tape, but provides instant access when there is the requirement for a quick restoration of data.

Zerowait‘s customers around the world are able to satisfy their requirements for an affordable high reliability storage strategy. Our customers have embraced a strategy of data tiering strategy using new NetApp equipment for tier (1) highly accessed data, off lease Filers for tier (2) and remote mirrors, and SimplStor for tier (3) archival storage requirements. If you have chosen NetApp for your tier (1) storage, why not use transferable licensed NetApp equipment your tier (2) storage? It is an obvious cost effective solution. Our customers in the Animation, Science and Petrochemical business helped us design SimplStor and now are our biggest customers for the product. They knew they needed a reliable tier (3) solution and they recognized that Zerowait could provide the enterprise support they required. Thanks to our customers‘ ideas Zerowait now provides high reliability hardware, service and support for all three tiers of enterprise data. Please contact us if you want to discuss how Zerowait can provide your organization outstanding Quality of Service at a reasonable price.

Monday, November 07, 2011

November Storage Clearance

Many of our customers are at the end of their budget cycle and asked us to help them get the storage they need at a price they can afford before the new year. We put together these specials to help our customers weather the economic storms. It certainly seems that whether the economy is going up or down storage demand continues to grow.

Zerowait will be attending the Super Computer Show in Seattle next week. We will be visiting with many of our Animation and Big Science customers. We hope to see you there.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Zerowait begins building a channel organization

Wilmington, DE (PRWEB) November 01, 2011

Zerowait Hires Lauren Lueders as Director of North American Channel Sales -Increasing Demand for Low Cost Archive Prompts Move into channel

"Our reseller partners need to be able to offer their customers total solutions that help solve critical business needs. Cost and support are two of the most critical components, and SimplStor delivers"

Zerowait today announced the appointment of Lauren Lueders as Director of North American Channel Sales, responsible for creating and rolling out channel sales for the SimplStor product line in the US and Canada. With extensive experience gained over the last 17 years bringing new and exciting storage products to market, Lauren last worked with Syncsort developing their South Central territory. Prior to Syncsort, Lauren worked with Pillar Data Systems, Dell, EqualLogic and Avnet in various channel sales management roles.

Mike Linett, President of Zerowait said, “We are very excited to have Lauren join our management team; her mission is to create a SimplStor channel that will provide excellent earnings for our partners and outstanding value to their customers. SimplStor’s combination of open source/off the shelf low cost storage with tier one support offers our customers tremendous value. SimplStor's growth in the marketplace has been steady and strong since we introduced the product line in 2010. To better service all of our customer requests for SimplStor Lauren will be building the SimplStor channel from the ground up with select partners offering the highest levels of integrity and customer service."

Ms. Lueders added, “Over the past two decades I have worked closely with reseller partners helping them build profitable storage practices with solid product offerings. I joined SimplStor because I saw a tremendous need for low cost archival storage solutions that still provide Tier one, world class service. In today’s economy, organizations are being forced to do so much more with so much less, and storage requirements continue to grow exponentially. Our reseller partners need to be able to offer their customers total solutions that help solve critical business needs. Cost and support are two of the most critical components, and SimplStor delivers.”

About Zerowait: Headquartered in Wilmington, Del., USA, and with offices around the world, Zerowait is the worldwide leader in independent service and support of NetApp filers. Zerowait solutions include off-lease fully licensed NetApp systems and the new Zerowait SimplStor line of single-name space archive storage. Storage administrators throughout the world rely on Zerowait to provide affordable solutions to the skyrocketing costs of data storage.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another day in DC

Even the government can save money
Even the government can save money!

Last week we went to DC to meet with a few clients who are looking to expand their Data Storage without busting their budgets. We discussed how Zerowait helps organizations around the world with our legacy service for NetApp equipment and also the ins and outs of acquiring NetApp systems with transferable licenses. One of our Federal clients is very interested in our SimplStor products for their on line archives and tier 2 /3 storage.

Many Federal departments and agencies are Zerowait customers. And it was really fun to go to the Pentagon!

Saving the government money is everyone's business.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How are you going to reduce your Storage Costs?

Our customers are telling us every week that they want to simplify their data storage and network infrastructures. Overwhelmingly they feel that the best way to accomplish a reduction in complexity is by removing pretentious proprietary software and hardware vendors from their supported systems. They need to reduce costs without affecting their high reliability data access. Is it possible to reduce costs while data storage and content delivery requirements continue to grow?

When it comes to storage most organizations find out fairly quickly that the vast majority of their data has not been accessed in the past 90 days, and much of it has not been looked at in over a year. Executives are asking their IT staff’s “Why is this storage being kept on the most expensive storage in the organization?” Before the 2008 Financial Panic the answer was typically “It is easier to keep all storage on the primary disk although it is expensive, we require less staff.” In technology simplicity often trumps cost and when times are good no one was looking at their marginal cost of storage for secondary, tertiary and dead data. Putting everything on your recently purchased EMC or NetApp storage solution made things easy. But technology has moved on, multi vendor storage maintenance, interoperability, and support is not as complex as it was just a couple of years ago. As many of our customers have suffered staff reductions, Zerowait is now helping them manage their storage infrastructures and helping them retain the high availability they need at a cost they can afford.

Can your organization easily reduce the cost and complexity of your data storage assets and infrastructure? There are plenty of alternatives available now that will allow you to reduce the cost of your archival storage. Clearly all organizations view their storage assets differently based on history, experiences, and cost. There have been plenty of books, and hundreds of articles written on data storage classifications, and I am certain there will be many more written.

I think everyone can agree that organizations have multiple tiers of storage, although they classify them very differently. Whether you are looking to cut your costs by using cloud storage providers, outsourcing, off shoring, or a managed service provider, there is one thing you must be certain of, your organization absolutely must have access to your data storage assets to succeed. Without data access your organization won’t have the competitive edge it needs to survive in the global marketplace.

Zerowait can help your organization classify your data, reduce your costs, and maintain high availability data access.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Storage solutions for tight budgets

Zerowait has a tremendous stock of NetApp equipment in our warehouses across the globe and this month we are featuring several specials from our NetApp inventory and also on our SimplStor product line. Please click on the image below for more information on the products featured this month.

