Microsoft is cooking virtual storage in Azure

SoftNAS spans on-prem and Azure with virtual NAS, and there's news to come in April


Microsoft is prepping something to do with virtual storage appliances spanning on-premises storage and Azure and will reveal all in April.

This story starts with an early January postannouncing that SoftNAS can now offer its virtual NAS devices across on-premises storage and Azure.

That post piqued The Register's interest, because we are aware of no other virtual storage vendor that can play that way in Azure.

SoftNAS is not a storage industry titan but we figured that if Microsoft sees value in virtual storage from a minnow, perhaps it is also open to the idea of working with more established storage players.

Our inquiries about Redmond's intentions in this field did not yield a solid answer, but elicited a promise that Microsoft will have something to say on the matter in April.

What might that something be? Virtual storage is a nascent field: VMware last week claimed leadership in the market with a US$300m run rate, and even that figure was rubbery because it included hyperconverged kit. In any case, we can discount the idea of VSAN stretching out into Azure, because Microsoft is unlikely to nourish a competitor in that way.

This leaves us with Microsoft's cloudy allies and therefore to HPE, which has the Left Hand virtual storage appliance and a stated commitment to love Azure forever.

Also, let's not forget Microsoft's work with NetApp to better virtualize FreeBSD, as NetApp's Data ONTAP is a heavily customised BSD. And NetApp has ONTAP Edge, the virtual version of ONTAP.

Whatever's coming down the pike, the mere fact that Azure is already capable of becoming part of a hybrid virtual NAS shows storage is sure to be challenged by all manner of cloudy concoctions. ®

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