Microsoft has improved its NAS, Fibre Channel and iSCSI support.
Exchange Server 2003 files and data will soon be able to be consolidated onto Windows-powered storage devices, such as NAS boxes. A feature pack has been released to manufacturing and will be available from NAS vendors in the coming months.
"Customers tell us they are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their IT infrastructure through networked storage on the Windows platform," director of product management and marketing for storage at Microsoft, Zane Adam, said.
Microsoft aimed to reduce storage costs with consolidated, simplified management of Exchange Server data on Windows Storage Server and claimed it was helping to make SANs more manageable and cost-effective.
When used as a host to a Fibre Channel SAN, Windows Server 2003's new Fibre Channel Information Tool will be able to dynamically gather component SAN information, providing configuration data needed to troubleshoot multi-vendor environments.
This tool will be available for download free of charge at Microsoft's downloads page in May.
Storage tracing support within Windows Server 2003 will also consolidate the various tracing and logging mechanisms used by storage drivers on SANs.
It will be available as part of Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003. Adaptec, Emulex, Intel, LSI Logic and QLogic have committed to support this capability in their drivers.
Microsoft's iSCSI architecture will now also be supported with Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition.
And native iSCSI support is provided for Microsoft Multipath I/O.
Support has been improved for multi-path failover and load balancing between the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator and iSCSI targets. Native Microsoft MPIO support will be included in Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator version 2.0, available at the end of 2004.
The aim is that Windows servers will better interoperate with Windows-powered NAS and Microsoft iSCSI targets than Unix servers will be able to.