Kaminario breaks sub-$1/GB flash pricing barrier with new array


The Kaminario K2 V5.5 array

The all-flash vendor also announces the first industry support for 3D TLC Drives, native array-based replication and its Perpetual Array program.

Boston-based Kaminario has unveiled its K2 v5.5 all-flash primary storage array, which becomes the first offering from any vendor to get the cost for a usable GB of flash below the one dollar mark.

“We are making the all flash data centre a reality, at a price that is half of what competitors are offering,” said Shai Maskit, Senior Product Manager at Kaminario.

Kaminario, which has secured $143 million in funding to date, has been shipping product since 2010. Most of their customers are in the U.S., but they do have some in Israel (where their R&D is located), Canada, and Europe, and Maskit said they have quadrupled their bookings in the last year. They go to market through a hybrid model, and introduced a new channel program earlier this year to make it easy and convenient for channels to work with them. They have about 70 partners in North America.

While competitors like Pure Storage use scale-up architecture (which adds SSDs to enhance a node’s capacity) and EMC’s ExtremeIO uses scale-out (which allows for the addition of entire new nodes) Maskit said an advantage of the Kaminario technology is that it does both. While the original architecture was scale-out, v5, which was introduced last year, added scale-up capability.

“You can add additional shelves to our dual controller architecture – with both of our controllers being active – and you can also scale out to add new nodes,” Maskit said. “It’s a no-compromise architecture which allows you to cater to your needs.”

Kaminario sells to a broadly defined mid-range enterprise category – between $100 million and $5 billion in revenue.

“We can cater to such a range because of our architecture, because you can start small with a 45-90 TB array, and then expand as needed,” Maskit added.

Last year’s v5 was able to cut the price of all-flash to $2/GB usable. v5.5 halves that again, cutting the average price to under $1/GB usable.

shai - headshot

Shai Maskit, Senior Product Manager at Kaminario

“This is a very destructive price,” Maskit said. “At this price, the all-flash data centre becomes a reality. Flash is no longer a single application for a single pain point.”

Maskit said Kaminario’s metrics calculation does assume deduplication, but is also premised on usable GB, and is not premised on being on the largest possible system.

“To maintain our sustainable competitive differentiation, we are guaranteeing a minimum of 3-1 data reduction ratio, and if the customer does not reach that, we will give them free extra hardware to get to that capacity and fulfill the guarantee,” he said.

Kaminario also announced it is the first storage vendor to deploy the new 3D NAND TLC SSDs.

“Our architecture lets us adopt any new technology which is mature and cost efficient, which is why we are able to deploy this so quickly,” Maskit said. These new high-capacity SSDs double effective capacity to more than 360TB per K-block, and let a single K2 array scale to multi petabytes. They are also the major reason for the halving of the cost of the flash to $1/GB.

“The efficiencies created by our ability to very easily fit in new these new TLC-based high capacity drives really are a testimony to our successful and robust architecture,” he added.

Kaminario also announced that v 5.5 includes native array-based asynchronous replication, based on K2’s snapshot capabilities.

“This completes our DR capabilities, letting customers replicate data anywhere across different K2 configurations, and also allow easy DR testing,” Maskit said. While K2 had replication previously, it was not native-based, and relied on tight integration with the application layer.

Finally, Kaminario announced its Perpetual Array Customer Success Program, which allows users to mix and match different generations of technologies within the same v5.5 system. It allows for hardware upgrading without downtime or forklift upgrades.

“The Perpetual Array is a concept which stresses flexibility for the customer, and how our mixing and matching of controllers and SSDs lets them take control of their storage future to grow without a forklift upgrade,” Maskit said.

K2 v5.5 will be generally available in Q3 2015. All new features in v5.5 are also available for existing customers through a non-disruptive upgrade.