Data migrations and moves without the hassle

As the year comes to an end many of our customers are looking at their data storage infrastructure and costs and making plans for data center moves and migrations for 2017. Whether they are looking to migrate a petaByte of data to a new platform or move their data center across the country they will need to make a copy of their data for safe keeping.  Some of our customers have looked at Amazon S3 as a backup and told us that the costs for the restore in case of a problem were cost prohibitive and exceed $30K per PB. That seems expensive.

Beginning with the NetApp Cdot migrations a couple of years ago, we have had several customers rent storage from us on a short-term or flexible term basis as “Swing” gear or just to make a backup in case there was a problem with their data migration or data center move. We have also seen many of our customers moving from NetApp to another storage solution if they can’t see an advantage to the upgrade to Cdot for their operations.  Zerowait can provide NetApp Storage as a short-term rental, or can supply our SimplStor configured as a UNIX or Windows backup repository. In addition to short term storage rentals, our engineers have extensive experience in data migrations and we have developed tool sets we can use that can help safely expedite our customers’ data backup and migration.

As part of a data migration and move plan there often is a recycling component for the excess equipment.  Our service options include equipment recycling and drive sanitization as part of the complete data lifecycle.

Whether you are upgrading to newer NetApp equipment or migrating off NetApp equipment completely in 2017, Zerowait has the equipment, experience and engineers to help you accomplish a data migration or move without the hassles you have experienced in the past.

Have a great holiday.

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Weighing Internet availability and On premise systems

“Our worst hacking fears came true on Friday as criminals deployed millions of everyday objects—internet-connected cameras, printers, and so on—to launch an attack on a critical part of the Internet. The attack was a success, crippling the websites of major companies like Amazon, Netflix and Twitter for hours at a time.”

Many of our clients use cloud services for their critical business services and storage needs, and typically they have made some calculation basing the risk of availability and security against the cost of keeping equipment and services on site.  For companies like this the recent internet attacks on DYN have awakened that debate.

The availability of email is essential to continuing in business, and to save costs many companies use outsourced email providers-. It’s not just hardware—the servers, firewalls, spam filters, email archiving storage,–but also administration.  Email is a resource hog.  On the flip side, you have the potential for an attack on an external email provider, potentially bringing down the service completely:  Thousands of customers suddenly cut off from email! Can your company survive in today’s integrated environment without access to your email for days, weeks or even months?  What recourse do you have if your email is brought down by a malicious attack? How long will it take to recover once services are restored, if they are restored? Further complicating the issue for many companies is the use of IP telephony which can also be compromised in an internet attack.  Phones out, too!?  The whole scenario is pretty bleak, right?

So you need to ask these questions and more  – now, not later:

  • If an attacker targets email services and internet telephony services how will your organization communicate with your customers and vendors?  Most companies today are so integrated with on line services that if the internet gets brought down for a couple of weeks they will have a hard time recovering.
  • Does your Disaster Recovery plan include a section on a complete communication meltdown of the internet?
  • How would your company survive if all your data is at a cloud provider and some nefarious hacker simply mixed up all your customer, accounting and payroll records so your staff could no longer access your databases reliably?

As a networking and storage focused company we believe there must be a balance between on-premise hardware and services and internet-based virtual solutions.  As we’ve seen, the risk of an internet based service provider being brought down is very real.  Based on the recent experience of DYN, we think that more companies must reconsider the risks associated with their cloud based solutions providers. If the internet is brought down, and you have your business information on premises, at least your company will be able to function after communications are restored.  If not, the dream of a virtualized world of internet-based services and storage for an integrated economy like we have today could quickly become a nightmare.  Don’t let it happen to you.

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Business Analytics powered by Surveillance and Storage

apollo11Most organizations today are looking for an edge to beat their competitors in the marketplace by improving their customers’ experience, while at the same time reducing their labor costs and overhead. In the past a surveillance network was a tool for the security team of a company. But as processors and network speed and capacity increased over the last few years it became possible to use High Definition IP cameras to analyze traffic flows and wait times. This is the kind of information that the marketing and sales department is interested in, and now enterprises are seeing that there are tactical and strategic business advantages to having an integrated surveillance and business analytics network.

Zerowait’s EVS (Extensible Video Surveillance) product line allows our customers to take a building block approach to building their surveillance and business analytics network.  We start by building a surveillance and storage network that can grow as our customers decide on which analytics tools they want to track. Some customers start with simple people counting, while others want more in depth analysis tools to track their equipment, personnel and customers. Over time the information collected can reveal patterns to reduce wait times and overhead costs and improve quality and customer experiences.

Most organizations need some sort of surveillance solution to protect their assets or to watch their perimeter. Building on that basic requirement, the variety of information that can be collected using modern IP based cameras and business analytics software is astounding. Zerowait’s EVS product line provides our customers a solid foundation so they can build a solution set that provides protection and business advantages over their competition.

