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I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage

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Bob Zelin
I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 19, 2013 at 11:53:05 pm

God, I hope that this is NOT true.
I just heard that Active Storage just went out of business.

This is like a knife in the heart - not only to my clients that own Active Storage but to all manufacturers that compete with Active - because they are (were ?) the Rolls Royce of the business, and good guys, with great products.

I am hoping that someone will state on this forum that this is NOT true, and that I have just posted a stupid rumor.

Bob Zelin



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Bernard Lamborelle
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 20, 2013 at 3:11:06 am

Agreed. Great guys and great products... I hate to say this, but I hope you're wrong Bob!
Bernard


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Nate Laycook
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 20, 2013 at 6:12:23 am

Just heard this from our sales rep as well. I am shocked especially since I already have a closed and paid for sale that I was ready to place.


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Bob Zelin
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 20, 2013 at 7:15:46 pm

I will be "killed" by many clients who I have told to purchase Active Storage products, if in fact this is true. I hope I am completely wrong.

Bob Zelin



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Nate Laycook
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 20, 2013 at 7:47:56 pm

I will repsond back tomorrow once we talk with our Sales Rep to find out what the hell happened. We are going to have some frustrated customers as well that we have sold Active Storage to. It's interesting that the site says nothing about it but the other thing interesting on their site that I didn't notice until today was that Alex Grossman the founder and President, who was the VP of Storage and Servers at Apple prior to Active Storage left the company on December 21st of 2012 and then they announced mPath on January 7th. Seems a little strange, but will keep you posted with my findings.


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Eric Hansen
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 20, 2013 at 7:43:27 pm

[Nate Laycook] "I already have a closed and paid for sale that I was ready to place."

Same thing happened to me years ago when Apple discontinued the Xserve RAID. I was set to order the very next day, but had to wait a few months before the Promise RAID was ready to go. I'm glad we had the time to wait, but it was scary going with a new company.

I hope this isn't true. Active is one of the best.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Dick Ott
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 21, 2013 at 5:26:07 pm

It appears to be true Bob.
I heard from people that work there (small world, we all know each other) last week that they were looking for jobs; draw your conclusions.

I hate to see anybody lose their job that way (I have been in a few start-ups that went thud) and it is a bad position for the customers that embraced the company and products.

If by "Rolls Royce" you mean "slow and solid" then you may be correct; but their stuff was hardly the fastest or most robust storage for M&E.
At the end of the day it is all 1s and 0s and silicon and only so many ways to do it. You like the company, people, products, experience is varying degrees when you make choices like buying tech...


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Simon Blackledge
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 22, 2013 at 10:57:03 am

Shame :(



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Simon Blackledge
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 22, 2013 at 12:44:58 pm

Update: Apparently bought by Quantum.

s



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Dick Ott
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 22, 2013 at 6:18:48 pm

Yup, sales and support people at AS getting offers from Q.
They were using Stornext and Q can pick up the customer base.
So maybe not fatal news for Bob - unless he doesn't like Quantum...


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Bob Zelin
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Jan 24, 2013 at 3:18:07 am

all of this is true.
1) Active is out of business
2) Quantum has hired a lot of the guys, and picked up the slack.
HOWEVER to my understanding -
no one has picked up manufacturing, so no one at this moment can sell you additional XRAIDs or Active SAN. Those products are now toast, even though there are new ones at facilities waiting to be installed.

Bob Zelin



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Brendan Stark
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Feb 4, 2013 at 5:53:53 pm

We installed an mRaid at the end of last year. I'm really hoping Quantum buys their tech and continues to develop the product line. It would be hard to trust any company associated with Alex Grossman again if they totally abandon their old customers, so it should be worth it to Quantum.

Even if they don't, I'm counting on the system lasting 3+ years. That was the whole point of buying the best system in the first place... once it's up it should just work for a long time.


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Dick Ott
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Feb 5, 2013 at 1:07:28 am

Brendan, there is not really much tech to pick up.
AS was a "bundler", the RAID controllers/firmware was done by a company in Taiwan - Accusys - and the 'server' was Lunux + Stornext.
The only real IP they had was the new mPath HW and SW.

The same went for Apple - no 'storage wizardry' there - the controllers were made by Areca, a Taiwanese company, and they were not 'enterprise' by any stretch with no write cache mirroring.

You may have been better off with a company that owned all their own IP and had been around for more than three years, like Promise...


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Brendan Stark
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Feb 6, 2013 at 6:01:23 pm

We have a VTrak/Xserve combo that's worked great for years. The idea of installing a new xsan based on a Mac Pro taking up 1/3 of a rack or even a Mini in a Sonnet rack kit wasn't very attractive.

