Microsoft Announces Availability of Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 With OEM Partners

SAN DIEGO — April 4, 2006 — Today at Storage Networking World Spring 2006, Microsoft Corp. announced further progress toward its Universal Distributed Storage commitment with the availability of Microsoft® Windows® Storage Server 2003 R2 through original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). In addition, Microsoft announced the availability of software-enabled Storage Area Network (SAN) boot of Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 using Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) technology that was co-developed with IBM Corp. The company also highlighted new partner solutions within the Simple SAN for Windows Server Program.

“Our commitment to Universal Distributed Storage means reducing storage costs and providing customers with high-end functionality on industry-standard hardware,” said Gabriel Broner, general manager, Storage Division at Microsoft. “Continued work with partners on the delivery of products such as Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 and the extended support for iSCSI demonstrates delivery on this commitment for our customers.”

Windows Storage Server 2003 R2

Available today via network attached storage (NAS) appliance products from OEMs, Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 is a dedicated and optimized file and print server that provides customers with improved manageability, enhanced end-user productivity and capabilities to meet the needs of branch offices. Partner storage products that are currently available, or will soon be available, with Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 include PowerEdge-based Dell Storage Servers, HP ProLiant Storage Servers, IBM xSeries Storage Servers, the LeftHand Networks SAN Filer 150 and the Tacit Networks Ishared Branch Office in a Box platform. Partners Brocade Communications Systems Inc., Bull, Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Iomega Corp. are among the more than 50 software vendors, hardware manufacturers and solution providers that have committed to building on or supporting Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 with their products and solutions in the near future.

“HP is a leader in the Windows-based network storage market, and with four of our HP ProLiant Storage Servers now integrated with Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, HP continues to provide customers with greater simplicity, agility and value in Windows storage environments,” said Duncan Campbell, vice president of marketing for the StorageWorks Division at HP. “As the first partner to ship Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, HP and its portfolio of NAS solutions are strongly positioned to offer customers greater manageability, increased performance and improved branch office operations.”

Internal Microsoft deployments show that Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, based on the Windows Server 2003 R2 operating system, can reduce data management costs and disk use by up to 50 percent through single-instance storage and allow users to easily find documents via a text-based file search. Internal testing also shows that the product outperforms the file-serving capability of general-purpose file servers by up to 25 percent and is the only NAS operating system that allows multiple users to collaborate on documents by integrating Microsoft Windows SharePoint® Services. Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 customers will also benefit from high availability and easy integration with SANs, and the ability for the first time to run 32- and 64-bit versions. The complexity of branch deployments is reduced with Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 because the Microsoft Distributed File System eases the complexity of replicating files over a wide-area network.

“Dell and Microsoft have a proven track record of success and we’re building on that momentum with a growing portfolio of Windows Storage Server 2003 R2-based Dell Storage Servers,” said Praveen Asthana, director of Dell storage. “The combination of Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 running on Dell’s PowerEdge 830 server offers the ease of implementation and advanced features that customers need for richer functionality and reduced complexity in branch office and small office environments.”

Customer Specialty Sports, a conglomerate of 120 premier ski, bike, golf and fly fishing shops, is using Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 with LeftHand Networks’ SAN Filer 150 to provide file services for its Microsoft Windows-based desktop PCs. “It’s ideal for us to manage all our data — both block and file — through our SAN,” said Andrew Miller, former IT director and now consultant for Specialty Sports. “With Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, we can take advantage of crucial file management improvements and integrate seamlessly with LeftHand iSCSI SAN to store all critical corporate data.”

New Technology to Help Make SANs More Accessible for Customers

Today Microsoft announced support for software-enabled SAN boot of Windows using iSCSI and standard network interface cards (NICs), a technology co-developed by Microsoft and IBM. This implementation was piloted with IBM and will be published publicly for implementation by other Microsoft partners to develop iSCSI software-enabled boot solutions.

“We are excited about developing and launching a solution for diskless boot of Windows using iSCSI on BladeCenter,” said Tim Dougherty, director of strategy for BladeCenter at IBM. “This solution will result in better storage utilization, reduced power consumption and increased SAN scalability for customers.”

With Universal Distributed Storage, Microsoft has made the commitment to help maximize existing technology investments in networking so that new SAN solutions are more accessible for all customers. Microsoft created iSCSI software-enabled SAN boot solutions in response to the increasing popularity of the iSCSI protocol among Windows customers. As part of this program, Microsoft is working with server OEMs, network hardware vendors and solution providers to deliver this technology.

Partners implementing a iSCSI software-enabled SAN boot in their products include Alacritech Inc., Broadcom Corp., emBoot Inc., IBM, Intel Corporation, Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Neterion Inc. Additional partners that have signed on to support Microsoft’s iSCSI software-enabled SAN boot implementation with their products include ATTO Technology Inc., Azaleos Corp., Brocade, Cisco Systems Inc., Compellent Technologies, Crossroads Systems Inc., Dell Inc., EqualLogic Inc., FalconStor Software, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, Intransa Inc., LeftHand Networks, QLogic Corp., Network Appliance Inc., Nimbus Data Systems Inc., SANRAD Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

Dickinson Wright PLLC, a Michigan-based law firm with six locations and more than 200 attorneys, has implemented Microsoft’s iSCSI software-enabled SAN boot on IBM BladeCenter. “With the iSCSI software-enabled SAN boot, we are able to deploy bootable volumes on remote IBM blade servers in five to 10 minutes. Normally the process would take as much as two hours,” said Alan Hunt, manager of operations for Dickinson Wright. “The solution helps us efficiently resolve labor-intensive issues and represents long-term cost savings for our firm.”

Microsoft also announced details on how the WinTarget technology, acquired from String Bean Software last month, will be delivered to customers. The iSCSI target technology will be offered through OEMs as a feature pack of Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, available with Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition of Windows Storage Server 2003 R2. With the integration of this new iSCSI software target with hardware from OEM partners, Microsoft internal market research shows that the cost of deploying block and file storage devices will decrease by as much as 25 percent.

Progress of Simple SAN Program to Ease SAN Management for Customers

Simple SAN is a Microsoft partner program that helps ensure that SAN solutions for the Windows platform are easy to deploy, robust and serviceable and that they provide the programmatic framework to help meet the needs of small and medium-sized business customers. Today at Storage Networking World, strategic vendors EqualLogic, Hitachi Data Systems and IBM are showcasing Simple SAN-designated solutions. Solutions from IBM and EqualLogic are new Simple SAN designations this month. IBM’s solution integrates with QLogic Host Bus Adapters, QLogic switches and QLogic Virtual Disk Service application for storage management and provisioning. EqualLogic’s array includes Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator and Microsoft Storage Manager for SANs.

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