Microsoft to lift and shift StorSimple data into Azure blobs

More evidence, if any were needed, that Microsoft wants you to sign for more Azure

Microsoft's ambition to paint the enterprise azure is accelerating, with the news that Redmond's StorSimple arrays will be able to convert the data they store into Azure Blobs.

StorSimple started life as a vanilla iSCSI unified storage array that, at the time of its launch, could store VMs, databases or files but also offered the novel trick of also shunting data into the cloud. The company treated the cloud as a tier of storage, a way to free up space by sending “cold” files to the cloud, or just as a boring old backup target.

In late 2012 Microsoft decided it liked the look of that trick, acquired the company and within a year was giving away StorSimple arrays to those willing to commit to lots of Azure storage.

Today Microsoft's revealed a new “StorSimple Data Transformation” service that takes whatever data you store on the arrays and, once uploaded, converts them into the format Azure uses to store data. Doing so means Azure services can quickly act on the data.

Microsoft says it has a call centre customer who thinks this is a splendid idea, as they'll be able to upload recordings of calls and throw Azure Media services at them to analyse things like caller sentiment.

Redmond reckons this arrangement makes StorSimple an even more useful hybrid array, which of course it would say. But this move is surely also notable in the context of Microsoft's shift to have its sales people prioritise Azure consumption.

It may also be a pointer to how Azure Stack, Microsoft's forthcoming on-premises-mini-Azure, will behave. Microsoft's talking up how pleasant it will be to have a hybrid cloud that behaves the same no matter whether the hardware is in your bit barn, or whatever Azure resides. Left unspoken is that Azure serves Microsoft best when you use the many services it offers beyond compute and storage.

The data transformation service is currently a private preview. We'll let you know when it opens to world+dog. ®

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