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Have you been burned trying to deploy a hybrid cloud solution?  Have you hesitated to even try due to the long list of challenges?


I can’t blame you.  It looks daunting…




...but with the right partner by your side, realizing the benefits offered by hybrid cloud truly makes a difference to your business.



Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute with EMC is a key component empowering you to holistically manage and provide a secure and high-availability hybrid cloud environment. Organizations who effectively navigate the journey to the hybrid cloud can add anywhere from 20% to 80% more capacity without incremental cost.

Read the full story

Businesses trust partners who can bring data management, security and reliability to their hybrid cloud deployments.  Let’s face it; there really is no standard cloud implementation.  Most organizations have some form of a private cloud along with multiple instances of public cloud providers.  The challenge with this reality is that it is
nearly impossible to efficiently manage all of these cloud instances. But what is true and what is just hype?  It is often difficult to get to the core issues and benefits. 



Hybrid cloud critical drivers.PNG.png


"Microsoft-based hybrid clouds, in partnership with EMC, enable enterprise-grade security, performance, consistency across clouds and ease of porting workloads from data centers to the cloud."  Is this statement hype or reality for organizations like yours?



It involves speaking with people like you to be able to answer that question. In these conversations, EMC, with IDG Research, took a closer look at the business drivers, objectives, challenges and benefits of this move to hybrid cloud computing.  Here is what organizations, just like yours, had to say.

I find the Exchange and SharePoint application managers’ needs are fundamentally the same whether they are protecting these applications locally or in the cloud.  They cannot tolerate any service interruption or downtime. They also struggle with constant data growth and the constraints that put on the time it takes to adequately protect their Exchange and SharePoint applications.


Finding the best way to protect your Exchange and SharePoint data in the cloud can be a challenge.
You need a solution that is flexible enough to meet your immediate needs and grow with you into the future.


There is a new offering, powered by Microsoft Azure, from EMC that is dedicated to providing the best choice in cloud-based data protection.  EMC Avamar Virtual Edition (VE) offers Exchange and SharePoint administrators a variety of cloud-based protection configurations that easily integrate with existing solutions and provide a path to end to end virtual data protection.

You have the flexibility to choose how you want to configure your Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint applications.  If you have some data on-premises, no problem, you can use Avamar VE to backup local data directly to Azure, taking advantage of data deduplication, leveraging the benefits of cloud-based backups.  You could also replicate local backups to Azure providing added protection to existing configurations.  Finally, you can also protect cloud born Exchange and SharePoint by taking advantage of Azure’s compute and storage power with Avamar VE.


Partnering with Microsoft, EMC Avamar VE and Microsoft Azure offer virtual data protection solutions for your journey to the cloud.


EMC and Insight are launching Exchange and SharePoint solution days to help customers find answers to their most pressing messaging and collaboration problems.  We know how difficult it can be to navigate through all the new technologies.  These one day events are designed to be consultative discussions that provide plenty of 1:1 time with experts in many fields, including converged infrastructure, all flash arrays, highly scalable environments with software defined infrastructure, hybrid cloud and data protection.  You will benefit from understanding the impact and benefits these technologies bring to bear on your Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint applications.


You will leave this 1-day event with knowledge that can be applied to accelerate performance, increase agility, continuously protect, and quickly and flexibly deploy your Exchange and SharePoint solutions all with predictable lower cost.


We hope that you will be able to make it one of our upcoming events.  Events begin in August with Exchange and SharePoint solution days planned for Minneapolis, MN; Irvine, CA; and Santa Clara, CA. We will continually update this post with more details as we get closer to the event.


Be sure to follow this post to receive notification of additional information and when we will be in your neighborhood.


Feel free to share your thoughts on what challenges you are dealing with today in your Exchange and SharePoint environment in this thread.  The agenda is designed to be very interactive with a lot of white board conversations.

Participate in EMC's premier customer event, EMC World 2015.   Watch as our messaging and collaboration solutions come alive in live presentations or in the solutions booth in the exhibit hall.  You will find solutions to our customers most pressing business needs.  If you are not able to attend EMC World 2015, follow along via Twitter.


Follow our team who will be providing updates leading up to, during and after the event. Click Here


Join us at the following sessions during the event:


Easily deploy Exchange and SharePoint Using EMC's Solutions for Cloud

Join Jim Cordes for a Live Demonstration of an advanced technical solution.  Dive deep on deploying and managing Exchange and SharePoint server as part of EMC's solution for Cloud.  These fully engineered cloud solutions showcase the best of Microsoft, VMware and EMC technology.  This session explores how to implement a system that will automate the provisioning, monitoring, and reporting of Exchange and SharePoint server.

