Kaminario Brings Enterprise-Class Software, Scale-Up To Flash Storage Arrays

All-flash storage array maker Kaminario Tuesday gave its flash arrays an enterprise edge with a new suite of software that brings such capabilities as snapshot-based replication, flexible deduplication, and both scale-up and scale-out architectures.

Kaminario's new K2 v5 all-flash primary storage array is targeted at bringing enterprise-class scalability and storage efficiency to customers, said DaniGolan, founder and CEO of the Newton, Mass.-based vendor.

The new software and scale-up capabilities combine to bring the cost of flash storage to $2 per GB, even less than disk-based storage, Golan told CRN.

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"This is the most important announcement we made ever, with the technological achievements we crammed into this new version," he said.

Kaminario is the second flash storage array vendor this month to unveil enterprise-level software capabilities to flash storage, following last week's introduction of Pure Storage's new FlashArray.

The K2 v5 flash array is a big leap in capabilities for Kaminario, said Stewart Sonneland, principal at Strategic Hardware, a Spokane, Wash.-based solution provider and Kaminario channel partner.

"The software begins to differentiate Kaminario from many of the flash storage solutions on the market," Sonneland told CRN. "For many vendors, flash storage is bolted on to hard disk storage. But when flash storage is designed from the ground up, it makes a dramatic difference in performance."

The earlier K2 models offered a scale-out architecture, which means that both capacity and performance increased with the addition of new nodes, each of which has its own processors and flash storage capacity, said Golan.

The Kaminario K2 v5 now also includes scale-up architecture, in which an individual node's flash storage capacity can be increased with the addition of extra SSDs. It lets customers come in at an entry point of 7 TB to 90 TB in 4U of rack space, and grow seamlessly to 180 TB in 6U, 360 TB in 14U and 720 TB in 26U, he said.

"As the K2 scales out by adding more K-Block nodes, the data volumes are automatically redistributed across all the K-Blocks," he said. "The same is true with scale-up, which automatically distributes volumes across the increased capacity. So customers can both scale up for more capacity and a lower cost-per-GB, and scale out to increase performance and lower latency."

NEXT: Deduplication, Replication, And Other Signs Of Maturity In All-Flash Storage Arrays

The Kaminario K2 v5 also increases storage efficiency with the addition of new software features, including global selective in-line deduplication, a first for all-flash storage arrays, Golan said.

While deduplication is an important capability in virtualized environments and other specific workloads, it wastes CPU and memory resources when used with workloads like databases or big data, he said.

Selective deduplication gives the ability to turn dedupe on or off according to the workload. "We have the only flash array with selective in-line dedupe," he said. "Customers define the volume, and the array automatically decides if the data should be deduped or not."

The K2 v5'sdeduplication feature also dedupes the data using variable block sizes instead of fixed block sizes to increase performance, he said.

Also new are in-line compression of the data, thin provisioning and snapshot-based replication, features found in disk-based storage but not typically in all-flash storage arrays, Golan said.

"We not competing just with all-flash storage," he said. "We're competing with general-purpose storage."

Because of the new hardware and software capabilities, Kaminario has brought the cost of all-flash storage down to as low as $2 per GB, which is less than typical hard drive-based arrays, Golan said.

The software of the K2 v5, along with its RAID architecture, allows the typical utilization rate of its capacity to average about 87.5 percent, compared with the typical 61.3 percent utilization rate of disk-based storage, he said. Furthermore, all the Kaminario software is included with the hardware, which keeps the cost-per-GB low. "Since we don't charge for the software, that is a big savings on cost," he said.

Sonneland said that, while he has yet to see details on the cost-per-GB of the Kaminario K2 v5, the idea of the cost coming in at less than that of hard drive-based storage would make it a compelling solution.

"Hard drive-based solutions not so long ago ranged from $3 to $4 per GB," he said. "If Kaminario brings the cost down to $2 per GB, that's huge. There will, over time, be few places where flash will not be a part of customers' infrastructures."

Sonneland also said it is interesting to see how companies like Kaminario and Pure Storage are moving quickly to beef up their software capabilities.

"If you look at storage trends over time, we saw tape replaced by spinning disk, and now spinning disk being replaced by flash," he said. "The industry matures."