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HP, Microsoft hit the road for storage

The hardware giant and the software titan are teaming up for a 10-city road show touting a new storage partnership that's designed to help them grab a bigger slice of the market.

Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are teaming up to grab a bigger slice of the storage market.

As the first step in a new storage partnership to be announced on Tuesday, the software titan and the hardware giant are planning a 10-city road show to tout their joint work in the storage arena. Microsoft and HP also plan joint training of their respective sales forces as well as a combined sales effort to win new business.

By investing more in sales and marketing efforts, the two companies hope to carve out a larger share of the market for network-attached storage (NAS), currently a $1.8 billion global market, according to research firm Gartner Dataquest. Microsoft said that estimates from market researcher IDC show it has a 30 percent share of the NAS market, by units shipped.

Microsoft has been trying to make inroads into the storage market as part of efforts to grow beyond its existing markets. The software maker launched its storage push two years ago with the debut of Windows-powered network-attached storage systems, which use a version of the kernel of the Windows operating system, optimized for file serving and other storage tasks.

Although Dell Computer, IBM and others sell Microsoft-based storage gear, Microsoft chose HP for the partnership because of its broad range of NAS products, said Zane Adam, director of product management and marketing for Microsoft's enterprise storage division.

Adam declined to put a dollar value on the new initiative, but said, "This is over a billion market and growing. We will spend whatever is necessary to make this happen."

The two companies plan to take their message to the following cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington, D.C.