Inflation, AI, and Robotics

 

NAB 2024
Zerowait Has the Answer! 

Over the last few months, I have been traveling a lot. As you probably have noticed, inflation has returned to the USA. In some ways, it seems nastier than the inflation of the 1970s. Have you rented a car at PHX lately? I stopped there on the way to Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention and things are pricey in both cities for the traveler—hotels, cars, fuel, food. I was particularly struck by the prices in Vegas, which had in years back been able to keep travel costs low to drive customers to the casinos. But that seems out the window now. The point of this is not just to complain! It is what it is. The point is that inflation affects everything, and we have no idea when it will subside again. Businesses must plan and find ways to continue in the meantime. At the same time, technology is rapidly changing. AI and robotics, which were big topics at the NAB show, seem poised to be involved in everything, from making movies to analyzing massive data sets to making food and more.As it usually does, economic history seems to be repeating itself, but is it just me, or are these inflationary changes happening faster—in internet time—than in the 1970s? Plus, the effects have rapidly gone global, and we see this clearly in business. The costs of electricity and fuel intersect with the costs of delivery of parts and inventory and the costs of running a data center or even just a few servers. Every business is affected and needs to make difficult decisions about how to cut costs, without affecting customer services and delivered quality. Inflation is like fighting a war: it requires rapid innovation in processes to adapt to changing economic battlefields. Zerowait provides the tools and talent to help you change direction quickly, if needed, to help you overcome the economic hurdles that affect your network and storage infrastructure.

It is inevitable that AI and robotics will be adopted to increase productivity and to reduce workplace accidents and risks. With the increase in automation there will be an increase in data storage and interconnectivity. The growth of AI will require more storage on site for rapid AI analysis and decision making, and necessitate better data security and encryption to protect data assets in local and remote data centers.

Our customers and friends at the NAB convention recognize that beating the war on inflation while also tackling crazy rapid technology changes will be a long and difficult effort. And they know they can depend on Zerowait to help them implement proven strategies and tactics that will provide them with the tools to win both the battles and the war. If you are looking for ways to win your battles give us a call at +1 302-996-9408 or email us at sales@zerowait.com.

 

Over 20 years providing NetApp Service and Support
Affordable NetApp Monitoring!

Zerowait Corporation
707 Kirkwood Hwy, Elsmere DE 19805
Phone: 302.996.9408
Manchester, UK: +44 161.513.7429

 

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Storage Rentals, Migrations, & Move Assistance

 

Checklist
When NetApp made the change from 7-mode to Cluster mode (cDOT), customers faced a difficult, multi-stage upgrade path. It required swing gear in the form of additional controllers and shelves that provided temporary staging locations for the data in transition. Rather than having customers purchase these swing gear systems, Zerowait greatly reduced customer costs by offering rental filers and shelves.

Rentals go beyond swing gear for OS upgrades, however. Anytime there is a complex data migration, deploying temporary storage can help the process be more efficient and affordable. For example, a customer might be decommissioning their filer, and the controller fails prior to them moving the data to a new system. A timely, short-term rental of a similar controller can allow them to perform the move efficiently and then simply return the controller to us. Rentals range from complete NetApp systems to those for individual components: shelves, cards, and controllers. The period of rental is typically 1 month to 6 months depending on the complexity of the process and the amount of data being transferred.

Over the last 25+ years of working with NetApp equipment we have developed a set of processes and checklists to create safe plans for our customers that want to move their data. We recognize that each move is unique, and the requirements for data security and prevention of data loss are of paramount concern. For example, after a migration, we can sanitize the decommissioned drives and provide a report that provides customers with documentation of the results. We can do this at the customer’s location or in our facilities.

If you are considering moving your data to a new system, or location, and are looking for a short-term hardware rental and engineering assistance to help the move go smoothly please give us a call at +1 302-996-9408 or email us at sales@zerowait.com.

Over 20 years providing NetApp Service and Support
Affordable NetApp Monitoring!

