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The enterprise cloud storage wars are heating up.
Microsoft is acquiring StorSimple, a maker of appliances that link on-premise storage and public clouds, treating the latter as an integrated storage tier with automated data management. The deal's terms are being kept under wraps.
The buy helps align the company's Windows Server and Azure cloud services ecosystems with the burgeoning Cloud-integrated Storage (CiS) market, according to Microsoft. Primary benefits for customers include seamless, low cost remote backup, disaster recovery and data protection for Windows environments, says Microsoft's Michael Park, corporate vice president of the Windows Server and Management Product Marketing Group.
Park explains in a Windows Azure blog post, "CiS is a rapidly emerging category of storage solutions that consolidate the management of primary data, backup disaster recovery and archival data, and deliver seamless integration between on premise and cloud environments."
And while there currently exist third-party solutions that connect Windows Server and Azure, Microsoft hints that integrating technology from StorSimple -- a Top 10 storage startup last year -- will provide an inherently more native data management environment for administrators.
"StorSimple's approach of seamless integration of on-premises storage with cloud storage is clearly aligned with our Cloud OS vision. Their innovative solutions enable IT organizations to reduce the cost of storing data for backup, DR and archival and ensure fast recovery through a single console," adds Park.
Making Azure Add Up for Enterprises
Increasingly, cloud-connected data center systems are emerging as a vital linchpin in the enterprise cloud landscape. In the face of stiff competition, primarily from Amazon, the StorSimple buy allows Microsoft to position Azure as a stronger contender in the large-scale cloud storage market.
According to IT analysts at Stifel Nicolaus, the deal is also indicative of Microsoft's increasingly aggressive posture in the cloud computing realm.
"We see Microsoft's cloud storage moves as becoming increasingly aggressive, in which we would also include the recent announcement that Microsoft is fully integrating CommVault's Simpana 9 data and information management platform within the Microsoft Cloud OS – including Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and Windows Azure (e.g., enablement of live VM migration from data centers and into Azure, as well as the ability to leverage Azure cloud as a retention tier and an alternative to tape-based backups)," wrote Stifel Nicolaus analysts Aaron C. Rakers and Joe Quatrochi in a research note.