All-Flash Array Vendor Kaminario Unveils Huge $75M Funding Round

All-flash array vendor Kaminario kicked off the 2017 storage funding year with a huge $75 million infusion of financing.

The new round of funding brings total investment in the Needham, Mass.-based storage vendor to $218 million, said Josh Epstein, Kaminario's vice president of global marketing.

Epstein told CRN that the new funding round means big opportunities for the company and its channel partners.

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"This allows us to expand the opportunities to new territories, and to accelerate our technology roadmap to leverage new technologies like NVMe drives," he said.

The flash storage market is highly competitive, with vendors ranging from tiny startups to large established storage vendors like Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and NetApp.

Epstein said Kaminario's differentiatin is in its unique agile architecture. "Our software-defined architecture makes cutting use of industry-standard hardware," he said. "We were the first to introduce arrays using 3D TLC NAND technology, and are already looking at how to bring NVMe technology into the arrays."

A couple of Kaminario channel partners agree the vendor is unique with its architecture.

The fact that Kaminario uses variable block sizes depending on the data, and can run multiple workloads with their own block sizes on the same array, appeals to a wide range of clients, said Carson Synh, vice president of PM2NET, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and Kaminario channel partner.

With Kaminario, customers can serve data warehouse data using 64K or 128K block sizes, media at 256K block size, and on-line transaction processing at 4K block size, Synh told CRN.

"They can run them all on the same array," he said.

Kaminario's software-defined architecture is also very compelling to PM2NET's customers including financial, healthcare, and large media clients where performance is important, Synh said.

"The compute and the SSDs are all controlled by software," he said. "Because of that, there's a lot we can do with APIs. That's very appealing."

Jason Sparks, vice president of strategies at Nordisk Systems, a Portland, Ore.-based solution provider and Kaminario channel partner, also called the vendor's variable block size a key differentiator.

The biggest problem with Kaminario, and one that can hopefully be remedied with the new investment, is the fact that Kaminario is still not that well known among potential clients, Sparks told CRN.

"I show customers the product," he said. "They love the product, the interface, the variable block size. But the challenge is, who's Kaminario? I hope they can leverage the funding to expand their brand recognition."

Kaminario does a good job of ensuring its solutions are not over-distributed, Sparks said.

"Our territory is very competitive," he said. "But I can use Kaminario to compete and win every time. We win on their product, on their support, on their price-performance. The only time we lose on price-performance is if an incumbent like EMC does whatever it takes to win with EMC."

Epstein declined to discuss details about Kaminario's finances, but he did say the company, like many younger companies, is investing in growth.

"We're taking a responsible approach to growth," he said. "This will give us runway to meet the next level of growth. We've already transformed from a startup to a growth company. Our focus now is to establish increased presence in the all-flash array space and drive growth."

Kaminario currently has about 250 channel partners worldwide and feels a channel-first strategy is absolutely essential to its future growth, Epstein said.