Users of Microsoft's SharePoint business collaboration platform can greatly reduce the amount of space the application takes up with the Armada device from StorSimple. StorSimple Armada works by deduplicating and intelligently examining data, keeping the most-used data on serial-attached SCSI drives within the device and migrating less-used data to the cloud.
The Armada devices can also help improve security by encrypting data. In addition, because much of the data is archived to the cloud, less data needs to be backed up.
Shawn Partridge, VP of IT for Rockford Construction, a Michigan-based commercial construction company, says his company had been concerned about putting data in the cloud due to security issues. The company was concerned not just that the cloud vendor's administrators would have access to the data, but that the admins could turn it over under a subpoena without notifying Rockford. "StorSimple alleviated that [concern] because data is encrypted and deduped at a block level," says Partridge. "So, even if they could get to the data, it's encrypted. If they decrypted it, it's still a jumbled mess because of the dedupe."
Rockford uses the product for two purposes: archival data and for its 300GB of Microsoft SharePoint data, which Partridge expects to increase with the new device. "We'd been having performance problems with 300GB," he says. "That's no longer an issue." While the system is too new for Partridge to know whether he is saving on operational expenses, it cost about half what it would have cost to buy a new, larger SAN, he says.
The Armada device is optimized for applications and particularly for Microsoft SharePoint, says Ian Howells, chief marketing officer for StorSimple. It is also the only cloud storage product to be certified for Windows Server 2008 R2, according to Howells.