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Likewise Works with Microsoft to Enable Next-Generation NAS Devices

Protocol licensing agreement to develop SMB 2.2 support for Linux- and Unix-based storage devices

A sea change is about to occur in the storage industry - from block based storage to file based for applications and virtualization - and believe it or not it all stems from changes coming to the SMB protocol. Yes, that's right, a protocol.

The performance of back-end storage has been a major choke point to scaling virtualization and cloud infrastructures due to limitations of previous versions of CIFS/SMB, which led to the adoption of block based storage. Now, with SMB 2.2, file based storage becomes not only a credible option, but the recommended option for provisioning Microsoft workloads.

Likewise Software has announced an agreement with Microsoft to support SMB 2.2 by adding Linux and Unix-based devices - which enables secure access to unstructured data using a consistent set of protocols across platforms.

The end result in greatly improved performance for larger workloads required by the massive amounts of unstructured data accessed through virtualization and cloud computing technologies.

Likewise, a software provider for identity, security and storage, announced the licensing agreement with Microsoft for Likewise Storage Services to enable next-generation Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices with Microsoft Server Message Block (SMB) protocol support for Windows Server "8".

"For many IT organizations, block storage has been the only option for provisioning Microsoft application workloads. Block storage is complex and costly to administer," said Ken Cheney, vice president of marketing and business development, Likewise. "With Windows Server 8, workloads running on Hyper-V, as well Microsoft applications such as IIS and SQL Server, will be able to take advantage of the SMB 2.2 protocol, which aims to provide significant performance, reliability and scalability improvements unattainable with prior versions of SMB. The new SMB 2.2 has the potential to reduce the complexity and costs associated with block storage by enabling both application and user workloads to access file-based storage using NAS devices."

In computer networking, SMB operates as an application-layer network protocol mainly used to provide shared access to files and miscellaneous communications between nodes on a network. It also provides an authenticated inter-process communication mechanism.

The CEO of Likewise, Barry Crist said: "Likewise is seeing strong demand from our large storage OEM customers to provide early SMB 2.2 support. For OEMs, we reduce engineering investment and time-to-market, while providing a richer experience to their customers. Our software helps organizations run application and user workloads on a NAS device and better manage the explosive growth of unstructured data by providing consistent access control for files across physical, virtual and cloud environments. SMB 2.2 will be a big driver in shifting Microsoft virtual and cloud workloads to NAS devices running Likewise Storage Services."

And, from the Microsoft side, Thomas Pfenning, general manager, File Server Foundation at Microsoft said:"Microsoft is encouraged to see that OEMs are interested in supporting SMB 2.2 in their storage products, and we are working with Likewise to help build an SMB 2.2 ecosystem," said "With Windows Server 8, those who are responsible for application and infrastructure will want to fully exploit SMB 2.2 for physical, virtual and cloud workloads. Safely, reliably and efficiently managing storage, while providing high performance and scale, is becoming increasingly important. SMB 2.2 will provide the protocol foundation for delivering these capabilities in Windows Server 8."

The Likewise platform, Likewise Storage Services, is available for licensing under commercial terms by OEM vendors interested in NAS-enabling their Linux- or Unix-based storage devices. It offers a consistent security model for file-based access and cross-platform, integrated storage across physical, virtual and cloud environments. The software provides integrated identity and access management, as well as both access to and control of a company's intellectual assets, from Windows, Unix and Linux systems.

Likewise makes an integrated software platform for identity, security and storage used by market-leading storage vendors including EMC and HP.

Protocols supported by Likewise Storage Services include SMB/CIFS 1.0, 2.0, 2.1 and NFS 3.0. Consistent security policy, data management, audit and reporting are available across these protocols for security and data governance. Pending protocol support for Likewise Storage Services includes SMB 2.2, NFS 4.x / pNFS, HTTP/s, WebDAV, and a REST API.  Likewise Storage Services supports multiple directory service providers including Active Directory, LDAP and NIS. The modular, API-driven architecture of Likewise Storage Services delivers reliable and scalable performance for a variety of workloads and allows for easy integration with most proprietary vendor file systems.

More Stories By Glenn Rossman

Glenn Rossman has more than 25 years communications experience working at IBM and Hewlett-Packard, along with startup StorageApps, plus agencies Hill & Knowlton and G&A Communications. His experience includes media relations, industry and financial analyst relations, executive communications, intranet and employee communications, as well as producing sales collateral. In technology, his career includes work in channel partner communications, data storage technologies, server computers, software, PC and UNIX computers, along with specific industry initiatives such as manufacturing, medical, and finance. Before his latest stint in technology, Glenn did business-to-business public relations on behalf of the DuPont Company for its specialty polymers products and with the largest steel companies in North America in an initiative focused on automakers.

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