Simplify Cloud Storage with Microsoft’s StorSimple

Storage is the bane of every IT admin’s existence. Just as an overstuffed closet or messy desk causes stress and disorganization, a “pile” of unstructured data hinders your productivity. Files are never there when you need them.

Even with 20 years of Samba (SMB) and the advent of OneDrive and Google Drive, determining where to store data is still an issue.

As a premier Microsoft partner, Agile IT has migrated millions of user mailboxes to the cloud. One of the most common questions clients ask is, “How do I get my data moved over to the cloud, too? Can I just throw everything in SharePoint or OneDrive?”

The answer? No, you can’t.

Where OneDrive and SharePoint Fall Short for Cloud Storage

Sure, it’s tempting to imagine you can automatically redirect user profiles without any user interaction. Traditional file servers have enabled this for decades.

That’s not the case with OneDrive. Folder redirection requires user interaction and at least three reboots to set up. And as any IT systems admin knows, that’s potentially three calls to the help desk.

For SharePoint, the only way to map a library (aside from the use of additional third-party tools) is to use WebDAV. However, Microsoft has deprecated WebDav and no longer recommends it — not to mention its inconsistency and lack of reliability when piloting deployments.

Getting Your Data Into the Cloud With StorSimple

At this point in the conversation, clients typically ask, “What will it take to get my data in the cloud?”

The answer is simpler than you’d expect: StorSimple. Without reinventing the wheel, StorSimple is a cloud storage gateway that presents itself as an SMB share with NTFS permissions and automatically tiers cold storage to the Azure cloud.

StorSimple organizes your “messy closet” of data, cleaning up the data you don’t use and storing it for when you do. If you lose something or need an important piece of data, StorSimple can grab it for you. All your data, available when and where you need it.

With StorSimple, you can continue redirecting folders and mapping network drives using Group Policy — just like you’ve done for 20 years. However, you don’t have to rebuild your SAN every three to five years when you run out of disc space. And no more worrying about Joe in accounting downloading his entire iTunes library to the department file share.

How to Get StorSimple

There are a few ways to get StorSimple. The first is directly from Microsoft. You’d pay Microsoft $100,000 for its StorSimple appliance with arrays of SSD and HDDs tiering to the cloud.

For a less costly option, StorSimple is also available as a virtual appliance with an Azure CSP subscription, which Agile IT’s award-winning staff can spin up for you next week (if you ask us to).

With the subscription model, StorSimple runs as a VM on either a Hyper-V or VMware host. Plus, once you register your VM with your Agile IT Azure CSP subscription, you’ll get access to our Thursday Tech Talk sessions with an Agile IT Engineer to help plan your migration.

What You Get With StorSimple

Popular usage cases for StorSimple include archiving, files shares and iSCSI targets. StorSimple can be configured with several options, each with its own pros and cons listed below.

SMB Target

iSCSI Target


  • Self-Service File Restores

  • Entire share is accessible the instant a recovery VM is created

  • No data restriction

  • Entire share is accessible the instant a recovery VM is created


  • 5,000,000 file limit per share

  • Lacks the self-service file restores available on SMB shares

StorSimple also has built-in, block-level data deduplication. It’s automatically configured with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly retention policies.

If your tape backup software supports SMB or iSCSI targets, you can throw away your tape deck. If it’s not supported, you can deploy Amazon Web Services (AWS) Storage Gateway as a Virtual Tape library. (More on this in another post.)

Deploying StorSimple is one of the easiest ways to get started in the cloud without having to build out VPN connectivity to one of Microsoft’s data centers.

Interested in trying StorSimple? Schedule a meeting with an Agile IT cloud expert today.

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