Microsoft to roll out new Azure StorSimple cloud storage arrays

Microsoft is rolling out new storage arrays that tie into Azure, which are fruits of its 2012 acquisition of storage vendor StorSimple.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

In 2012, Microsoft bought cloud-storage vendor StorSimple. Last year, company officials pegged StorSimple to be on the fast track to becoming one of Microsoft's next billion dollar businesses.


In spite of those bold projections, there's been little news about what Microsoft has been doing with StorSimple -- until today, July 9, that is.

StoreSimple is a cloud-integrated storage (CiS) product that allows users to store heavily used data on-premises/locally and put older and lesser-used data in the cloud.

Microsoft is taking the wraps off two new StorSimple 8000 series arrays: The 8100 and the 8600. These arrays are branded as "Microsoft Azure StorSimple 8000" and integrate with two new Azure services, the Azure StorSimple Manager and the Azure StorSimple Virtual Appliance.

Microsoft plans to make the new Azure StorSimple arrays available as of August 1. Microsoft is continuing to sell the StorSimple 5000 and 7000 series, but these products will not support the new Azure StorSimple Manager or StorSimple Virtual Appliance services.

Yesterday, I blogged about a coming Azure "private cloud in a box" appliance codenamed San Diego. Just to be clear, Azure StorSimple is not this kind of an appliance, in spite of its connection to a service known as a "virtual appliance." Microsoft officials prefer to call Azure StorSimple a "hybrid storage solution" that includes on-premises hardware storage arrays connected to the Microsoft Azure public cloud.

The Azure StorSimple Manager service is designed to consolidate management of Azure StorSimple 8000 series arrays and StorSimple Virtual Appliances. The Azure StorSimple Virtual Appliance service will allow customers to access their on-premises enterprise data in Microsoft Azure.

When Microsoft bought StorSimple, the Redmondians downplayed the fact that the company sold an appliance. Microsoft officials insisted they bought StorSimple because of its software intellectual property and talent.

Microsoft is still emphasizing that there's a place for its storage OEMs as it expands its own footprint in this space. Microsoft is looking to its systems-integration partners to integrate and deploy StorSimple arrays for customers looking for disaster recovery, app development and testing and other hybrid cloud/on-premises scenarios.

In other Azure-related news, Microsoft will be adding new infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) functionality to its Azure Portal, which the company made available in preview form in April. New additions to the Portal include the ability to better manage multiple virtual machines and single-click SharePoint deployment. Microsoft also will add to the preview Azure Event Hubs, which is a new service for brokering millions of events per second "allowing partners and customers to pull in, process and analyze data from a nearly infinite number of cloud-connected smart devices," according to a July 9 blog post. These additions are slated to go live on July 14.

Microsoft also will be bringing online two new Azure regions in Virginia and Iowa. And the company will open up its Azure Machine Learning service, Azure ML, as a public preview on July 14, as well. 

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