For the record, I am not really a car buff. I am a “Buff”ington … and enjoy renting mustangs from Avis … but I’ve had a few questions on my Windows Storage Server 2008 RTM blog (below), so let me expand on my analogy:
Just a few miles down the road in Detroit, Saleen takes Ford Mustangs and ups their performance and adds additional features. Their influence and expertise is in part because some of them come from Ford and they work with Ford – and that makes them if not uniquely, then at least especially, capable in optimizing the Mustang.
Interestingly, I recently heard that Saleen has even influenced the new general assembly line – which makes all Mustangs better.
Sure, a Ford Mustang owner could do similar performance tuning and add after-market parts, but there is something special (and optimal) about it coming already tricked out.
Cheaper, Faster, Better and Easier than doing it yourself.
WSS08 is tuned by Microsoft, starting from the WS08 OS default settings. Then, we add our special features not found in WS08 - like SIS and the iSCSI Target. Then, our hardware partners take their standard server hardware (e.g. Dell PowerEdge) and they have the opportunity to tune it as it turns into a PowerVault. After putting in our tuned and enhanced OS, they can also add additional software components that again creates additional differentiation. So by the time that the customer gets it, the result is an appreciably optimized and enhanced device that is seamlessly integrated.
Sticking with the Saleen analogy, a good portion of our work over the years in file/storage features for the Windows Storage Server line is now reflected in the main Windows Server OS – e.g. File Server Resource Manager, Storage Explorer, Simple Manager for SAN’s, etc.
Sure, a Dell PowerEdge owner with a Windows Server 2008 DVD could build the base, and tune it according to whitepapers, and seek comparable similar add-on software. But again, there is something special (and optimal) about it coming already tricked out and ready to go into production.
Cheaper (TCO), Faster (performance), Better (features) and Easier than doing it yourself.
Hopefully, that clarifies or perhaps entertains. 🙂 If not, I will defer to my co-worker and DPM Product Planner, who really is a car buff. Using an Xbox gaming analogy which is closer to my passion, I would say that the additions and optimizations in Windows Storage Server are like unlockable special weapons that were designed by the game developer for a particular boss fight – as opposed to your standard sidearm when the storyline begins alongside the other items you collect. Sure, you can do the battles with the stuff that you gather along the way, but it is much cooler and offers some great cut-scenes or finishing moves, if you use these specialty items.