October's Storage Savings

Monday, October 03, 2011

Intersting Oracle ZFS press release

The Oracle Trade show is this week in San Francisco and NetApp is a Premier sponsor of the show. I'll bet the Oracle Press release is making for some interesting conversations with customers at the NetApp booth.

"Oracle's Sun ZFS Storage 7420 Appliance delivered 2x the performance
at less than half the cost per SPC-1 IOPS of NetApp's FAS 3270A on the
SPC-1 benchmark (1)."

I made a collage of the different images available on the Web about the press release and the show.

interesting times

If Oracle's ZFS solutions are truly 1/2 the cost and offer twice the performance of NetApp's current systems I believe that many NetApp customers will be forced to review their IT storage budgets. Our customers include many budget minded IT staffs that use Oracle on NetApp equipment that Zerowait supports and this announcement will certainly get their attention.

NetApp equipment has many features that make their storage equipment versatile and reliable. One reason for Zerowait's continued growth in the NetApp service business is because our customers like the reliability of NetApp, but not the cost of upgrading their equipment on a three year cycle. Zerowait offers these customers an affordable high availability way to extend the life cycle of their NetApp equipment.

If Oracle begins to offer trade in incentives to Oracle users who migrate their storage off NetApp gear I think Oracle will get some good traction in the marketplace.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Zerowait turned the model upside down

Over the last two weeks I was traveling around the USA visiting customers in NV, TX, AZ, and CO. It is a lot of fun to visit with customers and hear them tell me how Zerowait has made their storage management and maintenance tasks easier and more affordable. As regular readers know, Zerowait has specialized in the niche of NetApp legacy support for almost ten years and we have been working with NetApp equipment since 1998. Over the years we have built up a large and loyal customer base, and now our NetApp support customers are adding our SimplStor product line to their Storage infrastructure on an ever increasing basis.

Last week I was meeting with a customer in the Phoenix, AZ area and he told me that their storage budget for 2012 already includes Zerowait's legacy support for their NetApp equipment and a SimplStor for tape replacement.

I was in Denver, Colorado talking to a customer earlier this week and he said that "Zerowait has turned the storage model upside down." We laughed about that comment and I asked him to explain why he said that. From our customer's point of view Zerowait is a service company and the introduction of a hardware platform by a service company is unique. I doubt if it is unique, but it is unusual.

SimplStor is the culmination of conversations with our customers who wanted a long term, reliable, storage solution that did not lock them into the proprietary vendor's upgrade cycle. By using high reliability proven commercially available components and best of breed open source software we created a storage platform that answers the needs of our international customers.

Before the rush at SEGWhether I was talking to customers on an individual basis or in groups at the SEG show in San Antonio, our customers were enthusiastic about our company, services and products.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Delaware's Governor visits Zerowait!

Governor Markell Visits Zerowait
Governor Markell Visits Zerowait

Delaware's Governor Markell visited Zerowait's HQ today to learn more about our NetApp Storage support , technology, and our fast growing SimplStor product line. We discussed the amount of international business we do and how we are growing our business even in these difficult Economic times through our focus on our international market niche. The Governor's team was interested in our technology and services and in particular how Zerowait can help the big banks that are located in Delaware save money on their storage infrastructure as their storage requirements continue to grow.

Governor Markell's team highlighted how Delaware has a great location midway between DC and New York and they were impressed how a company started in Delaware has grown into an international business, and liked the fact that Zerowait's Delaware built products were being used in the Australian VFX business.

It was great having the Governor visit our facility today.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Storage Industry Consolidation Continues

Storage Industry Consolidation Continues

I read an article today that BluArc was purchased by HDS. We have several customers in the Media and entertainment businesses that have some BluArc in their storage environments.

“TOKYO | Thu Sep 8, 2011 1:30am EDT

(Reuters) – Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) said on Thursday it has bought struggling California-based network storage company BlueArc Corp in an all-cash transaction after a five-year OEM partnership, in the latest such move to take advantage of the yen’s strength.

Hitachi did not reveal the cost of the acquisition, but Japan’s Asahi newspaper said it was about $500-600 million.”

It will be interesting to see what Hitachi does with the product line and the support of the product over the next few years. The acquisition highlights another reason why our customers who worked with us on the development of Zerowait’s SimplStor product line were emphatic in their desire that we build and support an open source non proprietary Operating System and File System as primary features and benefits of SimplStor. Our customers understand that the expense and maintenance of Proprietary Operating Systems and File Systems adds to their costs. What seems like a great feature in a proprietary software or firmware can become a liability when the code is no longer supported.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Storage support growth

I saw an interesting article today written by Chris Mellor in which he speculates on why NetApp’s market share may be declining.

Firstly, NetApp has slipped from second to third place in the rankings compared to the previous quarter. It had a 13.5 per cent share then but has only 12.8 per cent now; whereas IBM, with whom it has changed places, has grown from a 12.2 per cent share to a 13.7 per cent one.

It is not a significant change as yet, but as the article explains it is an interesting one. Coincidentally, Zerowait is experiencing a significant increase in our NetApp support service and support contracts and many of our new customers are turning away from NetApp support and upgrades because they don’t see the value add in NetApp’s forced upgrades anymore.

As the overall macro economy continues to wobble, we see more and more customers looking to conserve cash. Zerowait provides two easy ways for NetApp’s customers to conserve their IT budget dollars.

First Zerowait’s NetApp support provides our customers a simple way to get continued value out of their aging high availability storage assets. We are still supporting NetApp systems that are over 10 years old and they are still serving data reliably.

Second – Zerowait’s SimplStor product line is being embraced by more and more of our NetApp customers as a complementary and fiscally responsible way to store lower tier data. Many of our customers are keeping tier one data on their NetApp infrastructure but putting tier two and beyond on our SimplStor products.

If you are looking for an alternative to NetApp’s high priced storage products, licenses, and support why not give one of our offices a call to discuss your storage issues and infrastructure. Zerowait’s reliable and affordable alternative solutions have been embraced by companies around the world.

As an added bonus for a limited time we are offering our Exception Reporter for free to help you manage your Filers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What do the best known companies in Oil, Power Tools, & Disk Drives have in common?

