The Surface tablet, Xbox One gaming console and the plethora of peripherals are not the only pieces of hardware in the Microsoft stable. The company is making plans to launch new storage and hybrid Azure cloud devices to expand their capabilities and market share.
According to ZDNet, Microsoft is ramping up a storage appliance, aptly named Azure StorSimple 8000, which connects to the Azure cloud and is based on its 2012 acquisition StorSimple. The appliance allows users to store data that’s most used in the local storage while assigning and indexing lesser used files in the cloud.
The Azure StorSimple appliance, slated for release in August, will connect Azure StorSimple Manager, which will provide users with simplified access and management to locally and remotely stored files.
Microsoft will continue to sell and support the StorSimple 5000 and 7000 series appliances, which also connect to the Azure cloud but do not integrate with Azure StorSimple Manager.
Unlike other appliances in the software giant’s fold, Microsoft is looking to channel partners – specifically systems integrators – to sell and deploy the StorSimple devices in enterprise and midmarket accounts for disaster recovery, primary and secondary storage, and platforms for application management.
Separate from StorSimple, Microsoft is reportedly gearing up for another run at the Azure in a box strategy. Plans for an Azure private cloud appliance, reportedly being developed under the code name “San Diego,” will provide enterprises with on-premises cloud, network and storage resources. Essentially, Microsoft is attempting to provide enterprises with the same cloud-based Azure functionality in their own data center.
Since 2010, Microsoft has attempted to release Azure appliances. The initial cuts were announced with OEM partners such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Fujitsu. Only Fujitsu ended up releasing a commercial product. ZDNet reports the original program puttered out in late 2012 even though no official announcement was made.
The new Azure appliance versions will reportedly come from and be supported by Microsoft, and sold through its systems integrator channel.
While pushing deeper into hardware to support its cloud strategy, Microsoft insists plenty of room exists in the market for its appliances and services as well as similar offerings by its traditional OEM partners. Nevertheless, the expanding hardware portfolio does provide further evidence that Microsoft is increasingly a competitor to companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, EMC and IBM.
And, unlike its Surface tablets, Microsoft seems to have no issue in selling and support hardware devices through its B2B channels.