Monday, February 25, 2013

Game Changer

What would you do if you suddenly found an extra 30% in your IT storage budget? Would you invest in your staff, or additional equipment? Maybe you would do a bit of both. For some of our customers this is a problem that they are happily coming to terms with.

By using Zerowait for their NetApp legacy support our customers typically save over 30% compared with NetApp’s ongoing support costs. When times are hard companies look for more affordable solutions, and with Zerowait they find a high availability solution to out of control support costs. One of our new customers told me a couple of weeks ago that his management thought our support prices were too low, but after checking our references he found that their OEM’s prices were really way to high. That was a game changer in their thinking about their storage infrastructure and its costs.

Another customer of ours is in the market for additional NetApp storage, and they decided to get a quote for a filer with a transferable license. We sent them a quote and their NetApp representative said that transferable licenses did not exist. We sent the customer proof of transferability. That was a game changer for the customer, now he is wondering about the reliability of his NetApp representatives other promises.

When we introduced our SimplStor Product line a few years ago we decided that we would provide the best available hardware and service that we could at a very affordable price, and we made sure that each of our customers was happy with our product and service.  Our goal for SimplStor was the same as for our NetApp support,  provide a solution that made our customers happy. Over time our customers asked for improvements and options including SSD and FC which are now part of the product line. That was another game changer for our customers, now they have a storage vendor they can rely on to provide semi-custom storage solutions adaptable to their needs.

Competition in the marketplace ensures customers the best prices and products. Zerowait’s solutions create competition for NetApp, both in service and support and transferable licensed systems. SimplStor offers an even more affordable, highly reliable option for our customers. We can help you answer your questions on how to build a more cost effective IT solution this year, which will leave you with just one more. What are you going to do with all the extra money in your budget this year?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A trip to Denver & San Diego

This week I traveled to Colorado and Southern California to visit some of our customers. It has been a busy week. The folks I visited in the Energy and Resources sector in the Denver area were busy and recently we have picked up a lot of business in this sector as their data storage grows and they need to find affordable ways to expand their NetApp storage. Tiering storage  and using our SimplStor products is one way to seriously cut their data storage acquisition and several of our NetApp customers are looking at ways to use both  types of solutions in their architecture, several are using NetApp Filers for Tier one storage and using SimplStor for Tier two, archival and tape replacement strategies. This  seems to be a growth market for Zerowait's products and services and an easy to implement solution for folks with massive data storage requirements.

The second leg of my trip was to the San Diego area to visit some of our financial, educational, and military customers. I really enjoyed each of the conversations I had and every one of them ran over time as we discussed strategies and storage economics. Our engineering staff is going to be having quite a few technical conference calls over the next few weeks  to discuss strategies, speeds and feeds.

At each of the clients I visited I heard about how our engineering and support staff helps them quickly and makes their lives easier. Many of our customers want us to help them in other parts of their business and we listen and consider these suggestions. After all, our company got into the storage business based on our customers’ requests in the 90's and we got into the NetApp support business in 2002 based on the requests of our customers. Our SimplStor products were developed with our customers to solve their requirements for affordable archival storage, and recently our clients have asked us develop the Solid State and FC versions of SimplStor.

One of our customers pointed out that the reason Zerowait is so attentive  to customer needs is that the President of the company is personally traveling around to see them. That is the partial answer, but over the years we have put together a great staff that understands that keeping customers happy is the best way to run a growing business.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Horizontal Layers

 Zerowait's staff wins January Auckland Race
I was having a discussion about our business the other day with a friend and customer in New Jersey. We talked about the big storage vendors and how they try to get back charges for what they term ‘catch up support’; that is, they expect you to pay the service fees from the last time the systems were under support to the current time.  This can run to several hundred thousand dollars for big storage system and really bothers customers. We joked, laughed, and wondered what kind of company thinks that aggravating customers is a good way to create customer loyalty.  But the reality is that these vendors believe that they have their customers trapped into their smokestack solutions, and in the information age this is no longer true.

Zerowait is in the enterprise storage support business, and we have customers around the globe that depend on our service and support expertise. We are known as experts in NetApp equipment, but we have our own SimplStor product line also. The internet and the information age it has spawned allow us to be a global company in the niche of 3rd party NetApp enterprise storage and support. This niche is populated by customers looking for optimum value, with many looking for an alternative to NetApp for their large data storage requirements that are not tier one, but still require enterprise level service and support.  These two markets both require personal relationships and outstanding technical support and the customers appreciate the honesty of a service contract that doesn’t penalize them for lapses in support. Our approach is to replace what is broken and cover the system; it seems to make sense to our customers around the globe.

The transition to an information economy is happening quickly, and businesses that are using the vertical integration of smokestack production models are going to have to adapt or they will slowly wither away. Hardware is a commodity, outstanding service and support depends on expertise and personal relationships. And those can’t be commoditized.