 

Zerowait Corporation
707 Kirkwood Hwy, Elsmere DE 19805
Phone: 302.996.9408
Manchester, UK: +44 161.513.7429

 

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Success Strategy: Strong Roots and Aggressive Pruning

 

Flourishing Pear Tree
Flourishing Pear Tree
Success Requires Strong Roots And Aggressive Pruning
Many years ago while working in Singapore I was told that business success requires strong roots and aggressive pruning. I was a young programmer then, not really into horticulture, and didn’t quite understand what they meant. But now, after several decades at business, I have learned that building and maintaining trusted relationships with our vendors, customers, and friends is much like a garden. Some branches of our business needed to be pruned, and others needed help to encourage new growth. At the same time, to carry the metaphor further, creeping vines and other pests invade and must be attended to.
Creeping Vines--Help!
Cautionary Tale: Prune Vines Early!
Many tech vendors we have dealt with over the years have stressed their strong partnerships with their resellers. I believe that a partnership should be a two-way street with mutual benefits for all parties. Not surprisingly, it seems that bigger companies don’t view partnerships that way. As an example, one tech vendor we contracted with as a reseller seemed great at first. But after a few months it became very clear all they wanted was our customer list. SNIP.
SNIP!
On the services side, we have a VOIP carrier whose sales team promised us they would introduce our company to their storage engineers if we renewed our contract. We provided them with a good background and some of their engineering team’s contact information to help them with the introductions. Not surprisingly, once we signed to renew the service agreement, the sales team never followed through. Next time the agreement comes up for renewal? SNIP, SNIP.
SNIP!SNIP!
In another case, we’ve worked with a large broadband carrier for over a decade as both a vendor and as a customer. We have always met and exceeded the SLA for their support. But when we had serious bandwidth degradation recently, it was well over a month (after a long series of escalations to get their attention) before they finally came out and fixed a problem with their circuit. They still won’t tell us what the issue was or why it took so long to respond to us. Instead, they say services and support will improve if we upgrade. Um, what? SNIP, SNIP, SNIP.
SNIP!SNIP!SNIP!
When I planted the seeds for Zerowait in 1989, I did not know much about how to grow a business, but over time we developed deep roots with our customers and were able to branch out to help them manage their growth. Over the decades we have seen many competitors who grew fast, but when the economic storm winds blew their business tree came down quickly.If you are looking for answers to your enterprise storage problems, and you are looking for a company that has deep knowledge on implementing, managing, migrating and upgrading critical storage architectures, give us a call at +1 302-996-9408 or email us at sales@zerowait.com.

Over 20 years providing NetApp Service and Support 
Affordable NetApp Monitoring!

Zerowait Corporation
707 Kirkwood Hwy, Elsmere DE 19805
Phone: 302.996.9408
Manchester, UK: +44 161.513.7429

 

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Survey Says…Objectionable?

 

It's perfectly clear!
Foreflight Image: Objectionable, Near Youngstown Ohio
SURVEY SAYS…?

Customers and I have been talking lately about their struggles with their big vendors. “You can’t be fired for going with IBM!” has morphed into “Is there anyone there who cares about service?”

One non-inconsequential switch/firewall vendor, Juniper, has come under fire from CISA for not keeping up with required security patches, CVE notices, and customer updates. Customers are finding out about potential serious vulnerabilities from the news. Even if they don’t have Juniper products in their own, local infrastructures, what about their cloud providers? Seems like inquiring minds would like to know. Sadly, Juniper is not alone in not being exactly forthcoming to their customers.

As a pilot, I also follow aviation closely: Boeing Quality Control, anyone? I mean, we just completed our Annual (intensive) inspection on our RV-10 and found/fixed some small, non-critical issues with the brakes; but with Boeing, we’re talking about missing or loose bolts on their rudders, and door plugs that are not bolted on. Does anyone look?

