A new solution is part of the comprehensive Dell family of storage products! Dell Storage with Microsoft Storage Spaces is a comprehensive offering of validated and tested Dell hardware with Microsoft Storage Spaces technology. This new Scale-Out File Server (SOFS) solution is the result of close collaboration between the Microsoft and Dell development teams and we are proud to announce its general availability this June.

There is tremendous interest about Software Defined Storage (SDS) in general and Microsoft’s Storage Spaces technology is no exception. There is actually a completely new trend in storage, a “New IT” movement, characterized by administrators considering new architectural paths and looking for more flexibility in their environments.  To this end, Dell has developed the industry’s broadest portfolio of SDS solutions based on teaming closely with partners such as Microsoft, VMware, Nutanix, Nexenta and Red Hat.

So, what is driving IT administrators and decision makers to embrace SDS?

There are clear motives for the attention that SDS receives today. For one, reduction in capital expenses (CAPEX) and operational expenses (OPEX)-- the hope of cutting down on acquisition cost as well as reducing administrative and maintenance overhead are high on our customer’s wish list. This is closely followed by the desire for more flexibility in integrating storage components into their existing management infrastructure and the rest of the data center.

Another important focal point is the perceived advantage of hardware abstraction. While there is a clear upside to using commodity components that can be leveraged throughout the data center, things are not that clear cut.

Leveraging hardware and installing software are only half of the story. Industry-wide there has been some realization that SDS implementations do require testing of the entire solution stack and that validation of individual components (hardware and software) is critical to ensure reliable operation. This is especially true for large-scale deployments and installations that have high-performance expectations on IOPS and throughput.

Enter Dell Storage with Microsoft Storage Spaces, a collaborative effort between Dell and Microsoft to bring to market a set of validated and tested building blocks that can be used in custom deployments as well as turn-key solutions.

Storage Spaces is a Microsoft storage virtualization technology that is shipping with almost every version of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system. Leveraging enterprise storage technologies, such as caching and tiering, Storage Spaces is a viable alternative to traditional storage for some customers, especially for Microsoft-centric workloads with Hyper-V, VDI, SQL and private cloud.

Given Dell’s large Microsoft operating system install base, we have quickly identified our customers’ desire for Storage Spaces and have put an emphasis on developing solutions that combine the benefits of Microsoft’s SDS technology with Dell’s award winning hardware, services and support. This includes turn-key solutions such as the CPS (Cloud Platform System) and other smaller scale solutions.

The Dell Storage with Microsoft Storage Spaces solution is focused on delivering a flexible SOFS offering targets customers with very specific requirements that cannot be met with one of the turn-key solutions offered today. Additionally, Dell Storage with Microsoft Storage Spaces provides an end-to-end engagement with our customers for the lifecycle of the solution. This starts with pre-sales engagements on capacity and performance sizing metrics for the customer’s specific workload, continues through the factory fulfillment process and deployment of the solution. Dell offers deployment services worldwide that ensure a smooth experience for the customer and solution validation on-site. Finally, on premise support for systems management and support services close the loop. Dell’s unparalleled support with flexible support options, ranging from next business day to  four-hour mission critical response, are a big advantage to G500 customers and small businesses alike.

It is, however, what is going on under the hood that makes this solution so rewarding for customers.

Dell Storage with Microsoft Storage Spaces ensures that not only management, but also support characteristics are in-line with customer expectations for storage deployments. While using our award winning PowerEdge and Dell Storage hardware, support inquiries will receive solution specific attention.

Looking at management and maintenance, the combination of standard Microsoft and Dell tools allow for single payload updates to the entire cluster, taking the guesswork out of selecting the correct firmware for individual components or knowing at what sequence components need to be updated in the stack.

The combination of validated and tested top notch components, workload specific sizing, and optimized management tools paired with Dell deployment services and Dell Support make Dell Storage with Microsoft Storage Spaces an instant winner for anybody looking to deploy a Microsoft Storage Spaces based storage solution. Check us out at http://www.dell.com/microsoft and follow us at @Dell_Storage on Twitter.