Microsoft Locks Up OEM Support for NAS

Buoyed by support from key partners, Microsoft
said Monday it has taken its feature pack for consolidating data from Exchange Server 2003 on network attached storage (NAS) devices running Windows Storage Server 2003 to general availability.


Original equipment manufacturers EMC , Dell and HP will be offering the feature pack on their NAS devices. The goal is to help customers boost
return on investment by consolidating files and data stored on Exchange Server 2003.


Marcus Schmidt, senior project manager Windows Storage Server 2003 at
Microsoft, said the pack will be offered on EMC NetWin, Dell PowerVault
and
HP StorageWorks NAS devices.


The pledge of support could give Microsoft a greater inroad into the
NAS
software market, where it competes with the likes of Network Appliance
at
the high end and Linux and open source vendors at the low end, Schmidt
told
internetnews.com.


“Plus, we have a really good set of independent software vendors (ISVs)
coming out in support of this feature pack,” Schmidt said. “Those
include
Computer Associates, Legato, VERITAS Software and Commvault.”


Windows Storage Server 2003, a complete file server with features such
as
Volume Shadow Copy Service for single snapshot views of storage, is a
key
component of the Windows Server System for enabling XML-driven Web
services
based on Microsoft’s .NET platform.

The feature pack was released
to manufacturing at Storage Networking World Spring 2004 last month,
and is
geared to help small and medium-sized businesses, or departments of
larger
companies, pare storage costs without taking the system down.


“The big win here is for customers that have been asking us for this for quite
some
time,” Schmidt said. “They want another option for their Exchange data
that
isn’t just direct-attached storage or fibre channel SANs.”


For example, the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania is using the
feature
pack to manage volumes of e-mail. Microsoft and HP offered the school
the
pack to the school. The staff ran a hundred thousand e-mail messages
through their Exchange Server and now get them stored and retrieved off their
Storage
Server in about 10 minutes. The school now has 1,000 Exchange mailboxes
storing data on Windows Storage Server.


Going forward, Schmidt said he and his staff are working on providing
storage management capabilities for Windows Storage Server 2003.

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