I'll give the old Active team a few more weeks to come up with a plan for their old customers. They seemed to be a customer focused company, so burning bridges


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Ian Liuzzi-Fedun
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Feb 11, 2013 at 5:04:19 pm

Have to disagree that their stuff was slow. It might not have been the fastest but it was proven to be faster than Promise which many people recommend and yes, it was and still is reliable.



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Dick Ott
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Feb 11, 2013 at 5:53:36 pm

Sorry but their storage was *not* faster than Promise's - proven by many users that actually followed the published best practices - and their hardware failure rate was far greater than that of Promise and others. And Promise VTrak will work with any OS, not just OS X, right out of the box without tweaks and groans.
I have several friends that ended up with AS due to the cost only and by late last year had the chassis out to scrap and the HDDs re-purposed; AS could not resolve their SAN issues and always responded with "it appears to be something you did on the SAN".
And they were going to retire the 16-bay unit - when it still has significant bugs that have not been resolved.
To be fair, they were a start-up and everybody has growing pains at that stage and it is too bad they did not have the opportunity to mature...


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Ian Liuzzi-Fedun
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Feb 13, 2013 at 4:13:00 am

You might indeed have more experience than I do, however I do recall reading at least two articles that pitted comparable units of Promise and Active together and Active was better. Putting that all aside, what issues should I be looking out for that your clients had? They had a good reputation from the people I talk to and from me, considering I am a customer. Add to that Bob Zelin's sound recommendation and they couldn't be all that bad.



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rodrigo fajardo
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Feb 18, 2013 at 4:49:30 pm

So what for now? i was just about days to expand my actual AS system but... surely i wont pay for a quantum system and i will not bet for small companies. I guess i will be back to Promise i have an old Vtrak which have worked flawlessly since 5 years ago. About the speed comparison between promise and AS i can say that head to head, my old vtrack is faster than the 16x3GB AS. It was something that i found one day when placing a big cache for transcoding files.

Someone told that AS went to Rorke data im having a look at their Galaxy hardware, it seems like prices are similar.

have anyone worked with Rorke? how about service and customer care?

best


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Raji Krishnaswami
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Feb 27, 2013 at 8:46:39 am

So:
1. AS was slower, proven by many users, and their hw failure rate was higher (are you talking HDD? controllers? or what?)
2. AS only worked with OS X
3. AS was cheaper than Promise
and
4. What were some of the significant unresolved bugs?


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Dick Ott
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Feb 27, 2013 at 5:10:36 pm

"They had a good reputation from the people I talk to"
I don't think anybody accused them of having a bad rep; remember, they were a start-up, not-for-profit company, and good customer service - at any cost - was vital to maintain growth.

"they couldn't be all that bad"
From the hardware POV there are only so many ways to store data; the AS controller was made by Accusys and they are nearly identical to the other dozen Taiwan-based companies - but they have really only had that level of RAID controller for a few years as compared to Promise and Infortrend.
You have to consider experience: other companies have years of engineering growth and millions of units shipped, AS could not have had more than a few thousand unit shipped.

"AS went to Rorke data"
The Rorke Galaxy line was Infortrend a few years ago and if you look at the box closely (I did at NAB) it is now Promise.


1. AS was slower, proven by many users, and their hw failure rate was higher (are you talking HDD? controllers? or what?)
No storage vendor can be responsible for HDD failures other than using a model not suited for the duty (desktop drives in a 24/7 subsystem) or not handling the myriad ways in which drives can hose the controller.
From what I saw and heard from a few re-sellers there were several controller failures that brought down the surviving 'good' controller, and even some cases of data loss.
Also stability issues in larger configs where adding or removing a client caused the Xsan to freeze as the LUNs became inaccessible.
I have personally witnessed the AS-to-dumpster process, not kidding.

2. AS only worked with OS X
And not perfectly; they appeared to have a problem with SAN state changes where new clients could not see the LUNs until the AS units were rebooted. This was not a switch or client config issue, purely AS controller firmware.

3. AS was cheaper than Promise
Not significantly, and many deals were closed by giving huge margins to undercut the competitors to help generate business and 'buzz'; remember they were a start-up and not-for-profit.
The price was competitive up front but would drop to close the deal - no profit there when you sell below cost.

4. What were some of the significant unresolved bugs?
See 1 and 2.

It is academic now as they are NLA and there will not be any support available at all.
Bear in mind that all of the shortcomings could have been addressed given time, but that wont happen now...


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Peder Morgenthaler
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Mar 7, 2013 at 5:34:58 am

In terms of high-performance RAID storage for XSAN, StorNext, etc. I highly recommend Dot Hill. Few have heard of them in this industry, because they're just entering this channel. But they've been one of the bigger OEMs for years, producing storage for some important companies. Their partner list in M&E includes Autodesk, DVS, Harris, HP, SGO (Mistika) & more. They're engineered in America, they own all their own IP, and the performance is amazing.

