VAR Evolves Mission To Provide Managed Storage Services


Customers who invest in a server and storage infrastructure are likely to want to also use some type of replication to protect their data, but are looking for heterogeneous, not homogeneous, solutions, said Chris Taylor, director of professional services and solution sales for the Hamel, Minn.-based IBM-focused solution provider.

Traditional data replication infrastructures required that the secondary site, or the disaster recovery site, have the same hardware as the primary site, Taylor said. "Customers have replication software, but it doesn't work in heterogeneous environments," he said. "If you are moving data from IBM storage to EMC, or from EMC to IBM, EMC's SRDF software doesn't allow working with IBM Shark [arrays]."

Therefore, Evolving Solutions teamed with storage vendor Network Appliance to develop services based on ReplicatorX, a NetApp technology that allows heterogeneous data replication, Taylor said.

NetApp, in addition to selling products under its own brand, is also an OEM supplier of nearly all its products to IBM under an OEM agreement the two vendors signed in early 2005.

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Evolving Solutions partners with both IBM and NetApp, and sells the latter's branded storage to customers who are not IBM-only shops, Taylor said.

Evolving Solutions developed a number of services it offers on top of ReplicatorX, including data migration, data replication, and one-time replication, Taylor said. ReplicatorX handles the actual block data replication across any storage architecture attached to any server environment over any distance using existing IP networks, he said.

The development of its proprietary services on top of technology from NetApp has resulted in multiple partnership opportunities for the solution provider, Taylor said. "We are a certified delivery partner of NetApp's," he said. "They can resell our services, mainly on the implementation side. We also sub-contract out to IBM Global Services."

Evolving Solutions also has partnerships with other solution providers, selling them the services capabilities through Avnet, Taylor said. "As long as (the other VARs) don't compete with us," he said.