Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Secret to a successful migration from NetApp


Every year it seems more NetApp customers come to Zerowait for affordable support while they look for alternative storage solutions for their data. For CIFS users finding NetApp cDOT a bridge too far, for example, we often recommend a Windows Server R2 SimplStor solution. But then the questions come up: What do we do about support on our filers during the transition? They’ll no longer be on NetApp support!  And how do we move the data safely and securely? What happens to the equipment when we decommission it?
 
It’s true that migrations can be tough, but our three-stage data migration framework, described below, streamlines the process and ensures that production data is available with minimal downtime and support is available throughout.

The first stage is continuity of support on the existing NetApp equipment. If NetApp support is unavailable (EOS) or unaffordable, a Zerowait Parts Assurance (ZPA) policy can fill that requirement for as long as you need it. The ZPA offers enterprise level technical support with NBD parts replacement. In addition, if you want our help in planning, administering or performing the actual migration we can help under one of our flexible Incidental Technical Services (ITS) plans. Our engineers have worked with many customers on migrations and stand ready to support your team’s efforts and help you ensure that your data is transferred safely.

Once the data is transferred successfully to the SimplStor server (the second stage of the process), we follow up with stage three: sanitization and redeployment or removal of your legacy NetApp equipment.

Under this simple framework there is no rush to migrate your data before OEM support runs out. The days of vendor-induced completion dates are gone; Zerowait can support your NetApp legacy equipment for as long as you need.

As our NetApp support business has grown over the past 15 years, we have listened to our customers and in response have developed an array of products and services. Our NetApp migration offering is one of these. How can we help YOU get the most from your IT budget?

Visit our online store: http://www.thezerowaitstore.com


Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Trend Indicates a Prosperous 2017



Since Zerowait runs on the calendar year as our fiscal year, every January we review our previous year’s performance and begin making our plans for the new year. We keep good records of our initiatives and the projects we are working on throughout the year and in 2016 we developed and brought to market our newSimplStor EVS surveillance and security storage product line that our large storage customers requested. Last year most of our business was based around our NetApp parts, support, and surveillance, and while most of our business was still in the USA and Canada, every year we seem to do a little more global business. 

In 2016 we heard from many of our customers that they were very happy with their older 7 mode NetApp systems, and though they found the marketing for the NetApp Cdot upgrades interesting they saw no reason to upgrade. We also picked up a lot of new customers this year based on the referrals of some of our established customers, and they too were primarily looking to stay with 7-mode. There is a growing set of customers that are not going to upgrade, and they need a trusted support organization to maintain their critical business storage.

Zerowait’s SimplStor product sales grew again in 2016, and the line continues to grow as it competes effectively against products from the large storage companies. Our SimplStor installations continue to grow quantity and size as it earns the respect of our customers for reliability, uptime, and affordability. If you are looking for performance and flexibility instead of marketing hype, you should consider our SimplStor product line.

In 2017, we expect data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) to take a bigger slice of the storage pie. As devices begin to communicate more effectively there is going to be a need to manage, categorize and interpret the data that is collected. Whether you are using NetApp storage, or SimplStor as your data vault, you can depend on Zerowait’s engineers to provide you the right solutions for your storage issues.



Thursday, December 15, 2016

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.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Weighing Internet availability and On premise systems

http://fortune.com/2016/10/23/internet-attack-perpetrator/

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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Business Analytics powered by Surveillance and Storage

One small step
Most 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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Unwrap and Install - We’ve Done It All




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.