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Microsoft To Ship Windows Storage Server 2003

Microsoft on Tuesday will unveil the shipping of its Windows Storage Server 2003 platform. System vendors such as Dell, EMC, and Hewlett-Packard will ship appliances based on the scaled-down version of Windows, and storage-management software leader Veritas is ready to add support for the platform.

This latest installment for the network-attached-storage space from Microsoft offers customers the tightest levels of integration with general-purpose Windows servers. In the NAS market, many customers want the simplest approach to storing and managing their data. The latest NAS version from Microsoft, Storage Server 2003, is designed to snap right into existing Windows-based networks.

Within many of those networks, Exchange servers are at the heart of communications between customers and employees. With Storage Server 2003, Microsoft for the first time supports the storage and managing of Exchange data on its NAS software.

Before this, customers trying for Exchange support would have to install general-purpose servers and deal with some other storage system. One analyst says Storage Server 2003 could give some customers a first taste of Windows Server 2003 without having to pay extra for client access. "There's still lots of NT 4.0 overhang out there, and those customers could now put all their storage on the new platform," says William Hurley, an analyst at Enterprise Application Group. "With no client license fees, Storage Server 2003 customers could be off to the races."