Standard disclaimer: I work with Dot Hill as a strategic consultant. I also run my post business on their boxes. They are rock-solid. I wouldn't work with them if I didn't believe in their products. So I'm not a shill.

I stumbled upon Dot Hill while looking for a Promise alternative, and haven't looked back. Its a real pleasure working with an American storage company that is producing class-leading products based on their own engineering, actively listening to the needs of leading post companies. In fact, you'll find Dot Hill boxes in some of the highest profile post facilities in Hollywood, employed on some of the worlds biggest blockbusters.

I'll be at their booth at NAB, and would welcome any questions. The boxes don't look nearly as sexy as Active's, but they perform like crazy, are price-competitive, and include a very innovative feature set.

Peder Morgenthaler
Editor | Colorist | VFX | DIT
Frame Linear
http://www.framelinear.com


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Ian Liuzzi-Fedun
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Mar 7, 2013 at 3:33:09 pm

What is this innovative feature set?



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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Mar 7, 2013 at 10:07:08 pm

[Peder Morgenthaler] "They're engineered in America, they own all their own IP, and the performance is amazing. "

[Peder Morgenthaler] "They are rock-solid. I wouldn't work with them if I didn't believe in their products. So I'm not a shill."

[Peder Morgenthaler] "The boxes ... perform like crazy, are price-competitive, and include a very innovative feature set."

[Peder Morgenthaler] "So I'm not a shill."

DEFINE SHILL:

shill /SHil/
Noun
An accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others.
Verb
Act or work as such a person: "your husband in the crowd could shill for you".

(I didn't know what "shill" meant until now.)


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Brendan Stark
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Mar 27, 2013 at 5:37:55 pm

I just received this email:

Greetings,

We are excited to report that Active Storage Support will be back online shortly, and apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may have caused with your Support request during our recent hiatus.
We will be at NAB in April, so please look for us there, and we can reconnect and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
If your service request has been resolved, please let us know, and we will update our records.
We will continue our commitment to deliver first class service, and we will work tirelessly to touch base with you in a timely manner to restore your faith in Active Storage

Best Regards,

The Active Storage Support Team


It looks like skytech.tv bought them out. This should be some good news for those of us with new Active SANs in production.


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Eric Savage-Ott
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 8, 2013 at 8:36:23 am

Save the Date - 05/01/2013


"The report of my death was an exaggeration." - Mark Twain


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rodrigo fajardo
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 8, 2013 at 9:41:24 pm

I have also received the same information, i hope they come back soon. by the way, would any of you keep buying from AS?


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Phil Smith
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 9, 2013 at 2:35:54 am

Here in Las Vegas, on the NAB floor, there are some folks talking about Active coming back. Apparently, a few of their customers got together along with some XSAN guys in LA, and are acquiring everything.

If they do, my answer to that question (would I buy them again?) would be "Hell yes!"

Active products are good. Arguably the best box in the market. Plus, I have invested heavily in the tech already. Why would I want to go through the pain of migrating my stuff?

Sure, there is the argument that they could go under again, but so could ANY company these days. This is a ridiculously volatile market, and Wall Street calls the shots, not the folks who are actually in the know at the company level.

If Active were brought back as a PRIVATE company, that would actually encourage me to buy. But, we will have to wait and see of course. I'm optimistic. :)

--
Phil Smith
There are no technical solutions to creative problems. Only creative solutions to technical problems.


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rodrigo fajardo
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 9, 2013 at 3:29:25 am

Hi Phil, keep us updated if you get any other related info there @NAB


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Phil Smith
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:59:23 pm

So, apparently the "unofficial" official date for Active is May 1st. Which makes me think that Mr. "Eric Savage-Ott" (above me in this thread) knows something.

My sources (which are made up of various resellers and fiber hardware folks, etc.), all tell me that the process is done but in the hands of attorneys, and that's likely why the long silence from the folks who are doing this. Apparently while these large deals are being made, no one can talk about anything.

But, all signs (that I have heard) point to Active coming back in one way or another, along with warranties being honored, upgrades and updates flowing again, etc. etc...

This could end up having a happy ending after all!

--
Phil Smith
There are no technical solutions to creative problems. Only creative solutions to technical problems.


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Ian Liuzzi-Fedun
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 18, 2013 at 9:35:44 pm

Still that they didn't make their customers aware is problematic - bad taste in one's mouth.



