As part of its Universal Distributed Storage commitment Microsoft has announced the availability of Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 and a software-enabled storage area network (San) boot of Microsoft Windows Server 2003.
Available immediately via network attached storage (NAS) appliance products, Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 is a dedicated and optimised file and print server that is said to provide customers with improved manageability, enhanced end-user productivity and capabilities to meet the needs of branch offices.
Partner storage products that are currently available, or will soon be available, with Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 include servers from Dell, HP, IBM and LeftHand Networks. Brocade Communications Systems, Bull, Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Iomega have committed to building on or supporting Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 with their products in the near future.
The software-enabled San boot of Windows using iSCSI and standard network interface cards (NICs) has been co-developed by Microsoft and IBM. This implementation was piloted with IBM and will be published publicly for implementation by other Microsoft partners to develop iSCSI software-enabled boot solutions. Microsoft says it has made the commitment to help maximise existing technology investments in networking so that new San solutions are more accessible for all customers.
Microsoft says it created the iSCSI software-enabled San boot solutions in response to the increasing popularity of the iSCSI protocol among Windows customers.