They all use Zerowait’s SimplStor products for their fast growing data storage requirements. Storage is growing across all business sectors in response to regulatory requirements and the data retention policies that continue to blossom. These companies all recognize the value of our SimplStor products and enterprise storage services.

Our customers recognize that storage can be easily tiered to help them manage their growing storage costs. Using SimplStor our customers can contain storage costs and maintain their high availability service levels that their corporations require.

SimplStor delivers.

Whether you choose Red Hat or Fedora for the O/S - SimplStor provides reliable, well known architecture. High quality off the shelf hardware means low acquisition costs. And SimplSupport, our integrated monitoring and notification utility, means tier one support, to ensure the reliability you require, while keeping support costs in line. And this simple low cost solution still fits up to 90TB in 4U. SimplStor is the solution to the ever increasing requirements for data retention.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Zerowait's Business is up!

There was an article in Saturday's Wall Street Journal about NetApp and the problems they are having in the Federal space.


Tech investors must be hoping the sector is merely suffering a case of the debt-ceiling sniffles. Unfortunately it may have caught recessionitis.

When storage company NetApp said Wednesday that sales hit a wall in July, it was just the latest to blame the federal government, a huge buyer of tech gear, for slowing sales. Other companies that have cited a stingy Uncle Sam for slower growth include Dell, Cisco Systems, network equipment-makers Brocade Communications and Blue Coat Systems. Hewlett-Packard also cited weak public-sector spending as a reason for its poor outlook.

Some think of NetApp as a canary in the proverbial coal mine since, in August 2007, the company surprised investors by warning of a broad slowdown in orders among big business customers. The recession began a few months later.

Notably, at that time NetApp said that the strongest parts of its business were with the U.S. federal government, as well as Germany and Northern Europe. But this time the public sector, never mind Europe, isn't offering a backstop. Even if business customers have so far held to spending plans, William Blair analyst Jason Ader worries that government austerity will cause ripple effects on private investment as the economy slows.

The federal government isn't the only one cutting back on tech spending. NetApp also said the financial services sector, another huge consumer of tech gear, was broadly weak. That is likely bad news for other tech firms for whom finance companies are key buyers.

NetApp cited the debt ceiling as a reason for the slowdown. So some might argue that because the crisis was resolved, growth will bounce back quickly. The Congressional supercommittee now tasked with deficit reduction might have something to say about that."

NetApp's hardware service and support prices remain high, and we think that is the main reason that more and more Federal NetApp Filers are being put under Zerowait Support.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Can you justify your tape costs anymore?

I’ve noted in recent posts the increasing interest in as a replacement/complement for expensive tape backup systems. At only $20,000 for a base 68TB system, SimplStor makes disk to disk backup a viable alternative to tape. Using SimplStor as a nearstore device, you reduce your backup windows, reduce the number of cartridges you need since your dailies will now be on disk, and unless you need a very old copy, greatly reduce the time and effort to do a restore. Factor in the reduced cost of administration now that far less tape work is being done, and SimplStor quickly pays for itself.

Our staff is putting together a paper on the costs of tape backup, and the early numbers are pretty frightening. It can easily run more than $40,000 per year in admin and consumables to backup less than 10TB of data. Purchasing a SimplStor system vs all those tape cartridges will put money back in your budget, while reducing the complexity and time involved in properly backing up your data.

Now, thanks to our leasing partner, we can make SimplStor even more affordable. You can lease our 68TB SimplStor server for less than $10 per TB per month (SSC-36-68 server, $637.76 per month, 36 month term, $1 buy out). Make it a 250TB system and the cost drops to less than $7.50 per TB per month (1 x SSC-36-68 server, 2 x SSA 45-90 add-on shelves, 248TB, $1857.84 per month, 36 month term, $1 buy out).

Zerowait in the Australian news .....

Zerowait wins at Fuel VFX

Third party NetApp support specialist Zerowait has had a local win, with special effects company Fuel VFX acquiring one of its SimplStor products.

Fuel has worked on films including Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 2 and Thor and, according to the Zerowait blog, uses “…proprietary tiering software developed in house by Fuel VFX, volumes on the 4U, 68TB unit provide nearline access for scripts and a library of film assets. In addition, the SimplStor is used to provide nearstore volumes, reducing the time of the backup window for Flame suites (now disk to disk), with the tape library now attached to the SimplStor.”

The blog quotes Dylan Penhale, Fuel’s Chief Technical Officer, as saying : “We knew SimplStor offered excellent value and density, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised by its performance. Transfers have been faster than we expected, offering better performance for our users and helping to further shrink our backup windows.”

Monday, August 08, 2011

The cost of doing business

As a business owner I am acutely aware of how much it costs to run a business, and that it costs more to hire employees and provide them the benefits they deserve than it used to. Since a lot of our customers are in the Financial and Medical sectors of the economy discussions on the implications of Dodd Frank and the effects of the new medical rules and mandates on the costs of doing business are increasing. I often hear that our customers are being caught between allocating budget money for productive purposes or for mandated regulatory compliance.

In 2008 the Small Business Administration published a study on the cost of compliance with federal regulations:

“The portion of regulatory costs that falls initially on businesses was $8,086 per employee in 2008. Small businesses, defined as firms employing fewer than 20 employees, bear the largest burden of federal regulations. As of 2008, small businesses face an annual regulatory cost of $10,585 per employee, which is 36 percent higher than the regulatory cost facing large firms (defined as firms with 500 or more employees).”

Note that these numbers do not include the cost to meet state, county and municipal regulations and rules.

In these sectors with ever increasing costs, everyone recognizes it’s getting harder to hire and maintain a great staff to maintain their high availability networks and storage infrastructures. We’ve heard from our customers that our low cost systems and support release budget dollars to pay staff and meet the ever increasing costs of maintaining each employee. Now, a growing number of customers are outsourcing their storage administration tasks to Zerowait, avoiding the regulatory burden and costs of hiring additional employees while continuing to provide the data access their customers require.

No matter how the global economy changes there are always going to be reasons for organizations to economize. Zerowait is focused on providing the services and products our customers need at prices that enable them to reach their goals.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Storage solutions for the budget crunch

For most of this week I was visiting clients in North Carolina. Almost all of the clients I met have an expanding storage requirement but a shrinking budget. The chill of austerity has finally hit storage budgets.

