Email hosting provider Microsoft's (News - Alert) strategy going forward seems to be largely based in the cloud. Windows RT tablets, obviously sporting much less storage capacity than full desktops, include cloud storage features via the company's own SkyDrive service.
Recently, the technology giant took another step forward into the cloud by acquiring StorSimple, a company which makes appliances meant to seamlessly integrate with cloud-based storage. Many have been quick to point out that StorSimple's appliances use a standard iSCSI interface compatible with such cloud and object storage infrastructures as Amazon S3 and, more significantly, Windows Azure.
Frankly, this acquisition isn't much of a surprise since StorSimple has always been fairly Microsoft oriented in the three years it has been around. In fact, the company's initial strategy was to pitch its appliance as a primary storage product for Microsoft applications such as Exchange and SQL Server, later shifting to secondary storage applications.
Actually, earlier this year, StorSimple was selected as a hardware partner for the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) alliances program. The company has also been an active participant in the Microsoft BizSpark program and was named the Microsoft BizSpark Partner of the Year in 2011.
StorSimple's appliances leverage both flash and traditional hard disk storage, creating a local cache for data stored in the cloud. As such, applications which require low storage latency can cache an entire volume, using cloud storage as a real-time backup offering. The appliance creates, encrypts, deduplicates and then compresses data before it is sent to the cloud, ensuring that data is secure while also cutting down on bandwidth usage.
While some have expressed concern over Microsoft stepping into the role of core IT hardware supplier, its first time doing so, in reality StorSimple's appliances are really all about the software — an area in which the company has plenty of expertise. Besides, StorSimple's appliances have been recognized as quality products, having been recognized by Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com in the 2011 Product of the Year awards.
Edited by Jamie Epstein