Microsoft StorSimple virtual array. Part 2

In our previous post, Microsoft Azure StorSimple: Easy Hybrid Cloud Access. Part 1 we told you why Microsoft StorSimple is the best solution for those who are just getting started with hybrid cloud storage. Companies that have entered into an Enterprise Agreement with the ability to use Microsoft Azure were able to access the virtual version as early as March: the Microsoft StorSimple virtual array. It can also be used in VMware and Hyper-V environments. We offer you a small excursion from a series of question-answer on this decision.

For whom is the StorSimple virtual array the perfect solution?

Microsoft's StorSimple virtual array is the perfect solution for companies operating in a distributed IT infrastructure that must always be flexible. In many companies, IT departments seek to control the backup and recovery process, as well as perform disaster recovery centrally. Most often, a long-term investment in hardware is not an optimal solution, especially if the company is at the stage of dynamic growth. This is where the StorSimple virtual array comes into play.

Its advantages are obvious. This solution is:
  • adaptive
  • cost effective
  • extremely flexible
  • easy to manage

  • provides a number of key features and applications, including working in the Microsoft Azure cloud environment.

What does this solution look like from a technical point of view?

First of all, you need to remember that, unlike its older brother, the StorSimple hardware device, the StorSimple virtual array is available not only for iSCSI, but also works with the SMB protocol. This means that it can easily start working with existing file services, and at the same time provide exactly the same advantages as its predecessor.

Any DFS methodology used by the company can easily be combined with the StorSimple virtual array.
When combined with the Microsoft Azure cloud environment , the StorSimple virtual array opens up additional possibilities:

  • Azure-integrated Backup Vault, an electronic backup storage, enables backup and recovery of data stored in the StorSimple virtual array
  • In case of an accident, the transition to the backup array can be carried out by simply pressing
  • If necessary, this procedure can be performed automatically, using the Azure Automation service, if necessary.
  • The following functions performed by the older brother are also available in this virtual array:
    • Local binding of volumes
    • Login
    • Encryption
  • Connections are established exclusively according to the “from internal to external” scheme, which will undoubtedly be appreciated by IT security staff


The StorSimple virtual array just requires the following virtualization platforms:
  • Hyper-V (2008, 2012, 2012 R2) or
  • VMware (5.5 and later)
In addition, the VM must satisfy the following performance requirements:
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 4 cores
  • 500 GB of local disk space for the operating system and cache

What architecture can I use?

Azure Blob Storage is an essential architectural element. In order to create the volumes and the volumes there in the container’s storage, users need to register an Azure storage account. The storage account sets redundancy settings (for example, geo-redundant storage (GRS), locally redundant storage (LRS)) in order to determine the availability of BLOB storage. The virtual array uses this storage to store suitable data blocks.

The StorSimple Management Tool is the primary management tool used to manage all StorSimple installations. Access to it can be obtained exclusively through a web browser, which, thus, eliminates the need to install any local controls.

Microsoft Azure Cloud also provides other high-performance services. Thus, the data that is currently stored in the cloud will be constantly available. Data is stored in so-called cloud images in the Azure Cloud, which provides access to data using a virtual device. This function is extremely convenient if the data needs to be processed in another application, for example, in Hadoop.

Possible use cases

The StorSimple virtual array is mainly used as a file solution in branches of companies that do not have their own IT staff in the field. This environment cannot function without the central management provided by the StorSimple management tool. There is no reason not to use an additional VM with the virtual array if the virtualized branch server is already installed in place.

To summarize

Microsoft's virtual array is an incredibly simple solution. Moreover, the StorSimple virtual array is a hybrid solution that miraculously serves as a springboard for the cloud.

» Microsoft Announces General Availability for the Microsoft Azure StorSimple Virtual Array
» Announcing general availability of the StorSimple Virtual Array
» Introduction to the StorSimple Virtual Array

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