Zerowait offers our customers several solutions that help them maintain their current storage and add additional storage even in these difficult economic times.

1) Several of the customers I met this week are using their R200′s, FAS3020′s and FAs3050′s for archiving and are not looking to upgrade, additionally they can’t afford NetApp’s support contracts – which might not even be available after the end of the year fro some systems. Zerowait’s Next Business Day hardware support contracts for NetApp Filers start at just $1500.00/yr and are a viable alternative for customers who are happy with their 32 bit NetApp storage infrastructure.

2) Transferable licenses are a great way to get the NetApp features you need at a price you can afford. Many clients I met with have taken advantage of Transferable Licensed Systems to get the NetApp systems and storage they need at a price that they can afford. Zerowait has a large variety of Transferable Licensed systems available, call our offices in Europe, USA, or Australia if you need an affordable NetApp storage solution quickly.

3) Zerowait’s new SimplStor product line is quickly gaining attention from storage administrators around the world. SimplStor starts at just $20K for 68TB and easily expands to a Petabyte.

If your company is struggling with your storage requirements under a tight budget, Zerowait is the answer!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Zerowait SimplStor installed in Australia

Sydney, Australia (PRWEB) July 25, 2011

Fuel VFX has added Zerowait’s SimplStor NAS archive to its storage architecture. Using proprietary tiering software developed in house by Fuel VFX, volumes on the 4U, 68TB unit provide nearline access for scripts and a library of film assets. In addition, the SimplStor is used to provide nearstore volumes, reducing the time of the backup window for Flame suites (now disk to disk), with the tape library now attached to the SimplStor. Dylan Penhale, Chief Technical Officer, said: “We knew SimplStor offered excellent value and density, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised by its performance. Transfers have been faster than we expected, offering better performance for our users and helping to further shrink our backup windows. ”

Laurence Jones, Managing Director of Zerowait Pty, added: “Fuel VFX is the first of the Australian Digital Effects companies to install SimplStor, but based on conversations we have had with others in this community we know requirements for low cost high capacity disk archive are pressing everyone in media creation. SimplStor’s price/density ratio, with tier one support, makes it an ideal solution for these applications.” Added Mike Linett, President of Zerowait: “We began working with Fuel VFX over a year ago on their Tier One NetApp Storage. With the opening of our Sydney office, they realized we were committed to providing outstanding service in Australia, and their purchase of SimplStor shows their confidence in our ability to provide business critical support.”

SimplStor offers easily extensible NAS disk archive storage for less than the cost of tape. Combined with off lease NetApp systems, enterprise class support and offices in the US, Europe and Australia, Zerowait offers customers worldwide the cost saving solutions they need to meet today’s shrinking IT budgets.

About Zerowait
Headquartered in Wilmington, Del., USA, and with offices around the world, Zerowait is the worldwide leader in independent service and support of NetApp filers. Zerowait solutions include off-lease fully licensed NetApp systems and the new Zerowait SimplStor line of single-name space archive storage. Storage administrators throughout the world rely on Zerowait to provide affordable solutions to the skyrocketing costs of data storage.

About Fuel VFX
Fuel was founded in 2000 with a vision to create a creatively-driven, innovative visual effects studio that could inspire both clients and crew. Fuel offers full-service visual effects, CG animation, design and post-production services, including a unique and dedicated colour-grading suite. Fuel also boasts a senior, international technical team to help solve complex sequences. Feature film credits include COWBOYS & ALIENS, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, THOR, IRON MAN 2, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, THE SPIRIT, THE TREE and AUSTRALIA. Commercial clients include agencies M&C Saatchi, Publicis Mojo, DDB, Clemenger BBDO and Production Companies Good Oil, Plaza, Photoplay, 8 Commercials and The Feds. Following Fuel’s work on THE SPIRIT, the company has continued its work with the legendary Frank Miller on commercials for Gucci fragrances via RSA London. Other credits include commercials for clients such as Toyota, Heineken, Johnson & Johnson, Sony, McDonald’s, BMW, Nissan, Wrigley’s, Canon and Visa.


Read the full story at

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Week in Illinois

I was in Illinois last week visiting with several of our customers and while in Chicago I was parked next to the new Marilyn Monroe Statue. There certainly were a lot of admirers of the statue.

We do a lot of NetApp support business in and around Chicago, and I got to visit with a lot of customers in just a few days. Many of our customers are looking for alternatives to NetApp because they don't have the budgets anymore to afford the upgrade path that NetApp's sales folks are suggesting to them.

With budgets tight, many customers don't want to upgrade to NetApp's 64 bit storage solutions but want to maintain their 32 bit storage. Their storage equipment is highly reliable and with Zerowait's support it remains much more affordable to maintain their legacy NetApp systems than to upgrade and replace them.

I also had several good meetings with customers about our SimplStor storage products. I heard the same type of issues that I heard in Boston a couple of weeks ago about the costs of keeping LTO tape libraries running. Several of the customers I talked to like our SimplStor solutions and think it is the right answer for the times.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Solving tomorrow’s problems

Over the last few years Zerowait’s growth has been fueled by the recommendations and referrals of our customers. This week I was talking to a customer who first contacted us many years ago based on a referral. Like so many network and storage managers he is trying to solve a series of storage infrastructure problems that have accumulated over time due to network and software changes. Each budget cycle he has to choose which service and support packages he can afford within his operations budget, and which items will have to forego support. Some items will be replaced with capital budget items, but those are getting harder to justify and the procurement cycles seem to be getting longer. As everyone in the business understands, providing high availability is difficult under a restricted budget.

Zerowait’s affordable service and support for his NetApp equipment helps stretch his budget to keep other parts of his critical infrastructure under maintenance contracts, but some of the support contract pricing provided by the OEM’s is truly outrageous. His current problem is that they depend on a tape library which was built by an OEM that was purchased by a bigger company, which was then purchased by an even bigger company, and now support pricing has gone through the roof. The latest support quote for his library is more than the original purchase price! Archiving is a requirement, but there is no way to fit that quote into the department’s budget. I suggested that he consider a SimplStor solution to replace the tape library.

