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Gabriel Broner, GM, Windows Storage Divison, Microsoft

Microsoft's storage general manager Gabriel Broner headed to Redmond earlier this year with more than two decades of technology experience, mostly in high performance computing (HPC) companies Cray Research and Silicon Graphics (SGI).

With an un-Microsoftish background like that, could we expect Broner to lead his new company into the high-end enterprise storage space? Not likely, says Broner, who says Microsoft's storage is aimed at capturing the company's traditional user base.

"We don't target the high end of the enterprise," Broner says. "I don't think it's in the DNA of Microsoft to just say 'We're going to be the top of the pyramid.' I personally came from Cray and SGI. I lived through a bit of the top of the pyramid. The business model is different. You send an engineer with some of the machines, the volume is small, the margins are high. I think Microsoft has strength in the volume space where it can make things simple to deploy selling volume at lower margins and lower cost."

Instead of living at the top of the pyramid, Broner says Microsoft's strategy is to bring the technology up there down to the levels where Microsoft resides most comfortably.

"Youre going to see us try to address the needs of large numbers of users, taking some of the features of the storage industry that were once considered high-end features but are starting to become appealing to millions of users," he says. "Our objective would be to make those available and make them simple to use and deploy and enable a partner ecosystem where we can develop features that are specialized in each of the areas."

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