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Microsoft's storage push

Ezine

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With a growing NAS customer base and major upgrades to Windows Storage Server on the way, Microsoft is serious about becoming a major player in storage. But can it secure a place in your data center?

IT'S CERTAINLY NOT NEWS THAT MICROSOFT CORP. wants to become a big player in storage. But can the Redmond, WA, behemoth go toe to toe with companies such as EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co., IBM Corp., Network Appliance (NetApp) Inc. and Symantec Corp.? Because Microsoft has established hegemony in other IT markets, it's prudent to scrutinize its storage roadmap to determine what a mature Microsoft storage strategy may look like and what technologies, partnerships and strategies it will leverage along the way. While its success is far from assured, if Microsoft can extend its dominance to storage, end users will undoubtedly feel the effects.

Microsoft storage technologies are broadly improving, albeit with varying rates of maturity. Looking past the market hype, it's apparent that there are four major areas where Microsoft will have an enduring impact on the storage industry:

  • File serving and NAS
  • Data protection
  • Remote-office support
  • SAN and storage management

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Microsoft Storage Timeline
Click here for a look at Microsoft's Storage Timeline (PDF).

Storage professionals should evaluate Microsoft's progress along these distinct functional lines, rather than try to make sense of the numerous individual component technologies the firm announces with its platforms. By tracking Microsoft's strategies in these four areas, storage managers will be better equipped to make solid decisions about when and where to consider Microsoft products for their storage environments.

This was first published in March 2006

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