Microsoft Readies Windows Storage Server 2003 Release
The company's Enterprise Storage Division is making changes to its NAS offerings and courting additional OEM partners. Storage Supersite Editor discusses the group's strategy with a couple of product managers.Over the past couple of years, Microsofts Enterprise Storage Division has signed up an increasing list of OEM partners for its network-attached storage architecture, and the result has been strong growth in sales of Windows-powered NAS. And more changes are due next month with the launch of the groups next-generation design, which is dubbed Storage Server 2003. However, other than the MS seal of approval and the confidence that imprimatur can bring to some parts of the market, whats the appeal to storage vendors? Could it be the very same things we customers look for in a technology supplier?
Check out Microsoft Watchs and the changes due with the forthcoming Microsoft Installer 3.0 technology.
"Were providing our OEMs with a performance cookbook, so they can tune the OS for different environments and boost the server performance, so they can have more than a straight out-of-the-box experience. We couldnt do that before." Lorenson wouldnt comment on specific features slated for WSS 2004, other than a wry "software related to data and storage." However, he said the group was tasked with determining the future shape of storage management features for the SKUs. Or even whether the capabilities will be added to the core software or offered as a separate product. Meanwhile, Microsoft also offers its OEM customers marketing assistance, leveraging its longstanding relationships with enterprise and SMB (small and mid-sized business) accounts and running joint marketing campaigns. Vanessa Lee, another product manager at the Enterprise Storage Division, said the group has hired a team of storage market specialists in different geographic areas to support its OEM partners. They assist with training of sales staff, for both Microsoft software as well as with applications such as backup and recovery. Of course, this all sounds so easy. But theres a considerable span between the selection of a "SKU" and the product that we can purchase from a storage vendor. And customers will evaluate those products on their merits. Still, in many ways the storage vendor, regardless of its size, will judge a technology supplier just like you and me. They appreciate good service and support. Certainly, Microsofts storage group will have a beefier pitch to OEM partners with Windows Storage Server 2003. David Morgenstern is a longtime reporter of the storage industry as well as a veteran of the dotcom boom in the storage-rich fields of professional content creation and digital video.