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Partners Line Up Behind SQL Appliance Opportunity

In technology, the idea with an appliance is unpack it, start it and forget it.

Things aren't quite so simple with the new Enterprise Database Consolidation Appliances and SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse Appliances from HP, Dell and others that package up SQL Server database software, the Windows Server operating system, server hardware and storage that can range up to 500 terabytes of data. It's designed with a simple purpose -- to centralize and simplify the data platform across an enterprise. But that's no elementary task.

That's why Microsoft is turning to a few highly specialized partners, such as Dallas-based Microsoft National Systems Integrator Scalability Experts, to walk customers through the process.

"Scalability Experts' deep database experience will help customers by providing assessments, architectural design review sessions, proof of concepts and other implementation services to make sure customers get the most value from their appliance," said Tobias Schmidt, senior product manager at Microsoft, in a statement announcing the Scalability Experts service this month. Scalability Experts is a 10-year-old firm with Microsoft Partner Network competencies in Data Platform and Business Intelligence.

"We are seeing a significant increase in market interest and demand for appliance solutions developed by Microsoft, HP and other hardware vendors," said Raj Gill, CTO and president of Scalability Experts, in the statement. "With the growth in data that companies are experiencing each year and the costs associated with application sprawl, many are looking for easier solutions to improve capacity, increase scalability and simplify their database infrastructure. These appliances provide a very efficient way to meet a customer's growing needs."

Scalability Experts joins Avanade, the global Microsoft-focused systems integrator, which announced plans in December to spin up a 350-person practice around the appliances.

Microsoft's appliance effort is often described as a response to the success of Oracle's Exabyte database appliances.

Avanade clearly believes the opportunity around the appliances is huge. "This new practice represents a large opportunity, as appliances are expected to account for approximately 40 percent of database growth in the next three years," Avanade said in the statement announcing its appliance practice plans.

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 12, 2012