Announcing Windows Storage Server 2008 – WAA HOO !

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I am really excited to announce the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Storage Server 2008.  Let me tell you why:

For me This is the culmination of my first 3.5 years at Microsoft.  Prior to joining Microsoft, I had been a Microsoft MVP in Storage – so I have been involved with this product line since ‘Windows Powered NAS’ (built upon Windows 2000), and through WSS 2003, WSS2003R2 and WUDSS (built upon Windows 2003).  It always struck me that not enough people knew what a powerful a Windows Storage Server is.  And now, being the ‘Senior Technical Product Manager’ for Storage Solutions, I have the honor of announcing its release.  Hey, I don’t spend every minute thinking about DPM.

For customers
This is everything that you want in Windows file services – only better.  Sure, you could go buy a copy of Windows Server 2008 on DVD and build your own file server from your favorite server hardware vendor – mine being torn between HP and Dell, since I grew up in Texas.   But why?   This is built on the same base, but comes out of the box and serving data within 30 minutes (not including messing with server-rack rails).  But Microsoft takes the OS, tweaks it from its default settings to optimize it for file services, and then adds extra file/storage capabilities. 

Think of it like a Ford Mustang engine.  Sure, the one from Detroit that comes in the car is nice.  The GT is better than the base package.  Think of WSS08 like a Saleen!!.   It is really tweaked for one purpose – file IO, not SQL or Exchange or webserving, but storage and file services.  

And then Microsoft adds de-duplication (Single Instance Storage) which is as hot a topic in IT as anything today.  And the iSCSI Software target lets you offer block storage and file service in the same appliance.   Then, the OEM hardware partners take their ‘stock’ hardware – like a Dell PowerEdge – and make it a PowerVault (with more tweaks and additions).   File Serving is one of the most popular uses for Windows Server, so why not get it as tricked out as possible – from the same hardware and software vendors that you already trust for the rest of your server infrastructure (instead of a proprietary NAS filer).

For our partners WSS allows them a chance to co-deliver something special.  Instead of simply pre-installing our shrink-wrap OS (as great as it is), our hardware partners often add additional utilities and have been directly involved in feature feedback to make sure that their storage appliances really are more than just their standard hardware with a variant of the world’s industry leading file serving OS.
And for Microsoft WSS08 allows us to take one of our flagship products and instead of simply telling you how to tweak it in a whitepaper or offer you consulting services, we do it from the inside out.  Also, Windows Storage Server has always been a platform to incubate storage technologies before they are considered for addition into the mainline of Windows Server.  Its one of the reasons that we always released WSS several months after its base WS release.  We start where the WS OS leaves off – adding new capabilities and tweaks.  Many features and tweaks eventually make it into the WS main OS, such as Storage Explorer, File Server Resource Manager (FSRM), Simple Manager for SAN’s (SMfS), etc.  For other features, we have chosen to leave them exclusively within WSS (so far), where it makes the most sense as an ‘appliance’ such as de-duplication and block-storage.

On May 7th, I have asked one of the lead development managers to help me with a TechNet Webcast on “Introducing Windows Storage Server 2008” :

http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032410705

You might also want to check out the WSS team blog – blog.technet.com/StorageServer

Or our newly created website for Windows Storage Server – www.microsoft.com/StorageServer – where you can learn more about WSS08 and find links to our partners’ sites.

Our hardware partners will be announcing their Windows Storage Server appliances over the next several weeks – but until then, check out the links above, as well as the file services in WS08 that WSS08 is built on and get ready for the best storage appliance that we’ve ever built.

As always, thanks for reading …

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