Microsoft is letting its data heavy customers have a Free StorSimple device

How would you like to reduce your initial SAN costs and expenditure and change it to a montly ongoing cost , Microsoft if giving customers its Azure StorSimple 1200 for FREE

Feature StorSimple Virtual Array
Installation requirements Uses virtualization infrastructure (Hyper-V or VMware)
Availability Single node
Total capacity (including cloud) Up to 64 TB usable capacity per virtual array
Local capacity 390 GB to 6.4 TB usable capacity per virtual array (need to provision 500 GB to 8 TB of disk space)
Native protocols iSCSI or SMB
Recovery time objective (RTO) iSCSI: less than 2 minutes regardless of size
Recovery point objective (RPO) Daily backups and on-demand backups
Storage tiering Uses heat mapping to determine what data should be tiered in or out
Support Virtualization infrastructure supported by the supplier
Performance Varies depending on underlying infrastructure
Data mobility Can restore to the same device or do item-level recovery (file server)
Storage tiers Local hypervisor storage and cloud
Share size Tiered: up to 20 TB; locally pinned: up to 2 TB
Volume size Tiered: 500 GB to 5 TB; locally pinned: 50 GB to 500 GB
Volume size Tiered: up to 5 TB; locally pinned: up to 500 GB
Snapshots Crash consistent
Item-level recovery Yes; users can restore from shares



  • StorSimple Cloud Appliance 1200 monthly subscription = £94.96
  • You will also need to pay for your storage in Azure Blob

The tiering engine is now based on a heat map. Frequently accessed blocks are kept locally. Colder blocks are deduped, compressed, encrypted and sent to an Azure storage account, which can be cool blob storage (ultra cheap disk).

StorSimple is available as a virtual appliance, with up to 64 TB (hot + cold, with between 500 GB and 8 TB of that kept locally) per appliance.

Other Benefits

  • Auto backups with 13 years of retention.

  • DR Situation you receieve a new unit and can start to use data in 2 minutes of installation

  • Requires 5 Mbps data per virtual appliance for normal usage.


  • Archive: You need to store a lot of data that is not accessed very frequently. E.g. CCTV , old customer information, financial data and huge Medical Scans.
  • File storage: You can use a StorSimple appliance as a file server, instead of a classic Windows Server. The shares are the same – the appliance runs Windows Server – and you manage share permissions the same way. This is ideal for small businesses and branch offices.
  • Backup: Veeam supports StorSimple as a backup target. You get the benefit of automatically storing backups in the cloud with lots of long term retention.
  • Virtual Appliance can be setup with ready made VHDX/VHD or VMDK Applicancies , attach the disk, configure networking, provision shares/LUNs from the Azure Portal, and just use the storage.

Azure Files Sync .. the new DFS-R?

Microsoft is announcing Azure File Sync a solution for customers who currently use DFS-R to share files between their multi site servers to leverage the cloud in enabling a cloud base file share and storage. Available for Supported OS for File Sync: WS2012 R2 and WS2016

Customers still use file shares due to 

  • App Compatibility 

  • Performance and training compared to Sharepoint and One Dirve for business

Why its good


  • Now with Azure File Sync , if a site file server fails , you just need spin a new box up and sync directly from the cloud without worrying about saturating two Internet Connections
  • Backups now done directly in the cloud instead of worrying about onsite. This means you can take snapshots during the day without effecting onpremise file access
  • Work Folders over HTTPS work per Normal
  • Permissions are still the same
  • Does not use outdated technology such as DFS-R it Microsoft Sync Framework that is around for over 5 years and is used by SQL Server
  • You can export all your company files using an offsite backup 100TB disk. Currently supports files up to 1tb each and 30 Million File count
  • Azure Backup is Azure Files Sync aware.


  • AD integration and ACLs
  • Larger shares (~100 TB instead of 5 TB)
  • Azure file sync GA
  • Cross region sync of storage
  • ZRS – sync writes across three availability zones

Uses for Azure B-Series - the cost efficient burstable VM size

Microsoft are coming around to copying all VM's and services available on Amazon's AWS e.g. Snowball ( Azure Databox ) and Glacier - ( Azure Archive ) 

One of these is the B Series ( Amazon's T2 released in 2014 ) , which are Microsofts Burstable VM range,  that can burst when needed to 100% CPU. You have a specific amount of CPU credits which you can use for these bursts during the day to make sure you are not overusing the VM. Once you run out of credits your CPU is capped ( like your home broadband if when you go over the limit ) until you build these credits up.

To get a better understanding how much credits are banked per hour per different VM size, have a look at the following table.        

VM size Credits banked / hour Max banked credits
Standard_B1s 6 144
Standard_B1ms 12 288
Standard_B2s 24 576
Standard_B2ms 36 864
Standard_B4ms 54 1296
Standard_B8ms 81 1944

How do you know when you have used all your Credits up?

The Azure service you are looking for is Azure Monitor with its metrics. The metrics are directly included in the VM blade of an Azure VM.

Here you get two different monitoring options for the credits.

  1. [Host] CPU Credits Consumed
  2. [Host] CPU Credits Remaining


Email Parser

You do not know when these will be coming in however you may need to do specific work on the email when it does throughout the working day. The same can be said for any parsing work.

A GIT Code repository

You only need high CPU for PUT and PULLs requests to a code repository.

Transcription Services

Same as your email parser you have no idea when these transcriptions will be coming in, however when they do , they need to be actioned straight away.

Relational database

such as MySQL or SQL Server – on a virtual machine. Normally, you’re performing run-of-the-mill read queries that aren’t particularly expensive, but at the end of the week, you need to run a series of huge, complex reports that really eat up processing time.

Low priority Internal tools which have relatively low traffic

To participate in this preview, request quota in the supported region that you would like. After your quota has been approved, you can use the portal or the API’s to do your deployment as you normally would.

Launching the preview with the following regions, but expect more later this year:

  • US – West 2
  • US – East
  • Europe – West
  • Asia Pacific – Southeast

These are offered in Preview Currently which means they shouldn't be used in a production environment due to lack of warranty (

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