With the tools that our Business analytics can provide, it is time to start looking at your surveillance network as a profit center.

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Unwrap and Install – We’ve Done It All

Why Zerowait Developed SimplStor EVS

Why Zerowait Developed SimplStor EVS

We listened to our customers:

Many of our customers knew that we had deployed over 10PB in Surveillance storage over the last couple of years, and they asked if we could integrate the SimplStor storage platform with IP cameras, POE switches, Wireless Mesh where needed and Video Management Software for surveillance and security.  For them, going to different vendors for each of these components had proven to be difficult and time-consuming.  They wanted a package.

We first heard this from customers in Australia and New Zealand, then the UK and USA. Our customers required reliability and scalability in an affordable package with an easy to manage interface.  Further, they indicated that it would be really great if we could preconfigure the hardware and software so they could unwrap and install without sending their high priced engineering teams into the field.

A few customers said it couldn’t be done:

Some of our customers told us that based on their experience, building a true unwrap and install integrated solution would be too hard, and that no one was offering a one stop solution for the enterprise because there was so much variability in the requirements across locations and business types.  We took up the challenge.

SimplStor EVS is Born

To provide our customers an integrated surveillance and storage solution our engineering team worked with our customers’ to define specifications, and developed a set of building block assemblies and solutions.

We knew our surveillance storage customers were using a lot more storage once they deployed IP cameras. Several customers told us that their average HD IP cameras were requiring storage of about 1TB a month each, and some of our customers have over 150 IP cameras in a single installation.  Our solutions also needed to offer the storage scalability that our customers needed to handle retention periods for the surveillance images that could vary from 90 days to over 27 months depending on regulatory compliance, legal risk assessments, and business insurance guidelines. The good news is that, by design, SimplStor is Extensible—easily and economically expanded when growth is needed. That was our base. Then we researched cameras and software. Customers kept referring us to Axis Communications, and we discovered why. Management is so easy and the product and image quality and features are amazing! We start with a base storage system, a POE switch and as little as 4 or as many as 14 cameras. Each includes at least 90 days of storage and every package is an integrated, unwrap and install solution, extensible to hundreds of cameras and a petabyte or more of storage over time.

Working with our customers we came up with a one stop, integrated solution that provides clear savings in hardware costs, integration fees and deployment time. We are taking orders now, and can ship any of our preconfigured units within 3 weeks after receipt of order, with custom solutions taking just a bit longer.

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Another exasperated NetApp customer!

mindblownOver the last couple of weeks I have been visiting customers in Texas and Oklahoma and one customer of ours who went to NetApp to renew support on a FAS32XX filer with minimal storage was apoplectic when he saw the price from NetApp for a support contract. All he wanted to do was put a non-production environment Filer back in a production service environment. So they asked NetApp for a support contract quote. NetApp came back with a quote for over $50K. You could buy a new filer for that. Which is probably NetApp’s plan. Anyway, what caused the outrageous pricing in this case was that NetApp backdated the filer to 2014, when it went off support. Instead of quoting 12 Months, they quoted 33 months, ending in early 2017. Not only did they charge for nearly two years of support the customer would never receive, they also added a reinstatement fee! NetApp should include a prescription for blood pressure pills when they send a quote like that to a customer.

Perhaps this type of predatory pricing makes sense to marketing folks in Silly Con valley. But in the rest of the world folks are looking for alternatives to dictatorial solutions by single source vendors.  Zerowait support is the affordable solution for NetApp support. And thanks to price quotes like this from NetApp, our SimplStor storage sales are growing as people look for affordable solutions without the proprietary software lock in.

In an economic environment of 2% GDP growth customers need a vendor that provides long term service and support at reasonable prices, which is our long term goal.  In this case our pricing helped the customer control his blood pressure without breaking his storage budget.  Another satisfied Zerowait customer.


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Does a NetApp cDot upgrade make sense for you?

wikibon  - Mode-7toClusteredONTAPChartMany of our customers are still trying to answer this question and I have had quite a few of our customers send me links to the WikiBon report This report, written by David Floyer, does a very good job of providing an overview of the costs of an upgrade, the risk associated with a data migration, and the performance problems of NetApp’s WAFL architecture in today’s high write and bandwidth intensive environment.

Wikibon“The breakeven for most migration projects from ONTAP 7-Mode to Clustered ONTAP are poor at over 50 months – the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is anemic at 12% or lower.” With the economy expected to grow by only 2%, finding extra corporate funds to upgrade is going to be difficult. Zerowait offers many options to maintain your NetApp equipment on a budget long beyond NetApp’s artificial end of life; we are still providing hardware support for NetApp 700 series systems which were sold at the turn of the century.

