ISV Case Study: Security-Enhanced, Cost-Effective Hybrid Storage with Windows Azure Storage

hybrid storage solution for Microsoft applications and virtualized environmentsEnterprises need cost-effective primary storage for a SharePoint, Fileservers, and Virtual machines. And they are turning to a combination on premises storage solutions with Windows Azure storage. StorSimple’s appliance dramatically reduces storage and maintenance costs while helping organizations simplify data storage environments.

The Problem

How do you store the data you need most often so that the data that you need most is closest to you, and the data you do not access so much is protected?

For example, a user may have a 500MB mailbox for email, but only send and receive 25MB of email daily, so the vast majority of email accessed is from the last few days. Newer documents that are created and stored on a collaboration system in the last few days are accessed much more frequently than those stored six months prior.

What how do you make the solution so that it was transparent to your users about what was stored where?

The Solution

StorSimple provides a purpose-built hybrid storage appliance that blends the best of on-premises storage, WAN optimization, and security, to address application-specific storage-centric issues. StorSimple appliance is a data center appliance that attaches to your LAN, exposing integrated capacity (including SSD) along with public or private cloud storage as iSCSI volumes.

This provides seamless integration between existing applications and cloud storage without disruption.


How it works

StorSimple uses a hierarchical storage architecture that provides fast access to working set data through a patented Weighted Storage Layout (WSL) technology. WSL intelligently examines all data being read from or written to the appliance to dynamically and continually identify the working set.

Hot spot and working set data is stored in a large tier of high-performance, low-latency SSD, which provides performance similar to the memory cache found in a traditional storage array, but at a much larger scale. Primary storage de-duplication is used to increase space efficiency, and data is transparently tiered across integrated storage (including SSD) and also cloud storage.


Data stored in the cloud is encrypted using AES-256 with Cipher Block Chaining. This is not a caching solution where the cloud storage service is your primary storage repository. Instead StorSimple allows you to use the appliance as an on-premises storage system without the cloud, and take advantage of the cloud when you’re ready.

When the cloud is used, StorSimple ensures the highest performance tier in the appliance (built using SSD) is automatically populated with the data that is most valuable to your users and applications. By detecting shifts in the working set and transparently moving data amongst the tiers, StorSimple is able to provide the performance expected of traditional on-premises storage systems. When used with the cloud, StorSimple is automatically compressing, deduplicating, and encrypting your data, meaning your cloud storage service bill is reduced. Additionally, by handling the vast majority of IOs locally, and adaptively moving data amongst the tiers according to changes in the working set, StorSimple is reducing your cloud storage data transfer costs.

Encryption is applied using keys you supply – which are never shared with your cloud provider – meaning you retain full control of your data, and peace of mind knowing that your data is safe, even if a cloud provider loses a drive or is asked to hand over your data.

By taking advantage of the cloud, customers can enjoy the flexibility of a ‘pay-onuse’ pricing model for cloud capacity, and the elasticity of the cloud – meaning you don’t have to make massive storage purchases up front.

Microsoft Integration

The solution integrates with key enterprise Microsoft applications, including:

· Microsoft Exchange

· Microsoft SharePoint

· Windows file servers

· Virtualized desktop and server environments including Hyper-V.

About StorSimple

StorSimple securely and transparently integrates the cloud into on-premises applications and offers a single appliance that delivers high-performance tiered storage, live archiving, cloud based data protection and disaster recovery, reducing cost by up to 80 percent compared to traditional enterprise storage.

Additional Resources

See Also


Bruce D. KyleISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation