On Monday, March 5 Sanbolic is officially launching ShareCenter, a file serving module for the company’s Melios Enterprise shared storage file system. The aim is to bust open Windows storage silos and alleviate the scaling and management constraints for organizations that put their file serving trust in Microsoft.

Watertown, Mass.-based Sanbolic takes a hardware-agnostic approach to extending resource pooling, management and application-aware shared storage to cloud and virtual environments like Hyper-V and Citrix. With ShareCenter, it’s Windows Server’s turn.

Cracking Open Windows Storage

Centralized management, provisioning and quality of service capabilities aren’t new concepts for NAS vendors. Yet shops running Windows Server for their file serving needs don’t typically get those benefits, according to Sanbolic’s co-founder and CEO, Momchil Michailov.

Michailov says his company is doing for Windows Server-based file serving environments “what VMware did for computer servers.” He adds, “The value is in the hypervisor, the server is sheet metal.” For Windows Server, that sheet metal typically takes the form of commodity hardware.

Tackling Windows Server is a natural fit for Sanbolic’s hardware agnosticism, explained Michailov. Citing statistics from analyst Deni Connor of Storage Strategies NOW, Michailov said that of the Windows Server licenses sold, “60 percent of them end up in file serving environments.”

While Windows Server is good at many things, preventing the siloing effect isn’t one of them. According to Deni Connor, “silos of Windows Servers have become commonplace in most enterprise IT environments, resulting in extremely inefficient management and resource utilization.”

By “decoupling data from the storage infrastructure,” explained Michailov, ShareCenter opens up these silos to centralized provisioning, high availability and data protection features,and QoS to help prioritize workloads. Storage management gets baked-in into the Windows Server administration environment, saving time for IT personnel and preventing them from juggling dashboards and interfaces.

Eventually, the biggest deciding factor boils down to cost. Sanbolic hopes to strike a chord with budget watchers with the premise that it can scale its storage without invoking the high cost of proprietary NAS hardware — relatively speaking. Courtesy of Melio’s 64 bit file system, customers can start with as little as 1 TB and scale up to 2,000 nodes, says Michailov.

Deni Connor expects Sanbolic’s tech and value proposition to resonate with IT buyers. “A solution such as ShareCenter that is non-proprietary, highly affordable and offers the ability to successfully overcome these challenges in an uncomplicated manner will be met with tremendous customer approval,” she states.

ShareCenter is included as part of Melio Enterprise. Pricing starts at $999.