Kashya Makes Kopies

IP data replication startup lands $12M and emerges from stealth with Brocade partnership

March 27, 2003

4 Min Read
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Startup Kashya Inc. says it has engineered a disaster recovery (DR) solution akin to those from major storage vendors like EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) at a fraction of the cost.

Kashya emerged from stealth mode this week, having landed a total of $12 million in funding from Battery Ventures and Jerusalem Global Ventures. The company, founded in December 2000, maintains operations in San Jose, Calif., and Ramat Gan, Israel.

The company's out-of-band data-protection appliance, which is essentially software loaded onto an IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) xSeries server, plugs into a storage network to provide remote replication and snapshot functions for heterogeneous servers and storage across multiple locations, via an IP network.

The result? Business continuity in the face of just about any imaginable disaster that may strike locally, remotely, or anywhere in-between – at a far lower cost than anything available on the planet today, it boldly claims. [Ed. note: What is this, a preview of Armageddon?]

Marketing hyperbole aside, Kashya's product may have some merit. Hooking up a multi-hop DR solution from EMC, for example, really does cost millions. Customers generally have to buy three lots of EMC hardware – one each for the primary site, the staging site, and the secondary DR site – plus SRDF (Symmetrix Remote Data Facility) replication software and TimeFinder snapshot software. In addition, customers have to purchase a CNT (Nasdaq: CMNT) router or something similar to perform the protocol conversion from Fibre Channel to IP when the data is replicated over a WAN (although new FC-over-Sonet offerings are promising to bypass this step – see Nortel Pipes SANs Into Sonet and SANs See Sonet)."We have engineered a product that is just as reliable but is much cheaper," says Amar Rao, senior VP of business development and marketing at Kashya.

He wasn't prepared to give details on pricing, as that depends on how many terabytes a customer is replicating. But Kashya expects its appliance to be half the price of EMC's SRDF software, which goes for between $60,000 and $150,000. Rao claims that, in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO), Kashya's offering will be 20 percent to 25 percent of the cost of a high-end EMC solution, which would include edge routers, bandwidth, and additional storage.

It's enough to have piqued Brocade Communications Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: BRCD) interest, at least. Kashya [ed. note: not to be confused with kasha, the similar-sounding mushy breakfast cereal] is currently porting its software to Brocade's SilkWorm Fabric Application Platform, otherwise known as the Rhapsody switch, and will be demonstrating its appliance for the first time at Brocade's user conference in Las Vegas next week (see Brocade Reupholsters Rhapsody).

Kashya also claims to have several beta customers in the financial, media, and high-tech sectors, although it was unable to name them at this stage. The product is expected to be generally available in the third quarter of 2003.

With a headcount of just under 40 employees, Kashya appears to be a tightly run ship, commanded by CEO and cofounder Michael Lewin. Lewin was the head officer in an elite technology unit of the Intelligence Corps of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and brought several of his troops with him, including CTO Yair Heller and Ziv Kedem, VP of research & development.Rao joined Kashya from Zambeel Inc. but has also worked for BEA Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS) and was previously VP of finance and operations for IBM Global Services in India. Johnny Stern, director of corporate development, joined Kashya from Jerusalem Global Ventures, where he was a principal focusing on investments in early-stage Israeli software companies.

There's little doubt these guys are attacking a hot market right now, but when it comes to choosing a disaster recovery solution, how many enterprises trust a little startup they have never heard of? Brocade's endorsement will be an important one, but Kashya probably will need to rack up a list of similar partners before many people let it in the door.

Moreover, the numerous players already in this market make it a crowded one for another startup. Companies in this space include Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) on the host side, plus all the storage array vendors. Then there are other small companies – including DataCore Software Corp., FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC), SANgate Systems Inc., StoreAge Networking Technologies Ltd., and Topio – all pushing remote replication. Kashya had better eat its kasha if it wants to compete against this field.

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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