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Kaminario Goes Software-Defined And Moves Hardware Integration, Logistics To Tech Data

The all-flash storage vendor expects to be a software company by the end of this quarter, leaving the integration, supply chain, logistics, support, financing and order taking to Tech Data.

All-flash storage vendor Kaminario is getting out of the hardware business in a deal with Tech Data under which the distributor will handle all Kaminario's logistics.

The move, unveiled Wednesday, will turn Kaminario into a software-defined storage business, giving it more resources to focus on developing its intellectual property, said Josh Epstein, chief marketing officer for the Needham, Mass.-based vendor.

"From the beginning, all our intellectual property was around software," Epstein told CRN. "We came into the market as an appliance vendor, but we've been all about the software."

[Related: CRN Exclusive: NetApp's Dave Hitz Talks Software-Defined Storage, Outlines How Challenging It Would Be To Acquire The 'New NetApp']

Under the new relationship, Tech Data, Clearwater, Fla., becomes Kaminario's global system integrator, Epstein said. Tech Data will integrate Kaminario's software with hardware certified by Kaminario, he said.

"We get out of the hardware business from the management, logistics, and support standpoint," he said. "Tech Data has much better buying power and logistics support."

The move makes a lot of sense, said Alexander Dang, vice president of digital transformation and cloud adoption at VARiedy, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and Kaminario channel partner.

"As a flash storage startup, Kaminario trying to handle all the logistics pieces can add headwind to its business," Dang told CRN. "Working with Tech Data makes Kaminario more nimble and lets them focus on their own strategy."

Kaminario has a great track record with its technology and channel support, Dang said. "They strongly support our go-to-market," he said. "We're happy with their partnership, and we look forward to their new relationship with Tech Data.

"This lets us work with customers without a lot of red tape," Dang added. "If we need help, we have a line up to the executive management for support."

Kaminario plans on phasing out its hardware appliances and moving all logistics to Tech Data by the end of this quarter, Epstein said. The company currently works sells appliances using Supermicro servers as the hardware platform combined with components from a variety of top vendors, he said.

"It's important to position Kaminario as different from the rest of the storage business," he said. "Amazon and other cloud companies focus on software while using industry-standard hardware. But software-defined storage has been out of reach for most businesses. We bring software-defined storage within reach of nearly every customer."

The new relationship between Kaminario and Tech Data nearly coincides with the distributor's Tuesday unveiling of its new global lifecycle management services, said John O'Shea, senior vice president of Tech Data's new services business. Tech Data has been providing integration and other related services to hardware vendors for some time, but has now brought its production, support, sales, and financing capabilities into a single operation with Kaminario as its first partner, O'Shea told CRN.

"We do the integration work, and ensure partners get the best supply chain and certified builds," he said. "We have complete line of sight on the hardware that goes in the builds."

While nearly all if not all Kaminario customers also have Tech Data relationships, partners who currently do not work with Tech Data will have to sign with the distributor, giving it an opportunity to discuss a wider relationship with them, he said.

"Most solution providers are building relationships around portfolios," O'Shea said. "We want to provide partners with a one-stop shop," he said. "We think this will result in a bigger relationship. Solution providers need a broader capability for bringing solutions to market. This establishes us more firmly as a partner with relationships with up-and-coming companies, and providers greater entanglement with working with cloud providers."

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