If you are using SharePoint for the bulk of your information management needs, it's likely you have way to much content stored in SharePoint's SQL Server database. So a separate storage solution like that offered from StorSimple might be just what you need. But how do you know if they are the right cloud storage vendor for the job?
Keeping Data in the Cloud
StorSimple is a relatively new provider of cloud storage solutions. They recently won an award for "Most Promising Up-Start Cloud Provider” at the UP 2010 Cloud Computing Conference (it was a judge's choice award). SharePoint is just one of the platforms they provide storage solutions for, but you can imagine it's one they market fervently.
StorSimple, like other providers of information storage for SharePoint, utilizes SharePoint's RBS provider (remote blob storage provider) or for users of SharePoint 2007, the EBS provider. The solution is called the SharePoint Optimizer. It uses a combination of on-premise storage and public and/or private cloud storage. As you can see from the diagram below, the solution includes the StorSimple EBS/RBS provider and a storage appliance within your environment. The storage appliance then supports the integration of cloud storage where desired.
Microsoft worked with StorSimple to run some performance tests using StorSimple and SharePoint 2010's RBS capabilities. The results? Microsoft ran a 1TB database and reduced backup time from 68 minutes to 27 seconds and restore time from 68 minutes to 38 seconds. To get all the details of how the test was performed and the results, you can download the report.
It is also interesting to note that StorSimple is the first cloud storage solution to be Microsoft certified for Windows 2008 R2.
A Good Choice, Not the Only Choice
Remote storage for SharePoint is not something new. There are several other providers in the market now.
MetaLogix offers storage management via StoragePoint. This solution also works for both SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 and it offers cloud storage via Azure, Rackspace FSCloud, Amazon S3 and a number of other private and public clouds. Not entirely sure if they have the Windows 2008R2 certification, but if they do, I encourage them to say it in the comments.
AvePoint is another well-known SharePoint solutions provider with several of their own storage management solutions including the DocAve Archiver and the free DocAve Extender. Here you also see the use of BLOB storage and the cloud.
Now that's only two, there are certainly others. So why would you select an up and coming solution over a company that has been working with SharePoint for a few years now? I don't have the answer. But it's possible StorSimple is the best solution for your needs. The point is to look at what you need to do and then check out all the available alternatives.