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Microsoft Finalizes StorSimple Acquisition

Microsoft completed its acquisition of StorSimple, a provider of of cloud-integrated storage (CIS) appliances, on Thursday, one month after announcing the deal.

With the acquisition, Microsoft gains StorSimple's CIS platform. The platform, aimed at businesses with a lot of data on their hands, "seamlessly integrates on-premises and cloud-based storage through intelligent automation and data management," according to an announcement by Michael Park, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Server and Tools Division.

StorSimple's appliances are certified for use with both Windows Server 2008 and VMware platforms. The advantage of the platform is that it offers a single solution for storage (both locally and in the cloud), as well as for archiving and disaster recovery.

Apparently, StorSimple will continue to support both platforms, based on a Microsoft spokesperson's statement made last month when the acquisition was first announced. Ursheet Parikh, StorSimple's co-founder and CEO, seemed to affirm that notion in a released statement.

"As we move forward with Microsoft, we will expand our development and go-to-market teams with the goal of seeing cloud-integrated storage (CiS) become a best practice for enterprise data centers across the globe," Parikh wrote in a blog post. "We look forward to building up the relationships we have and making new ones going forward."

In April, StorSimple released its second-generation appliances for enterprise cloud storage. The StorSimple appliances (models 5020, 5520, 7020 and 7520) can support up to 100 TB of local storage and feature faster cloud backup speeds for disaster recovery scenarios, according to the company. StorSimple claims that its appliances can perform a data recovery operation of up to 100 TB per day using a 50-Mbps wide area network (WAN) link.

The use of such cloud storage gateway appliances may be needed to help jumpstart businesses into tapping the cloud for storage, which can reduce their capital expenditure costs associated with purchasing storage hardware, according to Andrew Reichman, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, in an October 2011 StorSimple-hosted webinar. He explained that cloud storage is just new for many organizations, so everything has to work just right. He defined cloud storage as sending data over a WAN link into a datacenter that houses other data in a multitenancy relationship.

An April Enterprise Strategy Group market report on "Cloud-Integrated Storage" (available at StorSimple's site here) defines CIS as "a new storage category." CIS systems have the advantage of integrating with local management systems in an organization. However, not all of the data is stored in an operator's public cloud, according to the report.

"A typical CiS approach will have the primary and/or most active data staying onsite (as a tier or cache) with the cloud used -- usually with the data encrypted of course -- for less active data and as an easily scalable archive as well as for powerful remote data protection and business continuity capabilities."

The ESG report describes StorSimple as an innovator in this CIS field. Other vendors that mostly focus on the gateway functions include Amazon Storage Gateway, Riverbed and TwinStrata. Vendors focusing on file access include Nasuni and Panzura. F5 Networks is involved too, but focused on policies associated with moving files, according to the report.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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