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Microsoft Sets Sights on SANs

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Storage Networking World -- Microsoft has placed bets on two storage spots it hadnt covered before: Fibre Channel SANs and high-end NAS.

Microsoft gave its blessing to a handful of products for its new Simple SANs program after testing for interoperability with storage capabilities of Windows Server 2003. Receiving the Simple SAN certification were arrays from EqualLogic and Hitachi Data Systems, Fibre Channel switches from Brocade and QLogic, HBAs from QLogic and Emulex, and iSCSI software from String Bean Software.

Microsoft is also throwing its marketing muscle behind startup PolyServe, which sells Windows-based clustered storage that enables organizations to tie together Windows servers into enterprise NAS systems that compete with EMC and Network Appliance. (See PolyServe Lands $20M, Talks IPO and PolyServe Unveils Unappliance Strategy.)

Today, Windows Server is used in low-end NAS systems from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and others; and Microsoft plays a role in iSCSI SANs with a free software initiator but has little presence in Fibre Channel SANs or enterprise NAS.

It will take time before Microsoft’s strategy makes it a player in the SAN and high-end NAS space, but it is clearly looking to make Windows a key piece of networked storage.

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