Storage UPDATE--September 29, 2003
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At the Windows Storage Server 2003 launch event on September 10, I interviewed Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's Enterprise Storage division. During our discussion, Muglia talked about new opportunities, competition, and Microsoft's future direction in the storage market. I learned a lot and want to share the interview to bring you up-to-date about what Microsoft has been up to.
Smith: Currently, only Direct Attached Storage (DAS) and Storage Area Network (SAN) solutions support Microsoft Exchange Server. When will Network Attached Storage (NAS) solutions directly support Exchange Server?
Muglia: You'll see Exchange Server supported on future versions of Windows Storage Server some time in 2004. Key to this support is the infrastructure we've built into Exchange Server 2003, Windows Storage Server 2003, and Windows Server 2003. We need technologies such as Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and other technologies to provide seamless constant data integrity.
Muglia: Our competitors are Network Appliance (NetApp) on the high end and Snap Appliance on the low end. Given Windows Storage Server's attractive price point for the provided functionality, we believe Dell and Iomega will effectively compete against Snap Appliance. As for competing against NetApp, we believe Windows Storage Server's new performance enhancements, as well as some of our partners' innovations, give us a very competitive package. One enhancement is the significantly improved performance of our NFS engine. In addition, we partnered with NSI Software to provide a rich set of remote replication features. Also, EMC is currently shipping NetWin, a Windows Storage Server-based NAS head, with its SAN products. The EMC/Microsoft relationship is key to enterprise customers and provides a very competitive alternative to NetApp NAS heads.
Muglia: NetApp and Snap Appliance are our main Linux-based storage competitors. Before we launched Windows Storage Server, we had some customers migrate their file and print servers off of Windows NT servers to Linux-based NAS products. The introduction of Windows Storage Server products then stopped such migrations and started us down the path of gaining market share against Linux-based NAS products. Our Windows Storage Server hardware partners are convinced that Windows is a better platform. The partners have witnessed increased capabilities with reduced Research and Development (R&D) costs compared to developing on the Linux platform.
Smith: According to market research firm IDC, Windows Storage Server products have gained 41 percent unit market share. What does Microsoft need to do to grow the market beyond 41 percent for Windows Storage Server 2003?
Muglia: Education. We need to clearly and specifically define Windows Server Systems' role and the role of Windows Storage Server. We want our customers to think of Windows Storage Server first when they're looking to deploy file and print servers.
Muglia: Commoditization of SANs is the next evolution of networked storage. In the near future, we believe that delivering a $15,000 SAN is very possible. At this price point, we believe networked storage will gain a new level of traction. We have guys in our storage lab that are currently working on technical problems surrounding a $15,000 SAN.
In my next commentary, I'll provide part two of my interview with Muglia, in which we discussed future technologies that let you centrally administer storage devices, Windows Storage Server 2003's contribution to the SAN market, and whether Microsoft will create a standard GUI for configuring a SAN. To find our more about Windows Storage Server 2003, click the following link:
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Hoping to improve its position in the entry-level storage market, Network Appliance (NetApp) launched new Fabric Attached Storage (FAS) systems, which connect directly to networks and don't have to be attached to a computer. The three new systems will comprise a new product family called the FAS200 series and will include the FAS250, the FAS270, and the FAS270c for clusters.
The FAS250 provides as much as 1TB of storage capacity; features 36GB, 72GB, or 144GB Fibre Channel drives; and supports Internet SCSI (iSCSI), Common Internet File System (CIFS), NFS, and HTTP protocols. The FAS270 provides as much as 4TB of storage capacity and includes a cluster option (i.e., the FAS270c). The FAS250 and the FAS270 are designed for Network Attached Storage (NAS) and iSCSI Storage Area Network (SAN) environments. Both solutions are available in a 3U (5.25") rack-mount or tower form factor. NetApp is targeting the new solutions at small and midsized companies and distributed-computing applications. Pricing starts at $10,000. The FAS series costs considerably less than NetApp's other storage systems, which start at $150,000 and can sell for more than $1 million.
Last week, the company also announced that many application partners have signed on to work with and develop products for NetApp's SnapLock Compliance solution. That product helps companies easily comply with regulations that require retention and management of email, documents, database, data, and other corporate records. Companies that support the technology are AXS-One, CYA Technologies, Documentum, EDUCOM TS, Enigma Data Systems, iLumin, IXOS, KVS, and Legato Princeton Softech.
EMC has released new storage management software for small and midsized organizations that want to simplify and automate their network storage environments. Part of the company's Visual family of software, the EMC VisualSRM and EMC VisualSAN solutions feature centralized management capabilities, capacity utilization improvements, and the ability to automate Storage Resource Management (SRM) and Storage Area Network (SAN) management tasks.
EMC VisualSRM provides file-level reporting and supports Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and Sybase databases. The company designed the product to easily integrate into application frameworks from BMC Software, Computer Associates (CA), IBM, HP, and VERITAS Software. VisualSRM lets storage administrators track and enforce capacity utilization and policy configuration for moving, deleting, compressing, and archiving files according to date thresholds and category-based storage management.
EMC VisualSAN provides an interface that gives administrators information about storage devices across their networks. The product includes three modules: Visual Network Management, VisualSAN Configuration Management, and VisualSAN Performance Management. Visual Network Management monitors SAN devices and integrates the other modules. VisualSAN Configuration Manager reports storage system configuration changes. VisualSAN Performance Manager shows live and historical analysis of link statistics across a SAN. The product is designed for open SAN management and supports EMC CLARiiON. The company has pledged to support the upcoming Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) in VisualSAN after the specification is finalized.
Forum member Mynetwork wants help from someone who knows how to work with VERITAS Software products. Mynetwork has two backup servers--the first server backs up one domain, and the second server backs up two domains. The first server runs a perfect backup except when it has to back up itself. The second server states that it doesn't have correct credentials for one server, then it backs up one file from that server and doesn't back up files from the other server. To lend this member a helping hand, click
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MaXXan Systems announced an enterprise Network Attached Storage (NAS) gateway solution that's built on Windows Storage Server 2003 and integrates with MaXXan's MXV Intelligent Application Switch. The SG210m targets data center environments such as telecommunications, financial services, health care, and energy industries. Pricing starts at $19,250.
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