Tuesday 3:00pm-4:00pm

Repeat live session

Thursday 10:00am-11:00am


Data Protection for Exchange and SharePoint

Get together with Jim Cordes to participate in an intermediate level Live Technical Demonstration of a Data Protection Continuum for Exchange and SharePoint server.  Information in messaging and collaboration applications is mission-critical to our customers who require nearly constant access to their data.  They are how you communicate within and outside of your organization.  Watch as EMC protects Exchange and SharePoint data to meet all service levels from continuous availability to archive.

Tuesday 8:30am-9:30am

Repeat live session

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:30pm



In the Exhibit Hall - Stop by the Solutions Booth to learn about:


Messaging and Collaboration Converged Infrastructure

  • Optimize Data Management to keep pace with the rate of change in how organizations communicate and share information
  • Consolidate all the resources required to support messaging and collaboration applications
  • Drive out cost by increasing utilization of your infrastructure allowing you to support your organization with a smaller IT footprint

Messaging and Collaboration Hybrid Cloud

  • Achieve levels of agility previously unattainable to now lead in service delivery to business users
  • Broker service offerings by adjusting to changes in demands by easily scaling systems in response
  • Control business data throughout its entire lifecycle
  • Assured security and compliance
  • Workload optimized storage

Messaging and Collaboration Data Protection and Availability

  • Manage data growth and control sprawl of your Exchange and SharePoint databases
  • Deliver continuous access to messaging and collaboration data
  • Centralized administration for heterogeneous hybrid environments

As you read this blog keep Meghan Trainor’s new hit song “all about that bass” humming in your head.


“Because you know I’m all about the ESI Suite, no trouble, I’m all about the ESI Suite, ‘bout the ESI Suite”

The ESI Suite includes an MMC snap-in, Management Packs for System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and PowerShell Toolkits.  EMC continues to invest in ESI due to the strong demand from customers.  Best of all, it is available to download now, at no cost, from EMC.


Yeah, it’s pretty clear EMC Storage Integrator for Windows Suite (ESI) 3.6 “ain’t no” standard management console but rather is a set of storage integration tools for Microsoft Windows application administrators to automatically provision volumes from physical or virtual hosts via the Microsoft Management Console.  ESI supports a wide assortment of EMC storage arrays and now with the 3.6 release supports EMC XtremIO. That’s right, discover and register XtremIO with ESI, provision flash storage, attach disks to hosts, and choose NTFS allocation size and provision to NTFS volume mount points.


I see that SQL Server 2014 administrators “no longer need to be workin’ that Photoshop” to provision their volumes either.  ESI 3.6 now includes support for SQL Server 2014. So, whether you are SQL Server, Exchange Server, or SharePoint Server farm administrator, ESI can simplify your daily tasks by automating processes and allowing you to use the UI that you like best.


Microsoft Systems Center Operations Manager (SCOM) coverage has also gotten even more robust.  You can now monitor storage health and aggregate alerts and events for EMC VNXe3200.

“ESI 3.6 got that boom boom that all the Windows administrators chase and all the right junk in all the right places” – That’s right, the suite “Hey, Hey, You know you like this ESI”.  ESI 3.6 Download available

In today’s increasingly demanding business environments, enterprises are continually being driven to optimize processes and improve customer service. Consequently, there are increasing demands being placed on IT infrastructures to deliver higher performance – particularly around transactional workloads with high sensitivity to responsiveness. Enterprises
using Microsoft SQL Server within a highly transactional environment must consider new approaches to meet increasing performance, capacity and scalability requirements at reasonable costs.


Read, in the attached solution summary, how you can achieve a linear scale-out architecture that scales to meet any desired performance and capacity level and using thin provisioning reduces storage consumption by as much as 89%.

I am excited to share with you the summary of the key New Product Features included in this release:


  • Integrated Microsoft Active Directory role based access (RBAC) to the ESI GUI
  • Automate disk provisioning for Microsoft SQL Server via ESI GUI
  • Set up and manage application protection using RecoverPoint and/or Appsync via ESI GUI.
  • Provision storage for Linux servers


Product Overview


EMC Storage Integrator (ESI) for Windows Suite is a set of tools for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft applications administrators. ESI for Windows provides the ability to view, provision, and manage block and file storage for Microsoft Windows, Exchange, and SharePoint sites. ESI supports the EMC Symmetrix® VMAX® series, EMC VNX® series, EMC VNXe® series, and EMC CLARiiON® CX® fourth generation (CX4) series of storage systems. ESI requires that you install the applicable adapter for your specific storage systems.

