Microsoft announced Oct. 17 that it purchased StorSimple, which will allow customers to migrate data stored on-premise to the cloud—or, more specifically, to Windows Azure. Terms of the deal were not announced. Buying StorSimple facilitates the migration of data into the cloud in a manner similar to which Microsoft’s consumer services now back up data to SkyDrive, its consumer cloud storage service. Microsoft has talked about building a “Cloud OS” by combining Windows Server 2012 with Windows Azure and adding System Center 2012 for its automation, orchestration and management capabilities. The cloud OS would end up integrated across a company’s datacenter, a service provider’s datacenter and the Windows Azure public cloud. StorSimple could help with this goal by taking the functions of data archiving, backup and disaster recovery and integrating them into a single storage stack. “What it does is that it allows mainstream enterprises to leverage their existing investments in enterprise data centers with public cloud services such as Windows Azure,” Ursheet Parikh, co-founder and chief executive at StorSimple, said in a video explaining the partnership. “And in doing so, it actually enables customers to make the fullest production public cloud deployments in a hybrid manner, by making the public cloud a seamless extension of their data center or private cloud.” Part of the reason for the deal, Parikh explained, was that StorSimple customers who extended their data to the cloud had begun choosing Azure anyway, rather than select an alternative cloud solution. “Part of the reason we are so excited about this announcement is that it actually takes the product that was built here and scale it rapidly, globally, and take these benefits to many more customers,” he said. That may be true, but there’s another dimension: Microsoft also snaps up a technology provider that could have taken customer data and built-in support for Amazon’s AWS, among other services. Acquiring StorSimple helps create a vertical solution to keep a customer’s data within the Microsoft ecosystem. Other rivals exist: in 2010, ServerWatch published a list of ten options for archiving data in the cloud, which includes StorSimple, Comvault’s Simpana, Nirvanix, and Zetta, among others. According to the Cloud Market Maturity study, conducted jointly by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and ISACA, IT managers and other admins are concerned about the integration of the cloud with internal systems. “Solutions that are not integrated into IT operations, business unit processes, or the overall governance structure for IT may provide multiple opportunities of lost benefits and increased opportunities for greater cost and potential exposure to security and resilience failures,” the study reported. Part of the reason, according to Blue Mountain Labs founder and CTO David Linthicum, was that “most enterprises never really got integration right in the first place.”   Image: Supri Suharjoto/