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Microsoft Launches Solution To Extend StorSimple Data to Azure

Microsoft this week announced the "general availability" of StorSimple Data Manager, a solution that converts data stored by StorSimple into a format that can be used with various Azure services.

Microsoft acquired StorSimple, described as a "cloud-integrated storage" hardware appliance for backing up data, back in 2012. A StorSimple appliance would typically be used to tap public cloud datacenters to store infrequently used data while keeping the "hot" data on a local storage device.

It seems that organizations may have wanted to use the data that got stored in Microsoft's Azure cloud datacenters. However, up until now, that data was in a compressed and encrypted format that Azure doesn't use.

The new StorSimple Data Manager aims to address that issue. Despite its name, StorSimple Data Manager doesn't manage data. Rather, it converts StorSimple-saved data into Azure Blobs or Azure files in a so-called "native format." When converted to the native Azure format, the files can be used by Azure-based services such as HDInsight, Azure Machine Learning, Azure Media Services and Azure Search.

Update 2/28: StorSimple Data Manager appears to be the successor to the StorSimple Data Transformation preview Microsoft announced back on Nov. 2016. Thanks to Jim Gaynor, an analyst with independent consultancy Directions on Microsoft, for the long memory!

The data can be transformed using the "Azure Portal, .NET applications or Azure Automation," according to Microsoft's announcement. Organizations can transform all StorSimple data or just some data.

StorSimple Data Manager is currently available in seven Azure regions, but it can be used to transform data in 19 regions, Microsoft explained in this "Overview" document. That's a bit confusing since the document further advises StorSimple Data Manager users to use the same region for their source storage account (where StorSimple data are lodged) and the target storage account (where the native format data should be stored).

"You have to pay for the job, for the data converted out of the StorSimple-optimized format, and then for storage costs where the data lands," Gaynor explained via e-mail. "And that's part of why they're advising to keep your jobs in-region -- if the target storage account is in a different region than the StorSimple data source, you'll pay data egress costs to copy the data to the other region."

Microsoft actually charges StorSimple users to use StorSimple Data Manager. Using StorSimple Data Manager costs $1.50 per job and $0.005 per GB of data transformed. That's on top of the monthly costs for using the StorSimple appliance itself, as described at Microsoft's pricing page.

About the Author

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