Microsoft just announce Azure StorSimple Virtual Array. Microsoft has had the StorSimple physical appliance for some time. With the virtual array, companies will be able to take advantage of a highbred local/cloud storage platform without the added expense of the StorSimple hardware. This will fit well in organizations that want to leverage cloud storage with their own virtualization platform.
The Amazon AWS Storage Gateway has similar functionality with the StorSimple Virtual Array. I recently tested the AWS Gateway and saw it as a good option for cloud backed local storage. For the use case I tested, I didn’t need the performance of StorSimple or another appliance like Nasuni. In the test I hosted a file share off a virtual 2012 R2 server attached to an AWS iSCSI volume. StorSimple provides the same iSCSI functionality, it also has the ability to host SMB directly, eliminating the need for the file server.
Some notable features of the virtual StorSimple Array include:
Autotiering stale data to Azure
Each array can managed up to 64TB of data
Central management of multiple devices through the Azure Portal
Integrated Azure Site Recovery
File Server (SMB) and SAN (iSCSI) support
Cloud based backups
Local share and volume pinning
One distinctive difference between AWS Storage Gateway and StorSimple Virtual Array is that AWS Gateway stores all data in AWS and caches frequently accessed data locally. StorSimple keeps frequently used data local and tiers less used data to Azure.
Azure StorSimple Array Announcement https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-general-availability-of-the-storsimple-virtual-array/
Intraduction to the StoreSimple Virtual Array https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/storsimple-ova-overview/
AWS Storage Gateway https://aws.amazon.com/storagegateway/