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Phil Smith
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 18, 2013 at 10:01:58 pm

I'm glad that you brought that up Ian because I have been wanting to say something to everyone that keeps saying things like that:

You all seem to think that the folks at Active had that choice. They wouldn't have had that option.

I have been through the shutdown of a company that was owned by a board of directors (aka Wall Street). It's a pretty horrible experience. Not only from the standpoint of everyone losing their jobs, shutting down, etc... but also from a communication perspective.

In my case, in order for me to be able to collect my severance package: I had to sign documents stating that I would not "under any circumstances, divulge any information pertaining to (the company's) progress to cease operations".

The reason that this is done is so that the a$$h0les on Wall Street can gut the company's bank accounts, bonus the hell out of themselves and the C-level execs, sell off any subsidiaries that are worth anything, and quietly get rid of any outstanding liquid assets... so that they can claim bankruptcy easily.

It's not that the company was TRULY bankrupt, it's that the execs figured out that the company was worth more to them dead (in the next 12 months) than it is alive. These guys are about quicker money, not long-term growth and longevity. Being able to claim bankruptcy gives them the ability to walk out on the employees, creditors, and ALL of the money that they owed to manufacturers who supported them.

Stop blaming Active Storage and their employees for not telling you what was going on. They didn't have a choice. I can guarantee you that it was as much of a surprise to them as it was to us, and in order for them to collect their last paychecks, they likely were sworn to silence.

Even the guys that went to Quantum from Active Storage haven't said jack about what really happened.

It's because they can't.

--
Phil Smith
There are no technical solutions to creative problems. Only creative solutions to technical problems.


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rodrigo fajardo
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 18, 2013 at 11:36:41 pm

I was expecting nice news from NAB but i got different, of course not official but i have been told that in no way AS will come back. I hope this is not true, but it would make sense according to your words Ian.


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Ian Liuzzi-Fedun
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 19, 2013 at 1:54:46 am

And I am happy this came up now so I can defend myself.

At some point the folks at Active chose to enter into an agreement without a clause that would allow them to be open with their customers should an event like this arise. Also, as far as the sales team goes, they all got swept away by Quantum so getting their last paycheck was not something the investors would have had any leverage on. There were events toward the beginning of fall 2012 that also signaled rumblings so I wouldn't be so sure that it was so much of a surprise.

Point being, if the remaining folks from Active start up again, while they may have the best intentions at heart, without putting something into place for an event like this I couldn't trust them anymore than the next guy.



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Phil Smith
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 19, 2013 at 2:54:16 am

A rebuttal:

1) The employees at a company don't choose to enter such agreements, those at the top do. Management does what it wants/needs/desires. Usually for money. Those below don' t get a vote. So your statements about "the folks" would be misplaced. It would, however, make sense if you were talking solely about management.

2) My example (taken from personal experience) was not about the "last paycheck". My example was SEVERANCE pay. It's EXTREMELY valuable when being given your walking papers in an economy with high unemployment rates. I would suggest maybe not looking at the situation quite so idealistically.

3) You pulled a FOX news when you made the vague statement of: "There were events toward the beginning of fall 2012 that also signaled rumblings so I wouldn't be so sure that it was so much of a surprise." - What events? "Awful rumors" have been heard about every other storage company in existence, from Promise to DotHill to Quantum. They come and go with changes of underwear.

4) Consider this statement: "Hey guys, we're not doing so well. We might be shutting the doors sometime soon. So maybe you wouldn't want to buy our products... oh, and we're doing this press release as a heads up so that all of our creditors can get a jump start on suing us for the money they are owed. Thanks."
- said by No Company, EVER.

If your statement is suggesting that you wouldn't buy anything from a company that wouldn't warn you that is was going out of business, don't buy anything ever again. Wait... except for mattresses... those stores are going out of business every week.

Cheers.

--
Phil Smith
There are no technical solutions to creative problems. Only creative solutions to technical problems.


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Ian Liuzzi-Fedun
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 19, 2013 at 2:58:00 am

1) Management indeed. I've heard tons of good stuff about the top folks there and this is something I would think they wouldn't overlook.

2)If you have a job waiting at another company I can be as idealistic as I want

3) Fair enough

4) While a warning would be nice before they did so I can understand for business reasons why they wouldn't. I am all about after the fact - keep us in the loop as there are people with much more cash in the Active game than I who are just that much more anxious.

My statement simply indicates there would be nothing to necessarily draw me back to Active - "couldn't trust them anymore than the next guy"



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Phil Smith
Re: I have just heard a TERRIBLE rumor about Active Storage
on Apr 19, 2013 at 3:05:12 am

Well, then in a round-about way, we are in total agreement. Let's have a beer.

Cheers.

--
Phil Smith
There are no technical solutions to creative problems. Only creative solutions to technical problems.


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