Microsoft is targeting an expanded set of storage workloads with a new StorSimple product offering and an update to its 8000 Series of hybrid cloud storage arrays, the company announced this week. In an early sign of the company's enterprise cloud ambitions, the Redmond, Wash., software maker acquired StorSimple in 2012.
First is the new StorSimple Virtual Array, aimed at more modest IT environments like those in satellite offices. Running on either VMware or Hyper-V, Virtual Array can be configured as network-attached storage (NAS) or as a storage area network (SAN).
"The StorSimple Virtual Array also delivers integrated primary storage, data protection, archiving, and disaster recovery capabilities in a single, easy to deploy solution designed for small environments where there is minimal IT infrastructure and management," noted Mike Neil, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise unit, in a Dec. 16 announcement.
"With the StorSimple Virtual Array, customers no longer need to centralize data protection and disaster recovery at the main data center," Neil continued. Echoing one of several of the IT benefits of the hybrid cloud, StorSimple Virtual Array provides customers with "a highly scalable, consistent, and cost-effective approach to managing data growth and data protection across all their environments, including remote and branch offices," he added.
Headquarters remain in control, however. Storage management is handled by StorSimple Manage, which provides a centralized view of all Virtual Array deployments. The StorSimple Virtual Array is available now in preview.
Finally, more than half a year since Microsoft issued the first major update to its StorSimple 8000 series of hybrid cloud storage arrays, the company is following up by adding a local volumes capability.
"Local volumes enable primary storage to be stored within the local tier of the StorSimple 8000 series physical array or the StorSimple Virtual Array, without the data being tiered to Azure to provide the performance needed for applications that cannot tolerate cloud latencies," Neil explained. " A local volume is ideal for on-premises workloads that have high IO requirements, such as SQL Server, and storage for Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines."
Also making its debut this week as part of Update 2 is a new, faster-performing StorSimple Cloud Appliance. The update adds support for solid-state drives (SSDs). "Therefore, the new StorSimple Cloud Appliance provides higher storage performance for a wider range of cloud-based applications that can use enterprise data backed up in Azure by StorSimple," Neil stated.
Microsoft has made it easier for storage administrators to get their virtualized environments back up and running after a mishap.
"Further, to help automate disaster recovery of virtual machines, we are also introducing automation scripts that integrate workflows between Azure Site Recovery and StorSimple 8000 series," Neil said. "Customers can now protect and orchestrate the recovery of virtual machines and their data volumes that are hosted on StorSimple in Azure."