Storage Transformation

Organizations face many challenges when it comes to storage.  Data volumes are exploding, increasing the cost of storage and the headaches of storage management.  The rise of Big Data analytics means more data is being collected and mined than ever before – 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years.  Enterprise data is expanding at 20% per year or more. 

But changes in the technologies and products that compose storage solutions are creating new opportunities.  And the Microsoft strategy embraces these trends so customers can benefit from them today.

First, the level of performance and reliability that storage based on industry-standard hardware and software can achieve in your datacenters is rapidly increasing.  Second, customers are moving data to the cloud to experience the flexibility, elasticity, and cost effectiveness the cloud offers.  And third, recovery needs and the strengths of the cloud are beginning to come together in the form of data backup/recovery and the orchestration of application recovery.

Four years ago, starting with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 and continued with the release of Windows Server 2012, Microsoft began a journey to fundamentally transform storage and deliver a new range of solutions for customers.  Since then, we’ve taken steps in each of these three areas.

On-premises storage

In the past, many customers purchased proprietary storage solutions for the performance and reliability they provide – but at a high cost.  Changes to hardware, operating systems, and software are now making high performance, reliable storage possible – with industry standard hardware. 

Last year, Windows Server 2012 began delivering on our vision of storage transformation with virtualized file-based storage with Storage Spaces and scale-out file servers.  At TechEd 2012 we presented a session on the improvements to our SMB protocol, and at MMS a few months ago a session on file storage strategies for private clouds.

We’re proud of the performance these offerings deliver.  Windows Server file-based storage configurations can deliver 1,000,000 IOPs, and continue to provide uninterrupted service to workloads like Hyper-V and SQL Server, even through the loss of disks or a server.

Data moving to the cloud

Everyone will move their data at their own pace, and often one workload at a time.  A great candidate for you to consider is data whose usage decreases quickly over time as it ages.  SharePoint deployments frequently illustrate this data pattern, as one example.

Last year, Microsoft acquired StorSimple.  A Microsoft StorSimple device, combined with Windows Azure storage, provides cloud storage as an extended tier, automatically moving less accessed data to the cloud, while maintaining seamless integration for easy access.

Recovery and the cloud

Plus Microsoft has taken important steps in bringing the cloud to recovery services.  Backup data benefits from additional disaster protection when being stored offsite.  Windows Azure Backup is in preview today.  While Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager – available as a limited preview –helps protect important applications by coordinating the replication of Microsoft System Center clouds to a secondary location.  Windows Azure remotely monitors availability, and orchestrates recovery as needed – all under your control.

Customer Impact

Customers are already experiencing the benefits of file-based storage for applications on Windows Server.  By taking advantage of storage efficiencies in Windows Server 2012, Marquette University estimates that its storage costs will be 10 times lower than using SANs.  Studio Moderna saved 50 percent of the costs required to expand its storage area network solution for its developers.

Meanwhile, Microsoft StorSimple has already helped customers achieve savings of 46% to 65% storage costs, while providing a solution which can handle their ongoing data growth efficiently.


You can learn more about our current storage capabilities here.

Or you can learn more about the future at TechEd 2013 in New Orleans this week, and the coverage made available online, where we’ll be talking about exciting improvements such as storage tiering, which enables Storage Spaces to combine SSDs and traditional spinning disks into a single virtualized volume which automatically tiers data based on usage.  This maximizes storage performance for frequently used data while maximizing the value of that limited SSD space.

Over the course of the next few months, we’ll be diving into these topics further in this blog and others – exploring how Microsoft is helping change storage and helping customers control costs.  Stay tuned for more!