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Zerowait High Availability Blog

Zerowait is an international 3rd party provider of Parts, Services, and Support for Network Appliance equipment. Zerowait is not a partner of, nor affiliated with, Network Appliance Corporation. Offices in USA,UK & AUS.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Reality of QoS and SLA’s on Legacy Filers

A history of NetApp Service and SupportMany NetApp customers around the world have both new and legacy systems and are trying to maintain high availability in a mixed storage infrastructure of different vintages, with different OnTap and firmware versions.

In most cases the newer equipment is still covered by the manufacturer’s hardware support warranty, but the older equipment which is also storing critical databases and information is unsupported and maintained with parts that have accumulated in a closet or a desk drawer. Although highly affordable this method is hardly highly reliable; administrators and engineers know that it is not sustainable in a NetApp infrastructure where the firmware versions are critical and different vintages of filers are not compatible with each other.

Zerowait has been working with and solving customers’ NetApp issues for over 17 years, longer than many of NetApp’s support and engineering employees  have been in the storage  business, and we have a global reputation for helping customers meet their critical storage requirements. Zerowait provides many Global 2000 companies that have a legacy NetApp infrastructure with a highly respected service and support alternative to the manufacturer. We provide their engineers and admins the Service Level Agreement  (SLA) they need to fulfill the Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees their organizations need to compete in the global marketplace, where access to their data is critical to success.

If you are looking for affordable support for your legacy NetApp equipment, the boxes of old parts in the basement really aren’t the solution. Give us a call and you can have an affordable SLA from a reliable partner you can depend on for your legacy NetApp equipment.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Big Oil – Big Data – Big Savings

During the boom of the last few years the oil and gas business bought a lot of storage equipment.  Zerowait has several oil and gas clients that use our NetApp ZPA legacy support, and some have supplemented their NetApp storage with our SimplStor equipment. Now, as the price of oil is declining company IT staffs are looking for efficiencies and easy ways to cut costs and to extend the life of their storage systems; all without affecting uptime or their quality of service. Zerowait has been supporting the NetApp storage of energy resource companies for over a decade and  as their IT budgets get tight they know they can depend on Zerowait for our NetApp service and support and our SimplStor hardware for innovative, cost effective solutions for  their big storage requirements.

The Geographic diversity of our Energy resources clients is pretty amazing.  We are now working with Energy companies on their NetApp legacy storage support in Australia, Europe and North America.  They all need high availability storage systems that are affordable to maintain and we expect this business niche to grow for us in 2015.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Peak Performance

The end of the year is a time for reflection on this year’s events and planning for next year’s business opportunities. Our customers faced a lot of challenges this year and so did we as the economy changed, the internet faced new challenges and new regulations took effect.

 As the economies of Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and the USA changed this year our business changed to meet the demands of companies and governments with tighter budgets and growing storage requirements. To meet the demand many of our old and new customers wanted to expand their legacy NetApp infrastructures. With tight budgets they needed a partner who would work with them to provide cost effective solutions for NetApp equipment and support, and Zerowait’s business grew to meet these needs.  On the operations side, we had to work with a new bank that specialized in foreign currency exchange to meet the needs of one of our customers with many international divisions. The bank we have been using for two decades was unable to help us because of new Dodd Frank regulations.  Interestingly, the new bank we are using offers better credit card processing rates than our old processor, so while Zerowait experienced some unexpected consequences because of the new regulations, our new banking partner had a better credit card solution which was an unexpected benefit. 

 Our customers around the world depend on the internet for their business success and so does Zerowait. We all recognize that all business is now global and our partnerships span the world. The issues of cyber liability and data breach raised their heads this year and the changing insurance landscape and vulnerabilities that corporate networks face have caused everyone to take another look at the centralization of storage in corporate networks and the security of on line data. As storage grows with the expansion of the internet of things, every company needs to have a business continuity plan that includes strategy for data access to critical files like accounting and operations if their network is breached. Perhaps silos and private cloud still have their place in modern storage architecture.