For further details on the ESI Suite and all of its components click here


Detailed feature set included in the 3.5 release:


Role based access control in ESI with Active Directory

Automate application disk provisioning for SQL Server

SCOM VPLEX health monitoring

Automate application protection with AppSync

Manage RP Bookmarks from ESI GUI

Storage provisioning for Linux host

Compatibility and Interoperability



This product is compatible with:

Windows 2008

Windows 2008 R2

Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012 R2

Linux (RHEL 6.x, SUSE 11, Ubuntu 12.10)

SMB 3.0

System Center Operations Manager 2007/2007 R2 / 2012 / 2012 SP1

System Center 2012 R2

System Center Virtual Machine Manager(SCVMM) 2012 SP1 UR4 or later and SCVMM 2012 R2

Exchange 2010/2013

SharePoint 2013 (SharePoint 2010 support will be dropped from 3.5)

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and 2012 SP1 on Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 is not supported; Windows Server 2008 is not supported for SQL Server scenarios


VMWare vSphere 5.5 

Exchange 2013 with SP1 on Windows 2012 R2



Target platforms supported by this product are:







RecoverPoint 4.0 SP2 and 4.1

VNXe 3100, 3150, 3200 and 3300

VPLEX GeoSynchrony 5.2, 5.3 (SCOM only)

AppSync 1.6


Click here to download a copy of ESI 3.5

Much has been written of Microsoft’s transformation, most recently the naming of Satya Nadella as the third CEO in Microsoft’s history.  In reality, the foundation for the most visible of these changes has been laid over the course of years.  You can look at the development focus and release pace over the last couple of SQL Server versions to see the effect the Microsoft transformation is having on their database product line:


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A quick look at this will show two features:

  1. The pace of development is far more aggressive.  It used to be somewhat sleepy – releases every 5 years, speeding to every 3 years at the middle of the decade, and now every two years.
  2. The releases are now far more audacious.  The enhancements between SQL 7 and SQL 2008 were evolutionary, but the improvements in SQL 2012 and 2014 are potentially revolutionary.  In two years, they’ve introduced several new forms of in-memory processing with ColumnStore and In-memory tables (Hekaton), a very nearly completely overhauled replication and HA mechanism, not to mention the adaptation of SQL Server into a truly cloud-oriented database platform.

The rapid evolution of the SQL Server platform means that customers will be looking to EMC to provide advice on the infrastructure to support SQL and the applications that run on top of it.  Here’s what’s most likely to impact our conversations around SQL Server:

In Memory Optimization

In-memory OLTP is one of the most impactful features in SQL 2014.  There’s tons of material out on the web for you to research.  The thing that jumps out to me is that it’s rarely referred to as an “in-memory database”. “Whole-hog” migration of a database to in-memory is going to be a very rare beast with SQL 2014.  Instead, tables and stored procedures are individually identified as candidates for in-memory optimization. 

This means that a high performance database (HPDB) will likely continue to require access to storage with predictably low latency to maintain performance, even while using in-memory tables and SPs to increase performance.  Look for some upcoming EMC white papers to guide you around the best practices for in-memory optimization on EMC infrastructure.

Buffer Pool Extension

This neat little feature in SQL 2014 allows administrators to leverage low latency persistent storage devices (usually flash) to extend the buffer pools available to SQL Server.  Using this feature means both increased performance in read-intensive workloads (write-intensive and DW workloads will have limited performance increases), as well as an improved achievable consolidation ratios – always a concern given the cost of licensing.  Look to XtremSF to enable this feature for EMC customers.

Resource Governor

This utility has been in SQL Server for some time now, but has become more critical to the operation of SQL in the context of cloud computing.  It’s not a full quality of service implementation, but it allows the DBA to limit resources that a database can consume.  In SQL 2014, the Governor has been extended to allow control of IOPs per volume.  Look for this feature to be implemented to reduce risk of performance issues in Database as a Service deployments.

Hybrid Cloud

Aside from the in-memory OLTP capabilities, Hybrid Cloud support is the most talked about new feature in SQL 2014.  This paper has a variety of different use cases and illustrates how easy Microsoft is making it to move SQL databases into Azure.  I think one of the most popular options will be the simple integration of AlwaysOn Availability Groups with Azure, allowing customers to run production on-premises, while a secondary used for disaster recovery, reporting, or both can reside in Azure.  As Microsoft does not charge for data ingestion, disaster recovery to Azure becomes a very inexpensive option.


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In this scenario being able to control things like backup and transaction logs on all copies becomes more interesting to customers  EMC DPAD customers will be happy to find that Avamar and Networker supports these scenarios.


Continued Consolidation pressure

With SQL Server 2012, Microsoft dropped the Server+CAL licensing option for SQL Server Enterprise edition, and it appears there will be no change for SQL 2014.  The silver lining in this policy is that the per-core licensing makes smart virtualization a viable method for controlling licensing costs.  If you plan out your deployment with an understanding of your resource needs and how SQL is licensed, you can use converged infrastructure like vBlock or VSPEX to minimize your licensing cost exposure.

