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Dell, EMC, HP Ship Windows-based NAS Devices

Microsoft is using its TechEd 2004 conference this week to trumpet releases of network-attached storage (NAS) devices from tier-one hardware vendors featuring its OEM-only Windows Storage Server 2003 with a new Exchange Server 2003 feature pack. The devices are a Dell PowerVault, an EMC NetWin and an HP StorageWorks.

“We made the announcement that we released this [Exchange feature pack] to manufacturing back in April, but the big announcement … is that a lot of our partners are making it generally available to customers,” says Marcus Schmidt, senior product manager for Windows Storage Server 2003.

The Exchange 2003 feature pack allows administrators to consolidate Exchange 2003 data on network-attached storage (NAS) devices. It was one of several Windows Storage Server feature packs announced at Storage Networking World in April.

Exchange 5.5 shipped with NAS support, Schmidt explains, but when Microsoft introduced architectural changes to Exchange 2000’s storage engine, NAS support was stripped from that product.

When it shipped last year, Exchange 2003 didn’t offer native NAS support, either. As a result, customers who wish to exploit the new NAS capabilities of the Exchange feature pack must make some changes to their existing Exchange 2003 environments. “We actually do install a service on Exchange Server to make sure that the Exchange server can see the file share where the database files and log files are, so we do make some changes,” says Schmidt.

Storage management software vendors such as Veritas are expected to introduce support for the new Windows Storage Server feature packs, as well. “They’ve been supporting Storage Server with those backup and restoration products up to this stage, so they’re just adding support and continuing the support with the Feature Packs,” Schmidt says.

He anticipates that most customers will exploit the NAS feature pack to support Exchange consolidation efforts. “I think the biggest scenario for customers is consolidation, so they want to consolidate where they’re storing all of this, get all of their data on one device, manage the one device,” Schmidt says.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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