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.