Microsoft Azure StorSimple – Cloud Integrated Storage AND DR in the Cloud

StorSimple, since acquisition by Microsoft at the end of 2012, has been a great success so far with over a thousand customers now adopting the technology world-wide to reduce their financial challenges around data storage, data management and data growth.

It is with a lot of excitement that we have now launched today our next version, Microsoft Azure StorSimple. This sees a range of advances in the platform, management and DR capabilities. With the most recent IDC/EMC Digital Universe study we are seeing data growth sits at 40% year over year, on average. This ever expanding data growth sees hardware upgrades that never stop and the threat of going over a capacity cliff, as well as increasing software licensing costs, administration effort and facilities cost.

The Microsoft Azure StorSimple Solution

StorSimple continues to be an on premise storage array that integrates seamlessly with existing physical and virtual machines. It can be put into production in a matter of hours and, with no application modification, allow you to start leveraging the cloud for storing cold data, backing up data via cloud snapshots and as a location to retrieve data from in the event of a DR.

Microsoft Azure StorSimple also provides intelligence around how it treats data. As per my previous blog posts on StorSimple, Microsoft Azure StorSimple starts data off in SSD and then intelligently tiers data, at a block level, between SSD, SAS and the cloud; but it also provides inline deduplication, compression and (prior to moving data to the cloud) encryption.

In summary the StorSimple solution provides the below, without the need for any application modification or additional software.

 

  • Highly available primary storage array
  • Optimisation of data via in line deduplication and encryption
  • Tiering (and encryption) of cold data to the Cloud
  • Backing up data to the cloud via cloud snapshots
  • Ability to recover data from the cloud, for DR, from anywhere

Platform Changes

The new Microsoft Azure StorSimple platform, labelled the 8000 series, introduces three new models and changes to the management. So what do these new releases bring us?

  • 10GbE interfaces – this is a feature which has been requested numerous times by our customers
  • Unified management of multiple appliances, via the Microsoft Azure StorSimple manager
  • Increased performance – 2.5 times increase in internet bandwidth capabilities
  • Higher capacity hybrid storage arrays
    • The 8100 comes with 15TB of useable capacity (before dedupe or compression, as well as flash optimisation) and can address up to 200TB of Cloud storage
    • The 8600 comes with 40TB of useable capacity (before dedupe or compressions, as well as flash optimisation) and can address up to 500TB of Cloud storage
  • A virtual appliance available as a service in Azure that can access data that has been uploaded by an 8000 series array

Use Cases

With a new platform comes expanded use cases. Previously the main use cases were file, archive and SharePoint (and other document management products).

With the 8000 series we now include support SQL Server and virtual machine use cases. Also, due to the virtual appliance, we can now start running some Azure specific use cases as well, using your data from on premise. This includes DR (and DR Testing), Cloud applications and Dev/Test workloads.

Disaster Recovery and IT agility

So now you have a copy of your data in Azure via cloud snapshot…what can you do next? This is one of the best parts around the new release, the ability to access your data within Azure. How can this be used?

Disaster Recovery

Having a dedicated DR site, especially for small and mid size organisations, is a huge financial strain. The ability to access and present your data inside Azure means that customers no longer need a secondary site and storage array. They can present the data up to the virtual appliance and very quickly be able to access their data from their last cloud snapshot

Development and Testing

Data has mass and moving it to compute can be slow. With the StorSimple solution a copy of your data already resides in Azure so you have the ability to quickly spin up VMs in Azure IaaS and for them to access your data for testing and development. You could potentially have a full test/dev environment Textup and running, in the cloud, in a matter of minutes or hours, rather than days or weeks.

On Demand Infrastructure

No need to  provision infrastructure in advance, with a full copy of all your enterprise data available in Azure spin up VMs for projects and special requirements quickly and easily….

 

Other information

Some other great blogs, articles and information can be found here

 

StorSimple home page http://microsoft.com/storsimple

Scott Guthrie’s blog http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu

The StorSimple blog http://blogs.technet.com/b/cis/

Takeshi Numoto’s blog http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2014/07/09/introducing-microsoft-azure-storsimple.aspx

 

News Articles

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/09/microsoft_storsimple_azure/

http://www.storagereview.com/microsoft_azure_storsimple_8100_and_8600_storsimple_manager_and_virtual_appliance_announced

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2354415/microsoft-lifts-the-lid-on-the-azure-storsimple-8000-series

http://windowsitpro.com/azure/storsimple-renamed-azure-storsimple-gets-big-refresh-august

http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-to-roll-out-new-azure-storsimple-cloud-storage-arrays-7000031407/

http://searchcloudstorage.techtarget.com/news/2240224202/Microsoft-StorSimple-tightens-integration-with-Azure

http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/549676/microsoft_debuts_cloud_storage_service_enterprises/

http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2014/07/09/microsoft-azure-moves-deeper-into-hybrid-cloud/

http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/09/microsoft-updates-azure-with-2-new-u-s-regions-improved-hybrid-storage-solution-and-more/

http://rcpmag.com/articles/2014/07/09/microsoft-preps-storsimple-azure-storage.aspx

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