SimplStor solves his current tape library support cost problems, and he understands that using open source software means he won’t get locked into the proprietary software support cost spiral that he is constantly fighting with his other storage vendors. We are solving his tape library support problem today, and eliminating a costly software support contract from future budgets.

That’s one reason why our customers keep recommending us.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Alternatives for NetApp legacy support and archival tape costs

I was visiting customers in the New York and Boston areas last week and we were discussing their plans for their storage infrastructure in 2012. We discussed the usual complaints about the high cost of proprietary hardware and software used to manage and maintain their growing storage requirements. But I also heard a lot about and the high cost of tape and archive tape storage.

When visiting with customers it is pretty common to hear complements about how Zerowait’s independent NetApp service and support perfectly fill in the gaps that NetApp leaves with their legacy support policies. NetApp is focused on building and selling new products, and Zerowait concentrates on supporting legacy NetApp equipment. Our business has grown internationally by concentrating on providing storage value into this High Availability niche market.

Last week a majority of the customers that I saw mentioned that they were considering our SimplStor as a complementary storage archive to their LTO tape investments. As I listened to our customers I heard a common theme that Iron Mountain was charging a lot for tape storage. It seems that the point may have been reached where tape storage cost and the SimplStor starting price of $20K for 68TB makes SimplStor as a disk archive a complementary solution to archiving tape. According to one customer I met their ROI for using our SimplStor as a tape replacement was less than 6 months due to the prices of tape library maintenance, cost of tape, and the cost of remote tape storage.

As the overall economy remains in the doldrums many of our customers are looking for affordable alternatives for their secondary and tertiary storage requirements. And it looks like Zerowait has the right solutions for a growing community of enterprise storage users.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Get ready for SEG 2011!

SEG 2011 Show in San Antonia

We are getting ready for the SEG show in September in San Antonio. Last year’s show was really great and we met a lot of our customers there and also learned a lot about the Oil and Gas business.

The Oil and Gas sector of our business has been growing steadily over the years, and it was one of the many reasons that we opened our office in Texas. Folks in the Oil and Gas business need affordable storage, and often in very large amounts, which is why they like our affordable support options for their NetApp legacy equipment. Our SimplStor archival product is also doing well in this sector.

If you are making plans to go to the SEG show and are in the data storage business, I hope you will stop by to visit our booth. We will be introducing some new products there!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Questions to ask before a hardware upgrade

Over the last several weeks a friend of mine has been working his way through a recommendation from his hardware vendor as to whether he should upgrade his storage hardware and software. He is being cautious because he has done upgrades before and found that sometimes he gets only some of the benefits that his vendors' Analysts, Engineers and Sales teams have promised. Sometimes upgrading has made his storage infrastructure less efficient by his internal metrics and he does not want to experience that again.

Discussing the options over the last few weeks we came up with a series of questions he wants his vendors to answer before he upgrades:

1) Does this vendor mandated software or hardware upgrade solve a significant problem that is unlikely to have a patch or repair kit in the near future so that we can maintain our current hardware solution?

2) Is the vendor unbiased in their upgrade recommendation, or is this mandated upgrade a tool for their own revenue enhancement ?

3) Does the vendor mandated solution actually address any systemic issues that we are experiencing?

4) What is the complete range of solutions that can solve our vendor's mandated upgrade, besides the upgrade ? Is "do nothing at all" a viable solution that we could live with?

5) What problems will arise from implementing the vendor's mandated solution? Can we identify all of the problems and costs before we select a solution?

6) Would the vendor's solution solve our problem less expensively than another solution. What are our manpower and additional infrastructure costs if we implement the change?

7) Will implementing the vendors solution cause our users any downtime, or additional manpower after we implement the change?

Most hardware and software vendors concentrate on identifying and providing solutions which selling their products to their customers will solve. That is not the same thing as providing customers solutions to their own storage infrastructure problems.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stagflation Fears and Storage

Over the last few months we have seen an increase in interest in our NetApp support services, and the interest has turned into a lot of new customers and orders. Based on the conversations that our staff has had with our new customers I think there is a combination of reasons for the increase in our business.

First, NetApp is giving their customers End of Life (EOL) notifications on a lot of equipment. For many enterprises upgrading to new 64 bit equipment is not currently an option in their budget plans.

Second, there is fear in the boardrooms of many organizations that we are in an era reminiscent of the 1970's stagflation. One of my friends sent me this link this morning which describes the concerns in his company's executive office well:

"With inflation rising and GDP forecasts continuing to be revised downward, fears of stagflation have crept back into the economy, with the economy hovering in a dangerous position between two possible outcomes: recovery or crash.

Stagflation is a sort of market purgatory, while we wait for one of two possibilities. Either the economy will recover and we’ll have inflation, or the economy will continue to stagnate, and we’ll end up with deflation.

While we will eventually work our way out of stagflation, inflation is hard to maintain if the global economy goes into a slowdown or decline. When the economy does begin to recover, it will bring inflation.

With QE2, Fed Chairman Bernanke has opened Pandora’s box, and once you open the box, it’s hard to control. When the banks start lending again, it will unleash the reserves that the Fed has pumped into the economy and there will be big inflation."

Whether your company is trying to maintain legacy NetApp equipment, or trying to reduce expenditures due to economic fears, Zerowait has affordable solutions for NetApp service and support. Additionally, our SimplStor is a complementary archive storage alternative which starts at just $20,000.00 for 68 TB.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 2011 class

As many of our clients know we occasionally hold training classes for them on issues relating to Filers and storage issues. Above is a class picture of the class that finished today. Our clients asked great questions and we received good comments on our class and a couple of good suggestions on how we can improve it for our next class.

We believe that educating our customers benefits us as much as them, and our customers seem to agree. We learned a lot from this class of customers about the operational and budget issues that affect their storage. An interesting topic in this class and in others we have had is the many different ways that clients handle their primary and archival storage growth.

Our customer students really like our Exception Reporter and told us that it is a great tool for managing their filers. They also really like our SimplStor, in fact, one of our students in this class called a friend of his and now we are quoting his friend's company on a SimplStor.