It hit even closer to home last weekend when I was on a flight from PHL to DFW. We boarded one plane, then we were told that we would have to deplane so they could change the tire. Okay. A tire. Couldn’t take that long, you’d think. Instead, after an hour passed, we were taken to board another plane. Then, we taxied out only to be informed that there was a stuck valve, and we taxied back to the terminal. Another hour waiting at least, and finally we were on our way. I was given an extra package of 2 cookies with my coffee. Livin’ large. When I landed, my wife, who’d been tracking us on FlightAware, said, “How come the plane only went to 20,000 feet the whole way instead of the 30K plus usual flight level?” I said it could have been more favorable winds lower down, but inside I wondered if that valve was an air pressure valve and that is why we stayed lower than usual. The flight arrived safely at DFW–only about 4 hours late! The next day, when presented with a survey as to how I rated my flight, I demurred.

I did answer one survey about 6 months ago, for one of our long-time service vendors. On it, I provided examples over the previous year where their sales and service teams had misled us. About two weeks ago someone called us from their “customer satisfaction” team. He told me how concerned the company was and how they were going to address the issues I pointed out in my survey. He said someone would call me right away to discuss the issues we were having. Still nothing. I don’t expect anything. Meanwhile, I won’t recommend them any more to my friends with similar businesses.

How do these companies expect to build a long-term relationship with their customers when they can’t even provide a reliable service, keep an appointment, or provide references about their businesses? I suspect they don’t care. It’s all about today and the next sale.

I can assure you that if you call Zerowait about a problem we will respond quickly and follow up to make sure that the problem is solved. If you call us for a storage hardware solution, we will build you a solution that fits your requirements and provides long term, reliable service.

Do you need assistance with data storage? Please contact us at +1 302-996-9408 or by email at sales@zerowait.com.

 

Over 20 years providing NetApp Service and Support 
Affordable NetApp Monitoring!

Zerowait Corporation
707 Kirkwood Hwy, Elsmere DE 19805
Phone: 302.996.9408
Manchester, UK: +44 161.513.7429
Sydney, Australia: +61 2.8518.1271

 

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You’re Going to Need Bigger Storage!

Get Ready for Video!

I hope you enjoyed your holidays. If you’re like us, even while we’re away our data storage kept growing. Those who store video surveillance data in particular know what I mean! As an example, I was visiting a customer this week who started using video cameras for Quality Control and site surveillance and within just a couple of years went from a few cameras to several hundred. Because it grew organically, like Tribbles, there was no time to plan the managment of the burgeoning data assets. To complicate matters, the projects were run by operational and production departments that didn’t understand networked storage and management. The result is a loosely organized web of network video recording (NVR) devices, with silos of storage all over the enterprise. Managing their data and preparing it for analysis when necessary can be very difficult.

Zerowait’s SimplStor® Video Vault is designed to provide the simplicity, flexibility and performance you need. With Linux/XFS or Windows Server (2019 or 2022), and robust 8GB hardware RAID with cache and battery backup, this solution offers the capacity you need at a price you can afford. Plus, our expert team has developed a list of storage managment best practices and a set of diagnostic and phone-home tools to solve many of the problems of fast-growth such as that encountered with NVR across a complex organization.

Zerowait’s SimplStor systems are known for long-term reliability and support. In the field since 2010, SimplStor systems typically have a service life of well over 5 years. If you are looking for long-term quality, service and support, Zerowait is your answer.

We look forward to working with you in 2024. Please contact us at +1 302-996-9408 or by email at sales@zerowait.com.

Have a great 2024 !

Over 20 years providing NetApp Service and Support 
Affordable NetApp Monitoring!

Zerowait Corporation

707 Kirkwood Hwy, Elsmere DE 19805
Phone: 302.996.9408
Manchester, UK: +44 161.513.7429
Sydney, Australia: +61 2.8518.1271 

 

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CentOS – Detour Changes Roadmap for 2024

 

CentOS - Detour Changes Roadmap for 2024
Pretty much everybody knows by now that IBM / RedHat have decided to change what had been a successful strategy for getting people to embrace their version of Linux—by providing the associated, parallel free version, CentOS. This bought RedHat a great deal of good will in the community, with many CIOs and CTOs still choosing the paid RHEL support path. However, this has changed. CentOS will no longer be available or developed the same way after 2024. Their strategy in doing this, based on an email I just saw from RedHat, appears to be to upsell everyone to the paid version of support. They may be following another brand’s failed marketing strategy.

