Who is Afraid of Microsoft?
Did you know that Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 (Wait, I need to take a breath ... Wow that's hard to say.) Anyway, I was saying that WSS 2003 is actually one of the most innovative NAS technologies in the market. We all have our fun and bash Microsoft but WSS 2003 supports two of the most important technologies that I have been touting for the last year or so.
The first is single instance storage, the ability to remove duplicate files physically but keep them virtually available. This is a form of data de-duplication that can result in saving a ton of storage capacity. If you have a 5 MB file that has been copied 10 times, you can save at least 50 MB of capacity (more if you add RAID and any protection copies). They are the only primary NAS technology that supports this.
The other really valuable feature that struck me is its ability to perform search on its file system. I believe search is going to become requisite with file-based storage systems. If you have thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions and potentially billions of files stored, then you will need search capability to intelligently and efficiently access the right files when you need them. Again, only Microsoft supports a native search function for its primary NAS solution.
Who says that big vendors can't innovate?
Microsoft will go on about a dozen other things they do great. But these are two fundamental and important technologies that should be in every NAS solution in the market.