Diamanti ramps up Kubernetes HCI platform with Spektra 2.4 release

Diamanti adds self-encrypting drives for security, asynchronous replication for availability, next generation I/O offload cards, and a new hardware offering with new Intel processors.

Tom Barton, Diamanti’s CEO

San Jose-based Diamanti, which makes a bare-metal hyperconverged platform for Kubernetes and containers, has announced their Diamanti Spektra 2.4 release. It contains new security protection with self-encrypting drives, and adds asynchronous replication for greater availability in higher latency environments. They are also announcing new second generation PCIe based I/O offload cards, and a new hardware option, with the Diamanti D20X, featuring Intel Cascade Lake processors.

Diamanti came out of stealth in 2016, just when containers were posed to take off in the market.

“The company’s DNA came out of Cisco UCS,” said Tom Barton, Diamanti’s CEO. “What they wanted to do with Diamanti was create a modern x86-agnostic hyperconverged infrastructure that was cloud native. The genius of the founders was spotting that containers and Kubernetes would become a critical trend. From Day One, the optimization of both hardware and software was to go after both containers and Kubernetes.”

Barton replaced Jeff Chou, Diamanti’s CEO and co-founder in October 2018, which he said was a reflection on the companys strong performance rather than the reverse, so that it brought in an executive with experience at scaling companies at that stage to the next level of growth.

“We have been doing well,” he said. “I have a long track record of scaling companies in the 100 million to 500 million earnings range. I took Rackable from 3 million to 100 million in five years. My DNA is to work very closely with founders to scale companies.”

Barton indicated that Diamanti raised a $35 million Series C round in the middle of last year, and that they are projecting extraordinary bookings growth this year. RBC is a large Canadian customer, with Greater Toronto Area-headquartered Soroc Technology the channel partner.

The recent focus has been about expanding the product line towards full hybrid cloud capabilities in a multi-cloud universe. It builds on its core strengths. These include Diamanti Ultima I/O acceleration cards with a patented I/O-optimized architecture and which have their own control plane for integration with Kubernetes, dual support for containers and virtual machines that lets them run VM workloads in container deployments, and a very agnostic approach that ships in any Intel white box.

Brian Waldon, Diamanti’s VP of Product

“The product two years ago was focused on single cluster capabilities,” said Brian Waldon, Diamanti’s VP of Product. “Through 2020, our roadmap takes us into hybrid cloud and multi-cluster Kubernetes management. Our 2.4 release is a big step here.”

Spektra 2.4 adds a new capability for self-encrypting drives [SED], with integrated encryption for both data in motion and at rest, without impacting application performance or increasing the overall data centre footprint.  Software-based encryption [AES 256] of volume data takes place before writing on the physical drive, while the SEDs have hardware-based encryption at the disk level.

“Our goal is to provide every single feature that we can,” Waldon said. “We already have synchronous mirroring, snapshot, clones – this was next on the list. We manage the keys for this as a tenant. We will expand key management going forward, but we wanted to get this out now.”

Also new with Spektra 2.4 is asynchronous replication, to let customers perform offsite disaster recovery while still keeping their data encrypted for distributed applications.

“Being able to asynchronously replicate across clusters is a first-class feature that allows customers to expand their fault tolerance zone of the data layer across sites that don’t have the low latency that synchronous replication would require,” Waldon noted.

“While synchronous replication has been very important, now asynchronous replication extends it to network sites beyond 2 ms of latency,” Barton added.

Diamanti is also announcing new second generation PCIe based I/O offload cards which they say will improve performance by 10x to 30x in I/O-intensive applications.

“Our secret sauce is the acceleration from offloading 100% of IO processing onto embedded systems,” Waldon said. “The 10-30x is real. It can even be faster than that, but it just sounds fake to say it.”

“Our value-add here is the software even though the cards are of our own design,” Barton added. “We are not writing custom ASICs.”

Finally, with the 2.4 release, Diamanti is also making a new hardware option available, adding the D20X model which has Intel Cascade Lake CPUs and GPUs rather than the D20’s previous generation Skylake processors. The D20X delivers an average 36% greater computing power, with increased core counts, higher cache and higher clock frequencies.

“The D20X is the second generation, as the D20 moves from Skylake to Cascade Lake,” Waldon said. “These were announced in December and rolled out then to early adopters. They are in General Availability now.”

So why provide a new model name with the new processors.

“The real change with the D20X is the 36% increase in performance,” Waldon indicated. “That’s what the X means.”