Wikibon – “The current systems of record should not be converted to other platforms, as this is both costly and risky.” In a slow growth economic environment many of our customers find it difficult to add staff, and it is going to be hard to convince the CFO that a risky data migration requiring extra personnel makes business sense. Zerowait’s technical support engineers are NetApp trained and certified, and we are the recognized experts at maintaining legacy NetApp architectures. Zerowait’s NetApp support business continues to grow because customers are risk averse, especially when they have tight budgets.

Wikibon“NetApp’s WAFL architecture is not well suited to high-write and high bandwidth workloads.” Many of our customers are looking to offload the data streams that NetApp is ill-suited to handle. Using our SimplStor storage products—a flexible, reliable and affordable alternative—as a complementary storage platform allows System Administrators to tier non-critical storage, the first stepping stone toward building the flexible private cloud that is required by today’s bandwidth intensive compute and write applications.

David Floyer and the Wikibon team have put together an excellent report that we recommend to our customers who are looking to assess the risks and high costs of data migration that NetApp cDot requires. Zerowait has answers to many of the issues that the report clearly defines and describes. I recommend that you read this report and jot down your concerns before you meet with your NetApp sales team when you are negotiating for the best price at the end of NetApp’s quarter.

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Zerowait Welcomes Tom Heubner

TomBlogZerowait Corporation is pleased to welcome Tom Heubner as VP of Sales in EMEA. Tom will be working out of our Manchester offices and is available to talk to you about all your requirements for support, service and upgrades of your Legacy NetApp equipment.

Zerowait has been providing service, support and upgrades for NetApp customers since 1998. From small shops to Fortune 500 companies, Zerowait helps companies improve the ROI on their NetApp investment, providing support for NetApp products beyond the warranty for as long as the client needs. Not ready for cDOT? Need a few more years from your FAS3240? We provide an affordable support option to extend the life cycle of NetApp storage.

If the global business slowdown is crimping your storage budget and you need to extend the life cycle of your NetApp storage, Zerowait can help. Our NetApp certified engineers provide support for hundreds of clients around the world, and we can help you maintain your storage without breaking your already strained budget.

Contact Tom at Zerowait Europe
Tel: +44 (0) 800.121.801
Dir: +44 (0) 161 641 7237
Fax: +44 (0) 161 0051

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National Association of Broadcasters Show Customer Appreciation Dinner

VegasBlog2Over the last few weeks I have been traveling throughout Australia and New Zealand visiting our customers, many of whom are in the Movie, Gaming and VFX business sectors. I’ll see some of them again next week in Las Vegas at the NAB show where we can catch up with many of our North American, European and Australasian customers in one place. For the last few years we have been having a dinner party at NAB so we can catch up with our customers and they can catch up with old friends while discussing common business and technology issues.

As we sit down to dinner there are always a few new folks joining us, and we introduce them to everyone and tell them how we met and then we start to see who knows who. Usually it turns out that it is a very small world; even with people living and working on other continents they’ve often heard of each other, met each other on various web sites or share common friends.

As the appetizers are finished, drinks refreshed and dinner served, our conversation is usually taken up by war stories of our customers dealing with vendor issues and laughter about how things can go so bad, so quickly, because of miscommunication of vendor support policies.  It often seems that our competitors put revenue before relationships and so they lose their customer’s trust. In the storage business if you can’t trust your supplier in the short term are you going to trust them with your archival storage for the long term?  Our customers tell us that frankly they want a long term storage partner that will work with them in their business cycle, and not a storage and support vendor who is looking to increase revenue by artificially shortening their equipment’s life cycle or ending software support.

As we finish our main course and review the dessert menu, the conversation turns to plans for the rest of the year and interesting projects and technologies that we have run into at the show. There are always a couple of really cool new things that most of us will be drawn to, and as we chat about how we can integrate them into our Network infrastructure we are enjoying our dessert and the last of our drinks, before we say good night and promise to catch up again next year.

We always have a great time, and really appreciate our guests joining us at our dinner parties.  After more than 20 years in the ever changing world of high tech, we know that long term, trusting business relationships are the most valuable assets of our company. We’ll be hosting dinners like this at other trade shows this year and we hope you will join us. If you want to join us at NAB just let us know so we can add you to our reservation. We hope to see you there!

Click Here If You Would Like To Join Us



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Is Your Current NetApp Good Enough Technology?

PennyTire3Let’s start here:  Your NetApp hardware is working fine (as usual), but your NetApp sales rep is proposing a 400% increase in support costs anyway.  And, of course, the alternate proposal is an upgrade to a new cDot system, which will involve a risky migration and possible down-time.  Even if you liked those options, based on corporate belt tightening and the financial news your team is reading, neither of these is going to happen.  Your boss wants to know who can afford to pay these support or upgrade costs in today’s economy, and asks why simply extending the service life of exceptionally stable, but older equipment should explode his operational budget to smithereens.

