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Microsoft Gives Storage Server R2 Status Update

Microsoft gave a minor status update to its “universal distributed storage” vision at this week’s Storage Networking World conference in Orlando, Fla.

For one thing, R2 of Microsoft Storage Server 2003 is still on track to be released to OEMs by the end of the year. With OEM testing and installation requirements that puts Storage Server 2003 R2 in users hands beginning by about March, according to company officials.

Storage Server 2003 R2 is based on Windows Server 2003 R2, which is still due out by the end of 2005.

The company announced that six storage OEMs have so far qualified for Microsoft’s “Simple SAN for Windows Server” designation, meaning that their systems not only passed compatibility certifications but also that they met verification requirements that the systems are easy to deploy, manage and maintain.

“Beginning about two and a half years ago, we realized that we need to include technologies that make it easy for non-storage savvy customers to get started [with SANs],” says Radhesh Balakrishnan, group product manager in Microsoft’s Windows Server division.

One key technology coming in Storage Server 2003 R2 is Storage Manager for SANs. “[With it], an administrator can do 70 to 80 percent of the tasks necessary to set up a SAN,” Balakrishnan adds.

The companies who have earned the Microsoft Simple SAN for Windows Server designation to date are Brocade, Emulex, EqualLogic, Hitachi Data Systems and String Bean Software, and QLogic.

Microsoft has 50 OEMs that offer Storage Server 2003 today, and five have already committed to shipping R2 when it’s released. Those include HP, Dell, Iomega, Fujitsu Siemens and LeftHand Networks, Balakrishnan says.

Additionally, Microsoft is partnering with startup PolyServe, which is offering potential customers a comprehensive two-day storage consolidation assessment for $5,000 – a third of what such an analysis would normally cost, according to Microsoft. The fee is recoupable on a purchase.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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