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Resellers are drawn to storage as a technology that customers badly need and one that offers better margins than other varieties of box pushing.

But as with any popular niche, differentiation eventually becomes an issue. Kashya Inc., however, aims to offer an extra element to the resellers’ storage mix. Kashya’s main message to resellers: Its technology offers remote data replication for heterogeneous storage and server environments.

That’s important because array-to-array replication products typically are vendor-specific and require that the same type of array be used at both the primary and remote storage sites.

But the ability to mix and match different storage products via Kashya gives resellers–and their end customers–more flexibility. In a disaster-recovery scenario, a reseller could deploy a top-of-the-line array at the primary facility and a lower-performing, less-expensive array at the backup site. The customer saves storage dollars.

“Kashya has played a very interesting role for us and our customers,” says Mike Chapman, vice president of sales and chief operating officer at RedBridge Solutions Inc. The San Carlos, Calif., company specializes in storage solutions.

Chapman says Kashya’s ability to deal with mixed storage lets customers deploy whatever storage they want on the remote side. The EMCs and Hitachis of the world, he adds, “still do not have replication for tier-one to tier-two storage.”

Kashya has a dozen partners in North America and Europe and is pursuing allies in Asia-Pacific as well, says Amar Rao, senior vice president of business development and marketing at Kashya. The company also is cultivating alliances with system and storage OEMs.

The ability to handle mixed storage is one potential benefit for resellers. Rao also cites bandwidth reduction. Bandwidth, he says, may account for half or more of disaster recovery’s cost. Kashya’s technology employs algorithmic optimization, among other methods. Rao says customers can reasonably expect a 5x to 8x reduction in bandwidth, with more than a 10x reduction possible.

Kashya late last year began shipping its KBX4000 remote data replication appliance, and the company earlier this month debuted its second-generation KBX5000. Kashya’s products are appliances that reside between Fibre Channel SANs (storage-area networks) and IP WANs. The products support synchronous, asynchronous and point-in-time replication modes. Rao notes that customers typically must purchase multiple products to cover those areas.

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Another consideration: Kashya’s appliances are out-of-band devices. Replication occurs outside of the data path and, as a consequence, installing the appliances is nondisruptive, according to Rao. He says customers can plug the products into an existing storage environment without having to remap zoning and SAN infrastructure.

Kashya, a 4-year old company, could complement the heavyweights on a reseller’s storage roster. With the storage market becoming increasingly crowded, finding a storage vendor with a slightly different story to tell can’t hurt.

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