Microsoft, Western Digital Partner on Small Office Storage Servers

The Western Digital servers will include the Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials operating system software.

Digital storage solutions specialist Western Digital announced it will be offering a small-office storage server product and has signed an OEM software agreement with Microsoft to include the Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials operating system software.

Western Digital plans to combine its storage technologies with Microsoft's operating system to deliver a storage solution for the small business market. The company said the aim is to deliver a product that simplifies connection, protection and collaboration online for small businesses and the information technology services organizations that support them.

"By combining Microsoft's platform with Western Digital's strength in the storage market, the two organizations bring extraordinary synergies that boost productivity and efficiency for small business. With this, Western Digital will offer storage solutions for small business that provide centralized, online shared storage capable of meeting the storage requirements of the small business owners in today's fast-paced business environment," said Thomas Gallivan, the company's vice president of marketing for SMB branded products.

According to Forrester Research, small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) will outpace the projected IT market growth rate of 7.1 percent. In terms of infrastructure spending increases, storage and servers top SMBs' hardware budget plans. Slightly more than half (53 percent) of SMBs indicate that they will increase their storage spend. To serve this market, Western Digital joined with Microsoft to incorporate advanced online features so businesses can securely share information with clients, consultants or satellite offices located anywhere in the world.

"Small businesses will find great value in the combination of WD's hardware solutions and the recently released Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials solution from Microsoft," said Nick Parker, vice president of worldwide marketing for the OEM division at Microsoft. I am excited about the opportunity we have with WD and their solutions for helping small businesses run more efficiently."

Forrester's April report, "Demand Insights: The SMB Hardware Infrastructure Market," said suppliers of infrastructure hardware to SMB buyers are poised for better times, given plans by SMBs to upgrade their software and associated hardware infrastructures-but only for those vendors that embrace and deliver a broad-portfolio services and solutions orientation. "Storage and server technologies top SMBs' budget lists, but much of that will be consumed by the SMB market as a cloud service," wrote Forrester principal analyst Tim Harmon. "2011 and 2012 will be marked years for SMB client device form-factor transition, too, as data-hungry tablets emerge as viable business devices."