Just like the banking challenge we faced in 2014 led us to a better solution in another part of our business, we expect that many of the challenges in 2015 will also bring innovative solutions for our customers willing to look outside the box to solve their problems. We look forward to working with you to make 2015 a success

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

U.S. Government Funding Bill Delays IANA Transition

Breaking: U.S. Government Funding Bill Delays IANA Transition

On the evening of Tuesday, September 9th, Congressional leaders unveiled a 1,603 page, $1.01 trillion FY 2015 appropriations bill to fund the U.S. government through the end of September 2015. One provision of the omnibus bill would delay the IANA transition until after the September 30, 2015 expiration of the current contract between the NTIA and ICANN.
Language in the bill states:
SEC. 540. (a) None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to relinquish the responsibility of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration during fiscal year 2015 with respect to Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions.
(b) Subsection (a) of this section shall expire on September 30, 2015.
That language, a modified version of the “Duffy Amendment” that was contained in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, would allow NTIA to start spending funds on a transition after exercising its first option to extend the contract.
In addition, the explanatory report language of the Commerce-Justice-State portion of the omnibus spending bill, in which the above language is contained, states the following:
Internet governance.-The agreement reiterates House and Senate language regarding the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) matters and modifies Senate language by directing NTIA to inform appropriate Congressional committees not less than 45 days in advance of any such proposed successor contract or any other decision related to changing NTIA's role with respect to ICANN or IANA activities. In addition, NTIA shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations within 45 days of enactment of this Act regarding any recourse that would be available to the United States if the decision is made to transition to a new contract and any subsequent decisions made following such transfer of Internet governance are deleterious to the United States.
This language appears to require NTIA to inform Congress 45 days prior to extending the IANA contract or taking any other decision in regard to it; as well as to submit a report to Congress within 45 days after the spending bill’s enactment regarding whether the US would have any post-transition recourse if subsequent decisions were deleterious to the U.S.
This final bill language has already been negotiated with and accepted by Senate Democratic and House Republican leaders and is likely to be enacted and sent to President Obama by the weekend. It is unlikely that the White House would veto the bill and risk a government shutdown over this IANA language (although other provisions could become sticking points between the Administration and Congress).
Rumors were already circulating in Washington that NTIA was prepared to extend the current IANA contract by at least six months in recognition of the fact that it may be impossible for the ICANN community to design and stress test enhanced accountability measures by the end of the current contract term, much less have them in place by then. So the bill may have little effect on the actual timetable for the transition. It remains to be seen what reaction to its enactment comes from ICANN, the ICANN community, and other nations.

Philip S. Corwin, Founding Principal
Virtualaw LLC
1155 F Street, NW
Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20004

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Customer Conversations and Product Development

I will start this blog by mentioning that I travel a lot; as a business owner I believe that it is important to visit our customers, and as our business has grown internationally this requires me to travel a lot of the year. By visiting our customers I learn a lot about what our customers are thinking. For example, our SimplStor Product Line was developed based customer requests in the USA, and one of our Australian customers encouraged us to develop a CCTV storage version. That Niche has become a major part of our US SimplStor business.

Over the last year, many of our NetApp CIFS customers have been asking for a SimplStor alternative for who do not want to upgrade to OnTap CDot 8.2+.  They are looking for a High Availability windows based storage solution that has the support they depend on from Zerowait. So over the last few months we have developed a SimplStor HA storage solution and based on customers’ suggestions we’ve built it to be used with VM’s and Veeam to work in  multi location infrastructures. We’ve installed and tested this solution in our own environment with our own data and app servers. Vmware’s SRM and Windows  Storage Server 2012 R2 have worked very well. As part of our testing we included mirroring to a slow cable upload connection to test it as if it was used on a remote rural site. It worked perfectly, and as one of our engineers said – “The SimplStor R2 storage server rocks!”

Over the last month I have been in Australia and New Zealand and traveling around the USA to visit our clients. Our customer base in Australia and New Zealand continues to grow as more people look for affordable solutions for their legacy NetApp support. Additionally, our SimplStor storage line continues to grow and the Australian market interest in our CCTV storage and SimplStor with Windows R2 is strong and we expect 2015 to be a very good year in the region. 

As the Zerowait team travels the world and works with our Global customers we continue to discover new market opportunities for our NetApp support and SimplStor products, and as a storage and networking company we continue to grow by delivering solutions that our customers want.