Feeds

Microsoft lures punters to hybrid storage cloud with free storage arrays

Spend on Azure, get StorSimple box at the low, low price of $0

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

Microsoft is giving away its StorSimple arrays to customers willing to spend up big on Azure services.

Microsoft acquired StorSimple in October 2012. The company made more or less vanilla iSCSI SAN, but could also dump data intro the cloud and present that data to servers as if it were a local resource.

StorSimple arrays can still do that, and target any cloud storage service, but Microsoft has made sure it plays nicely with Azure and Windows Server 2012. In a demo seen by The Reg today in Sydney, about five minutes effort was required to create a volume on Azure and then use StorSimple to present it as just another drive available under Windows Server 2012.

Microsoft's not going after the transactional storage market, preferring instead to offer an alternative to those seeking cold storage for infrequently-accessed files. That the StorSimple arrays offer an iSCSI interface means Redmond feels its hybrid cloud plans will be attractive as applications and infrastructure won't need to be rewired to talk to cloud storage services' RESTful APIs. StorSimple boxen will take care of that chatter while appearing to be a very familiar piece of kit.

Microsoft chaps at the event floated the notion that adding a disk drawer to a conventional array can cost upwards of $200,000, while a whole StorSimple box ready to go with a few terabytes and using the cloud costs rather less. Throw in the cloud for some extra capacity and Redmon is confident it comes out ahead. That assumption came on slides that omitted mention of data egress costs, although spokesfolk were quick to note that data in cold storage won't be accessed all that often.

Microsoft concluded the event with an offer whereby organisations that spend $AUD55,000 on Azure will be given a 6.5TB array. Those willing to stump up $AUD110,000 get a 20TB box to play with. Microsoft representatives at the event said the offer is global and is based on a US dollar spend of $50,000 and $100,000. The offer expires at the end of 2013.

Microsoft's ability to make that offer comes, in part, from a hiring spree that has seen it set up StorSimple sales and support teams around the world. In Australia the company has hoovered up folks with experience at tier one storage companies. The Reg understands similar team-building efforts have taken place around the world.

Microsoft has dabbled in storage for years, largely through its NAS platform Windows Storage Server. Windows Server 2012 saw the company attempt to match VMware's SAN integration chops. StorSimple takes Redmond to a new level altogether, making it a credible hybrid cloud storage player in a thinly-populated market. VMware's vCloud hybrid service is promising and integrates deeply with vSphere. NetApp's Direct Connect deal with Amazon Web Services is another alternative.

Redmond's vast customer base, extensive channel and ownership of Azure's ten data centres mean it deserves to be considered a serious hybrid storage cloud contender. Without wanting to be sycophantic, the audience Vulture South was part of today agreed: asked if Microsoft is a storage company at the start of the session, almost no hands were raised. By the end of the session many more headed skywards.

The notion that Microsoft is a devices and services company also looked rather less like a surface-level presentation. ®

Best practices for enterprise data

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?