Microsoft adds StorSimple hybrid storage arrays to Azure cloud service

Azure users get more storage, archiving and disaster recovery from 1 August 2014 with Microsoft's StorSimple 8000 series hybrid storage arrays

Azure cloud users will get additional storage, archiving and disaster recovery capabilities from 1 August 2014 when Microsoft releases its StorSimple 8000 series hybrid storage arrays. The hybrid storage approach automates and simplifies backup to the cloud and easily moves data from on-premises to cloud.

Azure StorSimple 8000 series enables enterprises to take their on-premises data to the cloud to develop and test new apps, according to Microsoft.

The new StorSimple 8000 series solid state arrays come in two flavours to suit different capacity and performance needs – the StorSimple 8100 and the StorSimple 8600 – said Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft’s corporate vice-president for cloud and enterprise marketing on the company blog.

The hybrid storage arrays come with a maximum capacity (including on the cloud) of 200 terabytes (8100 series) and 500 terabytes (8600 series). They also come with two 10Gb network interfaces and Azure Blob storage features.

“These are enterprise hybrid storage arrays with a twist - instead of being limited to only SSDs and HDDs, these arrays use Azure Storage as a hybrid cloud tier for automatic capacity expansion and off-site data protection,” said Numoto. “That means IT teams don’t have to spend so much time and effort working on the next inevitable storage capacity upgrade or managing the complex details of data protection.”

Cut costs and boost performance

According to Microsoft, the hybrid cloud storage approach helps enterprises cuts cost and inefficiency from managing a company’s ever-growing volumes of data.

Data stored on StorSimple 8000 series arrays is automatically protected offsite by cloud snapshots, which fill the “enormous gap between problematic tape solutions and costly remote replication solutions”, Numoto said.

In October 2012, Microsoft bought StorSimple, the cloud integrated storage (CIS) provider that uses its appliances to help users store primary/heavily-used data on premises and store inactive, backup data on the cloud. StorSimple’s popular hybrid cloud storage appliances include the 5000 and 7000 series.

Enterprise customers including Mazda, SK Telecom, Paul Smith, Sundance Film Festival, GF Health Products, Black and Veatch, and the city of San José in California have all simplified their storage infrastructure using the hybrid cloud storage products, Numoto said.

Microsoft is also releasing Azure StorSimple Virtual Appliance along with the 8000 series. The Virtual Appliance is an implementation of StorSimple technology running as an Azure virtual machine in the cloud. It also enables disaster recovery (DR) in the cloud.

“DR is an area of concern for many customers and they seldom get a chance to test their abilities,” said Numoto. 

The StorSimple services come with a feature called Instant Recovery that presents full images of virtual volumes in Azure to users and applications, so they can access data as soon as possible after a disaster. The series also includes management capabilities.

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