We hear stories like these from many of our customers and below are three solutions we have recently provided.

In the first case, a large international resources company with NetApp Filers all over the world wanted to keep their filers, but NetApp’s support costs were too high.  The folks at the company called their peers at other companies and found out that Zerowait could provide international support at a fraction of NetApp’s prices.  Moveover, the references they checked told them Zerowait support was often better than the OEM’s–who seemed to be cutting back on support staff and raising its prices simultaneously.  The customer brought this to the attention of their NetApp rep, NetApp blinked, and told the customer that they didn’t have to upgrade to cDot after all, and they could reduce their continuing support pricing as well!  The customer wanted to know why Netapp didn’t provide them the option of staying with 7 mode and  lower prices to start with.  <Crickets>.

In our second example, an educational institution that has been using NetApp for many years instituted a campus wide video monitoring and surveillance system with hundreds of cameras and a long retention period.  The amount of storage it requires is eating up their expensive NetApp disk fast.  The thing is, the data is only accessed occasionally, but when it is needed it is needed quickly.  So they needed a solution with Good Enough Technology that was affordable with reasonable performance, and NetApp was not the answer.  Zerowait’s SimplStor was the answer.  It is reliable, scalable and affordable.  Better yet, SimplStor is supported by the same Zerowait engineering team that they had been relying on for years for their legacy NetApp equipment.

Finally, a large Biotech company that was an old Zerowait NetApp support customer from years past had switched to another array vendor for storage.  After repeated failures with the new equipment, they called us for assistance to put their mothballed NetApp equipment back in service for a three to six month interim solution while they determined what they should invest in next.  Within 48 hours, we helped them transition back to their Good Enough Technology older NetApp and today we are helping them evaluate their options to move forward.

Speaking of moving forward, I’m going on the road again!  Over the next three weeks, I will be visiting our growing list of clients in Australia and New Zealand. Then, during the week of April 18th the Zerowait team will be at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas, and we will be having our annual dinner party there for our customers and friends. It seems that no matter where they are or what industry they are in our customers are looking for more solutions to their storage cost control issues.  And Zerowait has the answer.

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5 Star NetApp Storage and Support on a 2 Star Budget

sqeezeNetAppA lot of our customers are being forced to reduce their storage budgets because of the poor/uncertain profit picture caused by globally volatile finance and markets. Although their budgets are being squeezed their requirements for high availability and additional storage resources continue to grow. Our savvy customers are finding ways to grow their storage infrastructure while reducing their support costs because with Zerowait as their partner they can dance to the beat of a new budget drumbeat without missing a step.

Recently I was visiting a customer in Oklahoma that is trying to match the requirements of growing regulatory and insurance requirements for onsite storage requirements with a budget that is being reduced because of the drop in Oil prices. The engineer I was meeting with mentioned that no matter what the market conditions are their storage requirements continue to grow and there is now no way that they can afford either new equipment or costly OEM support. By switching their support to Zerowait from NetApp, and by adding storage to his NetApp controllers with NetApp equipment from Zerowait, he was saving enough money to maintain his engineering staff and increase his storage even though his budget has been reduced.

While I was in Denver I met with a customer that complimented our engineering staff for solving some NetApp performance problems. The engineering manager and his staff had spent countless hours being shuffled around through NetApp’s support organization without a solution other than to upgrade their Filers. Upgrading their Filers and migrating to cDot was simply not in the budget. Working with Zerowait’s engineers the performance problems were quickly solved and by adding off lease storage to his current NetApp controllers he was able to meet the demands of his growing exploration and log files while maintaining his restricted budget

When I was in New York City with one of our engineering managers I met with a customer at a financial organization that had heard about our reputation and decided to try us out to see if we could help him solve his NetApp performance problems. After a couple of months of working through a few of their issues, the manager decided that our engineers were so good that he wanted to know if we could remotely manage and maintain his systems, since that is what we were doing anyway. We had a discussion about his environment and his growth expectations. Together we determined they really did not need a full time storage administrator and only required between 5 and 15 hours a week of support. He was able to get engineers with NetApp certifications and experience to manage his storage for less than it would cost him to hire a full time inexperienced sysadmin that would need to be trained in storage and NetApp.

As the business world gets more volatile storage budgets are getting more constrained and experienced storage engineering staffs are having to find ways to accomplish their goals by increasing the service cycle of their storage equipment while maintaining or reducing their employee costs. As a trusted partner with a staff of certified, trained and experienced NetApp engineers we look forward to working with you to provide the services and storage you need at prices that fit today’s cautious budgets.


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