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Microsoft: The great storage facilitator?

Kevin Komiega

PALM DESERT, Calif. --Microsoft Corp., has made it abundantly clear in recent months that it wants a piece of the storage software market and at the Storage Networking World conference on Wednesday, one of the company's storage strategists explained how it plans to facilitate the growth of storage through working with partners.

"If we can work at a platform level to help drive the industry forward all kinds of new applications could be unlocked," said Bob Muglia, senior vice president, Microsoft Corp.'s Enterprise Storage Services Groups.

Muglia said Microsoft is focused on advancing the underlying file system to deliver a higher level of storage management capabilities. But, he said, it will take time to accomplish.

Future applications and appliances are destined to eat up storage capacity at incredible rates, according to Tom Rollins, vice president of marketing for Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Networked Storage Solutions Organization.

He said wireless appliances are pushing a lot of storage applications to the edge of business environments. "The fact is that content is being generated on the edge, but it also needs to be managed on the back end," said Rollins.

But new levels of interoperability and management capabilities are going to be necessary to enable new devices and applications. Rollins said HP is building self-management capabilities into storage software that lets the system handle the details and lets the user get

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on with growing their business.

Microsoft shares a similar view.

In the short term, Muglia said Microsoft is looking to introduce applications like ShadowCopy snapshot technology and self-tuning applications that manage their own data without user intervention.

Also on the Microsoft roadmap is a Virtual Disk Service consisting of a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) built into the operating system to enable management of underlying storage resources.

"Five or ten years from now the storage industry will find different ways to work with applications," said Muglia.

If Microsoft can leverage its industry clout to develop a standard schema for managing and sharing data across multiple storage devices, storage management technology could advance at a much faster rate than the industry anticipates.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

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