Storage appliance allows heterogeneous replication

San Jose-based startup Kashya is rolling out a data replication appliance this month that allows customers to run any-to-any data storage, while maintaining data consistency across large distances.

Most existing data storage systems require users to have a specific vendor’s array backing up servers from the same vendor. So enterprises with servers from multiple vendors must also have storage arrays from multiple vendors.

Kashya’s KBX4000, which sits between a SAN and the WAN on an organization’s primary site, as well as the back-up site, lets customers write data from any server type to any type of array, allowing customers to make their storage environments more efficient.

“I think the net of this is that companies like Kashya will get a lot of traction,” said Arun Taneja, an analyst with consulting firm the Taneja Group. “They bring genuine value to the marketplace.”

Another benefit of the KBX4000 is that it’s designed to allow synchronous replication across distances of 300 miles or more. The system does this by compressing data and allowing customers to prioritize their application backups over the WAN.

Typically, users suffer a performance hit with synchronous replication over long distances, because the server has to wait for the data to be written to the storage devices sitting at the secondary site, before the data can be stored on the local server. Users have gotten around this by writing to the local server first and then backing up, but the problem with this asynchronous method is that if a disaster occurs, the data at the secondary site might not match the data at the primary site.

“In a nutshell what Kashya has done is give you synchronous replication with no impact on performance and no impact on consistency,” Tenaja said.

Kashya is a software company, noted Mehran Hadipour, the firm’s vice-president of marketing, so the KBX4000 consists of Kashya’s software running on an IBM Linux blade server. The boxes have native Fibre Channel interfaces on the local side and native IP interfaces for the WAN connection.

Kashya is also working with storage switch vendors to integrate the software directly into switches, Hadipour said.

The KBX4000 is available this month. Pricing starts at US$15,000.

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