I was talking with one of our customers and he said, “This reminds me of New Coke”.

Time will tell, but it seems to us that, based on customer comments and the SimplStor storage systems we have been building in 2023, quite a few CentOS and RHEL customers aren’t happy with this change in direction.

For example, we are doing a hardware refresh for a customer with a lot of older SimplStor servers. They were on paid RHEL with XFS. The new units, though? Windows Server 2019. Other customers have had us rebuild their CENTOS Linux ZFS SimplStor servers with Windows Server 2019. That is a niche that I never expected.

What does your 2024 storage road map look like? We will help you plan the route that gets you to your destination with fewer hassles. Give us a call or drop us an email.

We look forward to working with you in 2024. Please contact us at +1 302-996-9408 or by email at sales@zerowait.com.

Have a Happy Holiday and Great New Year!

Over 20 years providing NetApp Service and Support

Affordable NetApp Monitoring!

Zerowait Corporation
707 Kirkwood Hwy,
Elsmere DE 19805
Phone: 302.996.9408
Manchester, UK: +44 161.513.7429
Sydney, Australia: +61 2.8518.1271

 

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Your Satisfaction is our Goal

Clear Skies Ahead

Here’s a note that we received a few days ago from one of our long-term (13 years!) NetApp support customers:

”I deal with a lot of service providers and I have to say that Zerowait has been the best. You have all been very helpful, responsive, knowledgeable, and perhaps most importantly an absolute pleasure to deal with.”
–PM, San Francisco CA –10/31/23

At Zerowait our responsibility is to provide our customers with high reliability storage hardware and support. For over thirty years our team has been tinkering with computers and networks which has continuously broadened our knowledge of systems, software, firmware, and support. We practice what we preach and run SimplStor and NetApp storage in our own data center.

Last month I met with a customer at a university to talk about SimplStor.
One of the reasons he was thinking about switching vendors is that every time he calls his current vendor for a replacement part or tech support, he has to go through several layers of personnel before reaching a knowledgeable person who can actually take care of his issue. This generally happens because larger companies think of customer service and support as a cost. What they value is sales of new equipment. At Zerowait, we think the opposite. For us it’s all about helping customers.

We look forward to working with you. Please contact us at +1 302-996-9408 or by email at sales@zerowait.com.

Over 20 years providing NetApp Service and Support 
Affordable NetApp Monitoring!

Zerowait Corporation
707 Kirkwood Hwy, Elsmere DE 19805
Phone: 302.996.9408
Manchester, UK: +44 161.513.7429
Sydney, Australia: +61 2.8518.1271

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Where does the Buck Stop?

The Buck Stops in Grand Canyon?

As President of Zerowait it is my responsibility to make certain that our customers receive quality service and support. If a customer is not satisfied, I must figure out what happened and ensure that our solution will solve the problem. Similarly, if there’s a snag in operations, I need make sure it’s fixed before customer services are impacted.

“The Buck Stops Here” — Harry Truman

For example, occasionally we have experienced shipping damage, and this forced us to vastly improve our boxing and packing materials. Plus, we standardized on only using certain trusted carriers to improve our delivered quality. Despite all we do to protect our SimplStor and NetApp shipments, fork trucks still sometimes spear the boxes or drop pallets. When this happens we do all we can to make it right for our customers.

We wrote our system log reader/reporter about 20 years ago and have been improving it ever since. The Exception Reporter is a key tool used by our engineers, and allows faster response time and more accurate diagnoses of issues. Its automated reports also help busy administrators quickly check the status of their NetApp and SimplStor systems. Many of the improvements to Exception Reporter arose from customer requests. One lesson we learned is the importance of documenting our programs, procedures, and changes, so as to keep track of what was requested to avoid mission creep. Delivering quality is delivering the solution the customer needs. Our goal is to help our clients avoid problems, but when they have a problem to provide a viable solution quickly.

“At Zerowait the buck stops here.” — Mike Linett

We look forward to working with you. Please contact us at +1 302-996-9408 or by email at sales@zerowait.com.

