It's coming faster than we think, despite the NSA's potential effect on Western cloud sales: the idea that storage arrays could morph into cloud gateways, with traditional on-premises arrays accessing an off-site backend to store older, colder data. NetApp referred to this with its recent cloud strategy pronouncement – …
You write this as if StorSimple is something new..obviously it is not....is there some new ability with this now Microsoft branded Storsimple vs what was available before?
In talking with a friend that has worked at Storsimple for the past two years or so he said even before MS bought them Azure was very popular with Storsimple customers (he may of mentioned Azure being the vast majority of what their customers use I don't remember that conversation was 8+ months ago). But the point was that their customer base was very much Microsoft oriented already.
Re: nothing new
Disclaimer: MS employee
StorSimple has been on the MS books for almost a year. I can tell you right now that, while Azure was heavily used with StorSimple, some of our large cloud competitors (AWS, RackSpace etc) were seen a lot with StorSimple. Some of the biggest deals done, prior to acquisition, were done with them in fact.
I personally believe the acquisition ensures that MS can seed Windows Azure into customers in an easy to understand and consume way and then get them to start consuming other services which Azure offers (PaaS, IaaS and more) once they have the subscription