REVIEWER: Christopher Whyte, technical product manager for Microsoft.
BACKGROUND: Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
PLATFORMS: The HP StorageWorks NAS 2000s runs on the Windows Storage Server 2003 operating system.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Microsoft Internal Provider is an internal service provider at Microsoft, supplying internal clients with a range of traditional ISP services including Internet access, e-mail, Web hosting, database hosting, streaming media and managed colocation services. Microsoft Internal Provider wanted an affordable, scalable and easy-to-manage solution that could consolidate its existing Web storage into a centralized location, without service disruption. Microsoft Internal Provider opted to add a network attached storage (NAS) solution to the existing infrastructure - specifically the HP StorageWorks NAS 2000s, running Windows Storage Server 2003 - as the optimum consolidation solution for the Web server content.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: To rapidly accommodate increased usage, Microsoft Internal Provider found it necessary to add storage to existing servers or acquire more servers. Such an approach created additional management complexity and did not provide the long-term solutions we were looking for. In order to achieve greater scalability and manageability, Microsoft Internal Provider wanted to move to a model where Web server content could be consolidated into a centralized storage solution. We explored the possibility of a storage area network (SAN), but instead chose a Hewlett-Packard StorageWorks Network Attached Storage solution powered by the Windows Storage Server 2003 because it was the most cost-effective, scalable and easy-to-manage option. The HP StorageWorks NAS solution also integrated seamlessly within the existing IT infrastructure.
STRENGTHS: Strengths of the product include simplified management, 100% improved scalability with the ability to add extra storage quickly, and significant time and cost savings.
WEAKNESSES: An integrated intelligent controller on the NAS 2000s, like there is on the NAS 4000s, would be great to have. This would allow for greater control over storage and the ability to integrate block-level access to applications.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Other proprietary NAS products were evaluated but not selected because of price and lack of integration with the Microsoft environment. As the leader in networked storage and an early adopter of Windows Storage Server 2003, Hewlett-Packard was selected as the NAS vendor of choice.
DELIVERABLES: The combined solution of Windows Storage Server 2003 and HP StorageWorks NAS 2000s provides simplified management, enhanced performance, reduced IT staff hours and decreased cost for an overall lower total cost of ownership. The solution also provides storage scalability and allows significant growth in the Web site hosting business.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Microsoft Internal Provider received very solid support from both HP and Microsoft. HP provided comprehensive architectural design support both onsite and over the phone.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is complete and easy to understand.
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