October 19, 2012
microsoft-cloudMicrosoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is looking to build out its cloud storage business. The Redmond-based company signed a definitive agreement to acquire cloud-integrated storage vendor StorSimple, a move that indicates the company has taken a step back to truly look at what it currently offers in the cloud.
Microsoft has been a large player in the public cloud space, so the intended acquisition of StorSimple is a bit of an oddity. As Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told Talkin’ Cloud, StorSimple is quite clearly in the hybrid cloud space, which he said will actually make it a good fit for Microsoft and Windows Azure.
“Basically, the StorSimple deal suggests that Microsoft has made some tough assessments regarding its cloud offerings and strategies,” King said. “Rather than the sunny view that the company and others have projected regarding cloud, actual customers have been more guarded, focusing largely on deploying internal clouds or hybrid clouds mixing private IT assets and public services.”
StorSimple and Microsoft are no stranger to each other. The two companies have been doing integration work together for the last couple of years, and this acquisition no will doubt mean even greater integration between StorSimple’s cloud storage solutions and the growing suite of Microsoft cloud services and platforms. StorSimple’s products integrate on-premise and cloud storage infrastructure, promising customers data protection and a 90 percent reduction in costs.
This should also give Microsoft a boost in its ongoing battle for dominance in the cloud market. As noted by Zacks Equity Research, Amazon dominates the cloud storage world with its Simple Storage Service (S3), but Microsoft and Rackspace (NYSE: RAX) aren’t all that far behind in the game. Will the acquisition of StorSimple give the company the boost it needs to really give Amazon Web Services a run for its money? Only time will tell.
For Microsoft’s channel partners, there’s even more of a question mark hanging overhead. The company hasn’t exactly been the strongest partner when it comes to bringing cloud services to the market, although it has started to come to its senses in recent months.
“What the deal means for partners, especially MSPs focusing on storage and data management, is less clear,” King said. “Microsoft will likely say, as they have before, that partners are welcome to build value-added services on the Azure platform, but given the studied ease of use central to StorSimple’s offerings, that may be a stretch.”
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