More storage options

SQL 2012 introduced the ability to leverage direct attached storage while retaining high availability features (by leveraging AlwaysOn Availability Groups).  It also introduced the ability to storage SQL databases on SMB shares (in the same manner that Oracle DBAs may choose to leverage NFS). SQL 2014 introduces support for cluster shared volumes (CSVs) with block storage devices.  This will allow more manageable block environments, with faster failover between nodes.

To illustrate the difference between CSVs and traditional cluster disks, consider the following diagram showing the latter:


Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 4.44.58 PM.png

In the figure above, we have a two node cluster with an active and passive node.  Only one of the nodes in the cluster can write to the NTFS volume at any given time.  The NTFS volume itself is part of the same cluster resource group that holds the SQL services.


Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 4.45.14 PM.png

Contrast that with the cluster shared volume.  Both nodes have read and write access to files in the volume (although it’s important to remember SQL itself does not allow RAC-style multi-writer access to the same file).

Support for cluster shared volumes means failover will be faster, as the presentation of the LUN to the passive node does not need to happen as part of the process.  It also means that block storage for SQL Server becomes even simpler by divorcing the workload (database) from the LUN itself. It also means that solutions like SQL Server with VPLEX will become even easier to deploy.


We’ve only just scratched the surface with this brief overview, but it should be clear that EMC solutions continue to play a critical part in extracting the maximum value out of your investment in SQL Server.  Contact your local EMC account team to start a conversation.

From the Helm

EMC's SQL Server 2014 Story


Much has been written of Microsoft’s transformation, most recently the naming of Satya Nadella as the third CEO in Microsoft’s history.  In reality, the foundation for the most visible of these changes has been laid over the course of years.  You can look at the development focus and release pace over the last couple of SQL Server versions to see the effect the Microsoft transformation is having on their database product line:

CLICK HERE to read more

Paul Galjan - Microsoft Global Functional Lead at EMC

Technical Tools & Videos

EMC STORAGE INTEGRATOR for Windows Suite 3.1 (ESI) is now available
We are highlighting the many uses of ESI in the video series below.  View the release enhancements, if you missed the announcement. ESI, with a UI based on Microsoft Management Console (MMC), is available for download for use with any of your EMC storage products.

Use ESI to provision a SharePoint content database

Use ESI to provision an Exchange content database

Watch as ESI automatically discovers your Exchange Forest

See how ESI brings application & storage services together

Watch storage provisioning made easy with ESI

EMC Data Protection Suite:

What's new in Avamar 7.1:
Now supporting Microsoft SQL Server 2014 in Hybrid Cloud deployments plus 6 more great new features


What's new in Networker 8.2:

Read about all the Enhancements to Microsoft Data Protection Visibility and Control plus much more

XtremIO Webinar  Series

Register Now

Upcoming Events

May 15th - The True Test of an All Flash Array

May 29th - Expand your VDI Horizon

Customer Corner

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See how ALOM transformed their IT for SQL, SharePoint and other applications.

Analyst Corner

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Read the comments on Microsoft's SharePoint Conference 2014:  Work This Way


In the Pipeline 

Coming next month

Focus on the newly released VNXe 3200 in Microsoft Environments

Bloggers Corner

Ross Smith from Microsoft has received great feedback on this recent post on Microsoft's preferred architecture for Exchange Server.  Check it out.



Join Your Peers at EMC World 2014!
EMC World 2014 on now through May 8th in Las Vegas at the Venetian!  As data growth explodes, EMC creates the infrastructure that enables you to manage your business and your career.  Come to EMC World 2014 to participate in dozens of Microsoft specific sessions!

Join us May 5-8 in Las Vegas!


Visit Microsoft TechEd
Microsoft TechEd is being held in  Houston, TX May 12-15Learn more >>

EMC World – Those words bring a smile to my face.  It gives me, and hundreds of others like me at EMC, the opportunity to meet with customers.   We cherish the opportunity to get out and meet with customers.  I know that I often work on projects for weeks, even months and never get the opportunity to get live feedback from customers.  Sure we get feedback second hand from sales or even technical engineers but there is nothing like the unfiltered feedback directly from a customer.


So, it is without hesitation, that I ask that you stop by Booth 850, take a look at the many technical solutions for Microsoft applications we have developed over the past few months and give us your candid feedback!  We welcome it.


We have solutions to help you find new power in System Center; we show you how to increase performance of SQL server; we help you regain control of your Exchange environment; we show you can easily manage and control storage infrastructure using the PowerShell toolkit; we show you how to save days deploying SharePoint  and so  many more.

I saw some cool new backup and recovery functionality as part of the latest Avamar release that I thought would be of interest.  See item 5 in Phil George's blog post to see how the latest cabilities enable SQL Server 2014 deployments in a hybrid cloud.

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