Hi Folks –

A few months back, I wrote a blog article on Buffalo’s TeraStation™ 5000 WSS running Windows Storage Server 2012. In this post, I’ll share the perspective of Brian Verenkoff, Director of Product Management at Buffalo, who we recently interviewed about the company’s experience with Windows Storage Server and future plans.

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What types of customers do you focus on, and what types of needs and/or opportunities do you see within that market segment?

Buffalo focuses on several customer segments and needs:

  • Small and midsized businesses that need dependable, cost-effective storage. 
  • Large companies and enterprises that require cost-effective storage combined with technologies for enterprise-level integration. These include companies with many distributed locations that are part of a large, centrally administered IT infrastructure—such as fast food chains, national retailers, grocery stores, and so on.
What makes your TeraStation 5000 WSS product line special or different?

Our TeraStation 5000 WSS lineup offers dependable and extremely cost-effective hardware coupled with Windows Storage Server, which facilitates integration into networks of any size. We also offer advanced, business-class features:

  • RAID 1 and RAID 5
  • Dual-Core CPUs
  • Dual Gigabit NICs that support NIC teaming and dual subnets
     

Our TeraStation network storage solutions running Windows Storage Server feature either the Workgroup Edition or the Standard Edition, the latter of which includes valuable features such as data deduplication and support for an unlimited number of users. In contrast, many of our entry-level competitors offer only the Essentials Edition of Windows Server or the Workgroup Edition of Windows Storage Server, which are limited to 25 and 50 users respectively.

How has your TeraStation running Windows Storage Server been received by customers? Any pleasant surprises?

We expected it to be a hit with small and medium-sized businesses—and it was. The familiarity of the Windows Server platform and the ability to run countless third-party applications on it really opens-up an endless number of configurations and use cases.

The larger surprise, however, has been how popular TeraStation WSS appliances running Windows Storage Server have been with large businesses:

  • A grocery chain with more than 250 stores is using TeraStation WSS appliances to locally store updates and images for its point-of-sale devices.
     
  • A government/federal police force has deployed roughly 1,000 TeraStation WSS appliances at police stations across the country to store updates and images for PC assets in the field.
     
  • An IT services provider is using TeraStation WSS appliances to support centralized backups for its SMB customers. PCs and servers are backed up to a centralized TeraStation WSS at the customer site, which then uses third-party software running on Windows Storage Server to replicate that information to the service provider’s data center. (Note: You can read Buffalo’s case study on this customer here.)

A big part of the popularity we’re seeing with customers like these is due to how well Windows Storage Server plays in a large enterprise IT environment—achieved through capabilities such as native support for Active Directory and Group Policy Objects, the ability to run third-party security and network management software, Windows Management Instrumentation, and so on.

Which features or capabilities have proven to be most compelling or useful to customers?

Customers appreciate several of the features provided by Windows Storage Server:

  • Data Deduplication has been one of the most popular features because it provides significant increases in storage efficiency, making the cost-per-terabyte significantly lower. 
     
  • Customers also really like that they can install and run third-party applications, such as backup, network management, or video surveillance software.
     
  • Seamless integration into existing Windows-based environments through features such as Active Directory and Group Policy is also a major selling point.
     
  • Other popular features include support for DFS Namespaces, DFS Replication, and Hosted BranchCache.
What are your plans for Windows Storage Server 2012 R2? Which new features do you believe will be strong selling points?

We’re in the final stages of refreshing our TeraStation 5000 WSS product line to support Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, with plans to announce formal availability in March 2014. Of all the new features in Windows Storage Server, I believe that Work Folders will be one of the most compelling.

What can we expect from Buffalo in the future? How does your TeraStation WSS product roadmap look like beyond the March launch of Windows Storage Server 2012 R2?

Buffalo is committed to Windows Storage Server, which has delivered lots of successes, small and large. We still sell more storage appliances running Linux, but it’s amazing how much new business has been driven by our ability to also offer Windows Storage Server. Moving forward, Buffalo will expand its TeraStation WSS product line to include new models and configurations, including some with enterprise-class hard drives for enhanced reliability and performance.

<End of interview>

My thanks to Brian for taking the time to share his thoughts with us—and for being such as strong advocate of Windows Storage Server. If you’re interested in a Buffalo TeraStation 5000 WSS, you can check out the company’s offerings here.

Cheers,
Scott M. Johnson
Senior Program Manager
Windows Storage Server
@supersquatchy