Hi all – Claude Lorenson, group product manager for Microsoft storage here.  There’s no question that managing the ever-growing “data deluge” is a challenge for many organizations. For a lot of companies, data growth outpaces IT budgets.  Add compliance, security, and business continuity needs to the mix, and it’s clear why data storage continues to be a top issue for IT.  Sophisticated storage networking solutions exist, but many are overly expensive or complex to implement and maintain.  IDC says just one third of medium businesses and 45% of large organizations are currently using advanced storage technologies, for example.
In response to this need, today we launched a new Windows storage platform:  Windows Unified Data Storage Server 2003 (WUDSS.)  This new product – available now within Dell’s new PowerVault NX1950 hardware and through other OEMs later – represents a big milestone for Microsoft storage technology. By bringing together Windows Storage Server file server capabilities, Windows iSCSI target and initiator software, and new storage management features, WUDSS will be an ideal mid-range solution for customers looking to more easily store and manage file and block (email, database, line of business applications) data.  WUDSS is great progress on our overall goal of making high end storage capabilities more affordable and accessible to a broader market. 
Some of WUDSS key functionality:
·         The new Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE) system management interface that guides administrators through the initial setup.
·         As part of the initial setup and configuration of storage and shares provisioning, the Provision Storage Wizard and the Provision a Shared Folder Wizard can be run one after the other to provide a seamless, unified provisioning experience for SMB and NFS storage.
·         Combined file, print, and block storage services and management on a single platform and in a single interface.  The Share and Management MMC snap-in simplifies management of shares and volume by providing unification of SMB and NFS share provisioning, integrated share and storage provisioning, and a unified overview of storage and shares. Attributes on shares and volumes can be assigned upon creation.
·         Remote admin by connecting a client computer browser to http://servername/admin. The server detects the client OS and launches the ActiveX® RDP client for Windows computers, or Java RDP support for non-Windows computers.
·         New cluster configuration wizard that simplifies the deployment of redundant storage devices
Take a look…and let us know what you think!