We will be holding two more classes this year, and one of them will be in our Sydney office.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Still Catching Up

Sydney Opera House top picture, Auckland Harbor bottom picture

I flew back from Sydney on Thursday, and I have been trying to catch up from the trip since I returned. There certainly are a lot of customers in Australia and New Zealand that were happy to talk to us about our Affordable Alternatives to NetApp's service and support, and there was tremendous interest in our SimplStor our complementary archiving solution.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Australia and New Zealand

As many of our customers know I have been traveling in Australia and New Zealand visiting our customers here. Interest in our SimplStor storage products is strong among the media, entertainment, insurance and financial industries of Australia and New Zealand. The media and entertainment business in particular is experiencing growing storage requirements due to the requirements of High Definition and 3D as is highlighted in this article:

* "Data storage is among the fastest growing industries in the world and the segment has witnessed unprecedented activity in terms of M&As over the past year."

* "In recent years the advent of social media and increased user activity on the web has led to rapid increase in digital content creation and sharing, sparking a tremendous rise in demand for data storage."

* "Large Sized 3D Videos and High Resolution Images to Drive Demand"

While storage growth is not as vigorous in the financial and insurance sectors as in the entertainment business, it is still strong for Zerowait due to the requirements for an affordable complementary archive storage solution like SimplStor.

SimplStor is based on our customers' design requirements for a reliable and affordable secondary storage and archival disk solution. Based on the enthusiastic responses we've received from the folks I have been meeting with, I believe we met our customers' requirements.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Cure for NetApp Headaches

Zerowait has been working with NetApp equipment since 1998, and over the years we have diagnosed three common causes for our customers’ headaches:

First - NetApp’s post warranty support is very expensive.

Second- NetApp uses expensive post warranty support to push hardware upgrades too soon – and they are also too expensive and hard to cost justify.

Third – NetApp’s autosupports are difficult to interpret and hard to explain to management.

Working with our clients we have developed treatments to cure these maladies:

First – To solve the headaches caused by out of control NetApp support costs, Zerowait’s customers rely on our ZPA support contracts that start at just $1500/yr. With 24/7 access to engineers, next business day hardware replacement and Exception Reporter monitoring autosupports, our customers tell us the only difference between Zerowait and NetApp is the price. For your mission critical systems, affordable on site spares kits are readily available and provide for immediate replacement of failed components.

Second – To relieve the pain of the migraine caused by NetApp’s prices for storage expansions and upgrades, Zerowait can provide plug and play storage shelves and off lease transferable licensed equipment that is eligible for NetApp support or Zerowait’s affordable alternatives.

Third - Zerowait’s Exception Reporter provides an easy to understand dashboard of capacity and performance that even management can understand! Additionally, Exception Reporter includes a searchable knowledgebase of issues and answers that has been developed over years of working with filers.

For a limited time Zerowait is offering our weekly Exception Reporter for free to the NetApp community. This handy tool will help you diagnose and maintain your high availability storage. Please click on this link to sign up for this great stress reduction tool and reduce your management headaches.

We understand that there are common problems and unique issues which Storage Administrators face on a daily basis. If you would like our help in diagnosing your Filers issues please give us a call at any of our international offices to discuss your problems with one of our technical experts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Enterprise storage that keeps the bean counters smiling!

Over the years since we started selling NetApp equipment in 1998 we learned that the Sys Admins and the Network Admins loved their NetApp equipment. The problem for many of the storage folks was that purchasing new NetApp equipment required justifications and often a large capital expenditure which was hard to acquire from management. Additionally, within a few years of acquisition they faced a forced upgrade or high annual support costs for their NetApp legacy equipment. Both options create difficult choices for many Storage Administrators, most of whom don't enjoy writing budget proposals or costs justification.

In 2002, we answered many of our customers questions and concerns about the high cost of Legacy NetaApp support when we introduced our independent enterprise level service and support for NetApp equipment at a very reasonable price point. Yearly service contracts start at just $1500.00/yr USD. Since 2002, our business has grown into an international business supporting filers all over the world from our offices in the USA, UK and Australia mostly by word of mouth references and referrals.

In 2008 we began to hear from our customers that they needed an enterprise archive solution that was affordable, reliable, easily scalable, and built to last for the long term without the 2 to 3 year forced upgrade that NetApp seems to favor. Working with our customers through 2009 we designed a storage solution that could provide them a PetaByte of storage that would help keep their bean counters smiling in the back offices.

We began selling our SimplStor in 2010 and we are introducing our newest release of the product in June. And just like last year's version, we have customers who have ordered the product for delivery already and we have our first installation scheduled for early June with an international client.

For 2011, we increased our SimplStor density and performance, and upgraded the File System while keeping our price point low and easy to understand. The base head includes 68TB of storage and lists for $20,000.00 USD, and if you want to add our 90TB shelves the list price is $20,000. SimplStor is simple to install, simple to expand, includes one year of parts replacement and meets the price point that our customers requested.

Our customers depend on their NetApp equipment, and with Zerowait support they can continue to use it for their primary storage. With SimplStor our customers now have a complimentary option for their NetApp primary storage when they need an affordable archive solution for their secodary and tertiary storage requirements.

In addition, when our customers add a F5 ARX switch, they can easily implement a seamless storage tiering and single namespace strategy.

If you are looking for an affordable, reliable and scalable enterprise storage solution, Zerowait has the answer.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Economic conditions and Zerowait's business growth

Zerowait's service and support business has been growing at a brisk pace since the beginning of the year and we attribute that to the hesitance of corporations to invest in capital budget equipment like storage arrays. It seems that our customers are looking for storage solutions that don't require capital budget justifications, reports and signatures.

Zerowait's NetApp support solutions typically fall into our customers operational budgets, and our SimplStor enterprise Storage starts at $20,000 for 68TB which falls within most of our customers OPEX budgets.

Today there was is an article on the CNBC site that discusses the stodgy growth of the US economy and lowered growth estimates.

* U.S. economic growth slowed more than expected in the first quarter as higher food and gasoline prices dampened consumer spending, and sent a broad measure of inflation rising at its fastest pace in 2-1/2 years.

* The Federal Reserve on Wednesday acknowledged the slowdown in first-quarter growth, describing the recovery as proceeding at a "moderate pace"—a slight step back from a statement in March when it said the economy was on a "firmer footing."

