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SharePoint Meets Appliance Meets Cloud: A Content Management System

“The number one content management system is the shared file drive,” says Ian Howells of StorSimple. “SharePoint 2010 changed the game—it’s a serious ECM system. It’s also come at at a time when people are changing how they buy—they’re buying on a project basis.”

StorSimple’s hybrid solution combines an appliance with the cloud, offering the best features of both, he says. It offers storage for SharePoint and Exchange, freeing up SAN storage and enabling SharePoint to become an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system that can support terabytes of content.

“You plug the SharePoint optimizer onto your network—it’s a pizza-sized box. You don’t have to use someone else’s software. The key thing is, we use the Microsoft infrastructure. We optimize, minimize, and encrypt data you send through the appliance.”

Integrated deduplication reduces the storage of redundant data, reducing BLOB size by as much as 80 percent. With automatic BLOB separation, he says, “We’ve made databases 95 percent smaller. When they’re smaller, they can run quicker and and be more easily managed. 41 minute backups are turned to 38 seconds. A system can be recovered in seconds as opposed to minutes.”

“RBS [Remote BLOB Storage] is the first step and it opens the floodgates to use SharePoint to its full potential. But it’s just the first step—what do you do next? How do you manage all that data? You can tier data into the cloud,” Howells says.

With tiered storage, you can store the database and temporary database  on high-speed SSDs, the log files on SAS drives, and manage the BLOB content, storing "hot " content on SSD, cooler content on SAS drives, and cold content in the cloud. “We make the cloud look like a disk drive to your existing apps,” he says.

“I tend not to double my employees in a year, but I can’t predict how much content they’ll generate. The cloud is made for content. The cloud is nice because you get it now and pay for what you use,” Howells says.

StorSimple recently announced it is the first cloud storage offering to pass the Windows Hardware Quality Lab testing.  Specifically, StorSimple passed the “Certified for Windows Server 2008 R2” level. This means that Windows Servers can now connect and store data and content in the cloud, in a Microsoft certified way, for the first time. To learn more about StorSimple’s hybrid solution, see its website.

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