Storage boost: Microsoft set to join SNIA ANZ

Microsoft is looking to increase its storage presence in the Australian market by joining the local chapter of the Storage Networking Industry Association.

The company will announce voting membership to the storage industry's groups local affiliate, SNIA ANZ, in the coming weeks. Membership to SNIA provides Microsoft with a chance to increase its storage market share in Australia.

Microsoft's Windows servers' product manager, Michael Leworthy, said this would allow Microsoft to join "storage powerbrokers" in the Australian market.

Currently, SNIA ANZ has the following voting members: Cisco, EMC, HDS, HP, IBM, Imation, Brocade, Legato, Network Appliance, Quantum, Sun and Veritas

Traditionally storage has been a proprietary offering where end users were limited to a single vendor's storage offerings, due largely to the absence of any storage standards.

SNIA's role on a global level is to create storage standards and to pass on these developments to SNIA ANZ.

The association's aim is to essentially educate end users, traditionally large enterprise customers, about the state of play in the storage world and tell them what vendor devices work with other vendors' products.

The SNIA membership is divided into voting and non-voting membership. Currently, Microsoft is a non-voting member in SNIA's global organisation, However, it is expected to join the current members in SNIA's Australia and New Zealand affiliate in time for the inaugural board meeting, which is to be held on November 21.

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) announced the official formation of the Australian and New Zealand chapter of the association in August. Following the November elections, SNIA ANZ will officially launch on December 4.

"In Australia, Microsoft has been approached by SNIA and is seriously considering voting membership," Leworthy said.

"[In] the local market, Microsoft is looked upon by current members as being able to provide key messaging and support to drive the awareness and benefits of storage solutions," he said.

By becoming an active member Microsoft opens up doors for newer opportunities with tier-one storage vendors, Leworthy said.

Through its increased membership role, Microsoft could highlight its storage solutions to the general storage community and build deeper relations with the storage hardware vendors in Australia, he said.

"From a SNIA perspective, it is very exciting to have it [Microsoft] on board," director of network storage at HP and vice chairman of SNIA ANZ, Andrew Manners, said.

The presence of Sun, HP and IBM meant most of the major operating systems vendors were represented in the group. Microsoft, with its new offering to the storage community of its network attached storage product, Windows Storage Server 2003, rounds out that enterprise OS offering.

Meanwhile, Microsoft – whose main storage partner in the Australian storage market is HP - has been aggressively pushing its recently released storage server.

"Hewlett-Packard was the first major partner to support Windows Storage Server 2003," Leworthy said.

Since the launch of Windows Storage Server 2003, Microsoft had actively undertaken SAN and NAS training to primarily HP resellers, he said.

Much of this training has been on the entry-level NAS device, the HP StorageWorks NAS 1000.

Microsoft's other partners include EMC, Iomega and HDS. It was currently in talks with Dell, Leworthy said.

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