* It trimmed its growth estimate for 2011 to between 3.1 and 3.3 percent from a 3.4 to 3.9 percent January projection.

These may be some reasons why many companies are looking to extend the lifespan of their current NetApp storage, or considering switching to our SimplStor arrays.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oil Prices, Supply Disruptions, and Enterprise Storage

The linkages between oil prices and our little niche of enterprise storage may seem obscure, but in a global marketplace a small disruption or price fluctuation can cause unexpected anomalies in the supply chain of energy, production and information storage.

An article in the Financial Times today pinpoints some issues and possible outcomes.

* "Say what you will about the various causes of past U.S. recessions, but economists at HSBC offer a sobering observation. Since the 1970s, a doubling of the real price of oil, which is the oil price relative to overall inflation, within the span of a year has almost always been followed by declining GDP. The two exceptions are the 1990-91 recession, when prices spiked but did not quite double, and 1987, when prices did double, followed by slower growth but no recession. Today, a doubling would require prices to rise to about $150. "

* "Looking across the global economy, separate studies at Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital do not suggest a total derailment of the global recovery, but do imply a serious bout of 1970s-style stagflation, a combination of sluggish growth with high inflation. The Barclays analysts conclude that a rise to $150, if sustained at that level, would cut global growth by about 0.75 percentage points, while adding as much as 3 points to global inflation. Morgan Stanley, using a different approach, would expect a 1 percentage point loss of growth and 1 additional point in inflation as result of oil at $140. The global economy, including fast-growing emerging markets, is generally expected to grow about 4 percent this year; it is said to be in a recession when growth dips below 3 percent."

* "The big worry right now is the combination of inflexible fiscal policy and still-fragile credit markets, say the HSBC analysts, especially in developed economies. Their government budgets are already stretched and unable to offer much support in case of a recession, and their economies may not yet be strong enough to withstand the higher interest rates that central banks might use to keep inflation under control. That means a spike in oil prices could not come at a worse time, and once again the global economy is at the mercy of its oil supplies."

What does this mean for the Enterprise Storage business? It is hard to tell, but if IT folks find their budget tightening, we hope they will consider our affordable support for their NetApp equipment as one way to save on their storage infrastructure.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Xyratex, JapaneseTsunami, and NetApp

We live in a global marketplace and the interruption of supply in Japan can have an effect on the global storage market. How long will it take before the distribution channels and factory inventories get used up is anybody's guess. But the folks at Xyratex have noted that there is a risk of material supply disruptions.

"The level of component supply disruption resulting from the Japanese disaster is not yet fully understood by the wider electronic industry nor the result in potential demand implication for disk drive and other components. Separately, in our Invest business, the acquisition of LSI's Engenio storage division by NetApp should have no material impact to our existing business with NetApp. And in our view potentially strengthens our position as the leading independent OEM provider of enterprise class storage systems in the market. Overall, I remain optimistic with regard to our future growth as a result of all the recent changes in both the markets we serve. We have a strong existing customer base and good opportunity to expand both the depth and breadth within these customers, as well as creating opportunities with new customers in both businesses. "

Additionally, although Xyratex does not seem to see any risk to their business due to NetApp's switching to their own newly acquired hardware division, I suggest they review the history of NetApp and Eurologic.

Will NetApp consider an outside hardware supplier a better and more affordable solution than an internal hardware supplier? It will be interesting to watch what happens. I would imagine that the internal supplier division would have an edge in negotiations.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

What is your filer telling you? Zerowait Exception Reporter knows!

We have received tremendous interest in our Free Exception Reporter over the last few days and a lot of folks have signed up for the service. A longtime customer and friend of ours suggested that we record a short video on the service to help explain it to folks in the NetApp community that are unfamiliar with Exception Reporter.

Here is the link

Monday, April 04, 2011

Free Exception Reporter for Filers!

Zerowait Introduces Free Exception Reporter for NetApp Filers

Analysis Tool Generates Simple, Concise Reports on Data, Capacity, Components

Quote startOur business has grown dramatically and expanded into international markets due in no small part to our paying close attention to the evolving needs of the NetApp communityQuote end

Wilmington, DE (Vocus/PRWEB) April 04, 2011

Zerowait Corporation, the leading provider of independent NetApp support and off-lease systems, today announced its Free Exception Reporter for NetApp filer storage systems. The analysis tool, borne of Zerowait customers’ growing need for a unified reporting solution, provides cost-free “translations” of filers’ auto-support data into concise, easily understood reports that help users optimize management of their NetApp filers’ data, capacity and components.

Zerowait created its original Exception Reporter years ago to both alert Zerowait engineers and notify its clients of any technical issues with their filers and assist them in interpreting their weekly logs. Many NetApp users have mixed service and support environments, in which NetApp supports some filers while Zerowait supports others. Now anyone in the NetApp community can send the weekly logs from their NetApp-supported filers to Free Exception Reporter and receive the same easy to read report.

"Our business has grown dramatically and expanded into international markets due in no small part to our paying close attention to the evolving needs of the NetApp community,” said Laurence Jones, Managing Director of Zerowait Australia. “Providing them with Free Exception Reporter reflects that we listen and respond to their requests, and remain committed to providing the most cost-effective support for their NetApp filers."

"This powerful yet efficient analysis tool is easy to set up; just follow the simple instructions on our Free Exception Reporter webpage,” added David Benner, Engineering Manager at Zerowait. “Once users enroll they’ll receive a weekly email with the Free Exception Reporter analysis of their filers.”

For more information and to register for Free Exception Reporter, go to

Zerowait has offices located in its Delaware headquarters, the United Kingdom and its recently opened facility in Australia. The company’s expansion and dramatic revenue growth in 2010 is attributed to its cost-effective service of post warranty NetApp storage systems, as well as the SimplStor family of integrated storage solutions, which dramatically reduce the acquisition costs of archive storage and virtually eliminate the licensing costs associated with most other archive storage solutions.

