IP storage vendor EqualLogic is to announce a strategic partnership with Microsoft at Storage Expo. The partnership will encompass scalability, integration with Microsoft Windows storage management, and disaster recovery.

EqualLogic has also introduced a new high-end array, along with its support for Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2006.

The vendor said the PS300E delivers 7TB of capacity with its 500GB Serial ATA (SATA) II drives. They offer 3Gbit/s bus speed and native command queuing (NCQ) for faster retrieval. The 300E is available now and lists for $56,000.

EqualLogic said it has worked closely with Microsoft on integration of the PS array line with DPM for Windows. Customers can use the PS arrays to underpin a scalable storage area network (SAN) for full disaster recovery to a remote site, the two vendors said.

EqualLogic customer James Tarala, CIO for Schenck Business Solutions, a financial services company in Wisconsin, is pleased with DPM support on the PS product, and pleased with the MIcrosoft alliance also. He wants to see EqualLogic continue to improve the management tools for the PS line though: "Still, compared with what we had to do with EMC and bringing in a technician, it's night and day," he noted.

Tarala is also looking forward to DPM's integration with Exchange and SQL, something Microsoft has promised with the next DPM release. "It's not a complete solution yet, but it's very solid and meets what I need to do with it now," he said.