The other day I was at a user group meeting with a bunch of NetApp users. Some of these folks are old customers and friends and others had never heard of Zerowait. At the meeting, I was asked not to discuss what Zerowait did, but I was allowed to ask questions about the NetApp engineers presentations. The NetApp marketing folks were not very happy I was there, but I thought since we maintain and support a tremendous number of filers that I would be welcomed as a user. For some reason, NetApp is not happy that they make a lot of software revenue from our legacy hardware support customers who we advise to maintain their software support through NetApp. It seems contradictory to most business models – NetApp makes money for doing nothing, and they are not happy about it. Most companies love a cash cow like legacy software support, but not NetApp. It would seem to be the perfect business for private equity to buy at a discount. Since NetApp does not like supporting old code why not sell it to Blackstone or KKR? It is a cash cow, therefore private equity companies should be interested. It would be good for NetApp’s shareholders, good for the NetApp’s customers, and good for the new owner.

Since the NetApp marketing folks were so unhappy I was there I did not eat any of their food or drinks and afterwards when we went out to eat I made sure to pay for my own food and beverages. If Zerowait was sponsoring a User Group meeting I would make certain NetApp sales and marketing folks would be invited, an open exchange of information is best for everyone. That is why sunshine laws are passed.

In a world of contradictions and hypocrisies NetApp’s legacy hardware users are left to navigate an arcane world of transferable licenses and protocols. For example , we learned last week that some hardware may or may not be supported for 5 years depending on the designation of the customer type. It came to light in regards to R150 customers. Those that are government related have longer support available to them than non government customers. How many companies in the USA don’t do any business at all with any government agencies? How can a company determine whether they are a government related business or not?

Is it Nonsense or not?

Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


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