About Zerowait
Headquartered in Wilmington, Del., USA, and with offices around the world, Zerowait is the worldwide leader in independent service and support of NetApp filers. Zerowait solutions include off-lease fully licensed NetApp systems and the new Zerowait SimplStor line of single-name space archive storage. Storage administrators throughout the world rely on Zerowait to provide affordable solutions to the skyrocketing costs of data storage.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

NetApp's supply issues

Over the last several weeks I have heard from various customers that NetApp is having a hard time meeting delivery schedules for FAS 3200's and FAS 6200's. This has been good for Zerowait's business since many folks are deciding to increase their storage with equipment from Zerowait which we have in stock.

Additionally, many NetApp customers who are looking for lower cost NetApp solutions that are 64 bit have been asking about the availability of Transferable Licensed 3040's and FAS3070's. There are plenty available now and these can certainly help customers who are upgrading get the hardware they need at an affordable price which will run version 8 and above of OnTap.

Over the last several years, as NetApp's 4th quarter came to an end their customers were able to negotiate better deals on equipment purchases. But with tight supplies NetApp's sales teams may be be willing to provide hardware upgrades at better prices on equipment that they can deliver by end of quarter. Tight supplies and End of Fiscal Year pressures may combine to create some interesting buying opportunities for NetApp's customers.

We have had a great 1st quarter and look forward to continued growth this year as the worldwide community of Zerowait customers continues to grow. The sales team at Zerowait has been traveling extensively over the last several months as interest in our affordable NetApp Support gains more customers. And over the next several months we expect this to continue.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is your data storage vendor your advocate or your competitor?

Last week I was talking to a client and he was asking me why his data storage vendor wants to make it harder for him to access and maintain his data. It was an interesting conversation because I had never looked at the paradigm from that perspective.

In most businesses your vendor wants you to succeed and wants your company to grow and they do that by making their products and services more convenient. But in the Storage business the vendors who create proprietary operating systems and file systems want to rapidly End of Life (EOL) equipment and constantly create software upgrades to maintain their income stream, potentially preventing you from accessing your data as it is currently configured.

I am not a Luddite, but I am not in favor of my vendor partners locking me into their upgrade cycle. Once I purchase a piece of equipment or hardware I want to be able to maintain it a long time, and if it is a piece of equipment that has our company’s data on it I want to be able to continue to access it.

Last week in Computer Reseller News, a NetApp executive was quoted as saying:

"We are in a very good margin position with our partners, compared with our competitors," said Parrish. "But the danger is if you over-recruit, you over-distribute the product and that is the number-one cause of margin erosion."

“Instead, the priority for NetApp is working with its existing partners to trap more mid-market business.”


As a business owner I don’t want to be trapped by my vendors into making deals, the main purpose of which is to make them great margins. I want my vendors to work with us on our long-term business growth, not tomorrow’s or this financial quarter’s. Our customers purchased High Availability Storage equipment from NetApp and they don’t understand why they have to upgrade just because it is good for NetApp’s business. A business partnership should be beneficial to all, sellers and consumers, or it cannot continue for the long term. Since Zerowait’s goal is to maintain and support high availability storage equipment for the long-term, our business aligns with the needs of many customers because it helps them substantially reduce their costs of hardware manufacturer dictated upgrades and the expensive data migrations that result. Zerowait has very successfully been supporting customers around the world who are operating NetApp beyond the manufacturer’s recommended EOL.

Our NetApp support customers needed an advocate and an ally that understood that data access was critical, and that maintaining High Availability equipment to be reliable was the goal. But, maintaining software support from a vendor that wants to force you to upgrade is not easy and is often extraordinarily expensive.

This is an example of the kind of Vendor thinking that drove our customers to ask us to create SimplStor, an open source reliable enterprise storage solution. Business executives around the world have embraced Open Source Linux, BSD and many variants to be their front line web servers, and workstations, and even the biggest storage companies use Linux on their servers and equipment for the simple reason that is reliable and it is inexpensive. And most storage vendors have been using highly reliable Commodity Off The Shelf Technology (COTS) for years. NetApp is proud to say it uses it also:

NetApp is not only notching hefty sales (expected to hit $2 billion in fiscal 2006) but it has also managed to maintain sky-high 60%-plus gross margins, despite building its gear with commodity, off-the-shelf parts.


Therefore, it seems odd that these same storage companies tell their customers that their proprietary systems are better and more cost-effective for all types of data. Zerowait’s customers know better. They understand that even their storage vendors’ studies show that most storage is not actually primary storage but is some sort of Secondary, Tertiary or Archival data.

"Compared to the full amount of allocated storage on the file servers, this represents only 10 percent of data," Leung said. '[This] means that 90 percent of the data is untouched during this three-month period.”


Zerowait’s customers know that high reliability storage does not have to be expensive; it just needs to be maintained and monitored to last a long time. And this does not have to cost a lot. The Big Boys of storage know this also. If they did not think Linux was reliable they would not be using it in their systems.

Zerowait’s savvy customers asked if we could build them a simple reliable storage system that uses the same O/S that the Big Storage guys use on their internal systems. We did what our customers asked and now Zerowait has added SimplStor to the high reliability storage systems and equipment we are building and maintaining around the world.

We are focused on providing our customers long term service and support for their data storage requirements. It seems our competitors are focused on their own short term margins. Which works better for you?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Our Customers are right!

Over the last few weeks we have been working with a few international Fortune 500 customers on their NetApp service and support quotes. Now that we have our Australian operations set up we can provide these companies with affordable support around the world, and they are quickly recognizing how much they can save on their NetApp support by switching to Zerowait hardware support program.

What we are hearing is that a lot of companies are shocked at the cost of continuing support and the license fees that NetApp is charging them, and they no longer see the value. Most Storage is not primary storage, and while not everyone is embracing storage tiering , almost everyone recognizes that keeping Petabytes of archive storage on primary storage arrays is very expensive, and data migrations are not easy. But at some budgetary inflection point even the Fortune 500 companies are realizing it is time to change the paradigm. NetApp used to market itself as a disruptive technology, and their NAS solutions did change things quite a bit. But now many of our customers have over 100 filers, and they are feeling budgetary disruptions at renewal and upgrade time.

Our SimplStor is an evolutionary storage solution, based on best of breed commercial hardware. There is nothing disruptive about SimplStor except that we have driven down the price point to make storage affordable to our customers. Our customers need affordable storage that can grow to a Petabyte and beyond, and we provided them the solution they asked for.