Over 20 years providing NetApp Service and Support 
Affordable NetApp Monitoring!

Zerowait Corporation
707 Kirkwood Hwy, Elsmere DE 19805
Phone: 302.996.9408
Manchester, UK: +44 161.513.7429
Sydney, Australia: +61 2.8518.1271

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Data Storage Rainbow.

R&D: Essential to Staying on Course
Traveling to Charlotte, NC to visit a customer 

I am often asked in meetings with big companies, “Why should we work with Zerowait?” The short answer is that big companies need small companies to get things done quickly. The long answer is that the Zerowait team has been working with networks and storage for over thirty years and we understand generations of infrastructure technology and their idiosyncrasies and how to make them work together.In the 1990’s technology and standards were changing quickly, and our team developed and deployed networks that included load balancing and storage. Network Attached Storage (NAS) became our specialty and we deployed and supported NetApp equipment around the globe.

When the 2008 financial crisis occurred, our customers’ IT budgets shrunk dramatically, and our third-party NetApp support business grew. By 2010, we had become recognized as a leader in NetApp third party support with parts depots in the USA, Australia and the UK. At the same time, we started development of SimplStor storage products to provide a flexible, reliable, and scalable storage solution to our customers looking for an alternative to the costs of proprietary NetApp and EMC equipment. While some customers look at cloud solutions, many wanted to stay with on-premise storage for security, speed, and other business reasons.

And now here we are in the mid-2020s and the cloud seems costly and complex. For many dissatisfied cloud customers, the prize at the end of the rainbow is on-premise storage. The technology has evolved over the last 30 years, and Zerowait is still providing customers with affordable, scalable, and reliable network and storage solutions.

We look forward to working with you. Please contact us at +1 302-996-9408 or by email at sales@zerowait.com

 

Over 20 years providing NetApp Service and Support 
Affordable NetApp Monitoring!

Zerowait Corporation
707 Kirkwood Hwy, Elsmere DE 19805
Phone: 302.996.9408
Manchester, UK: +44 161.513.7429
Sydney, Australia: +61 2.8518.1271

 

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R & D: Essential to Staying on Course

R&D: Essential to Staying on Course
At Zerowait we view Research and Development (R&D) as an essential ingredient in our successful business recipe. Most times our R&D comes out of a customer asking us a question or requesting a new feature. We are always looking to broaden our knowledge and product line. On average, over the last 30+ years we have tried 5 new things a year.

Last year, for example, one of our customers asked us if we could help them track, by system, RMA tickets and part shipments. We knew that it would be helpful for us as well as the customer, so we started an R&D project and developed new programs and systems to track replacement parts from shipment through installation. Using SimplStor’s automated logs, our parsing engine pulls data from multiple sources within our operation to cross-check the details. It also notes delays with replacing defective parts and on the few occasions when parts were missing our new tool would help catch that sooner. This was especially helpful for our customers with multiple units across data centers worldwide.

Our SimplStor product line also came out of an R&D effort begun in 2009, when three customers asked for an open source solution for large archival storage. Back then SimplStor was designed to keep survey data for the Oil & Gas industry. Now via customization, along with our monitoring toolset, SimplStor storage solves many different use cases.

Zerowait’s R&D efforts provide our customers with innovative solutions to their storage management problems. Everyone on our engineering team works on R&D projects, and we have discovered many helpful strategies for our NetApp customers as well. Among these are our Exception Reporter monitoring products, which over the last 22 years has evolved into the backbone of our third-party NetApp service and support system.

I’ve heard folks mention that research and development can cost a lot of money. And I agree. On the other hand, our team feels that providing customers with accurate, actionable information to solve their problems is worth the investment.

We look forward to working with you. Please contact us at +1 302-996-9408 or by email at sales@zerowait.com.

Over 20 years providing NetApp Service and Support 
Affordable NetApp Monitoring!

Zerowait Corporation
707 Kirkwood Hwy, Elsmere DE 19805
Phone: 302.996.9408
Manchester, UK: +44 161.513.7429
Sydney, Australia: +61 2.8518.1271

 

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