While Diamanti Ultra continues Diamanti's move from being hardware to software-focused, they are still working on putting their key storage and networking I/O offload technologies that optimize performance into the cloud.
The Kubernetes management space has become red hot this year, as the maturation of the Kubernetes platform has taken place. The result has been a flurry, and the acquisition of most of the startups in the space, just over the last several months. Cisco acquired Portshift. Pure Storage bought Portworx. SUSE has announced the acquisition of Rancher Labs, and most recently, Veeam has done the same with Kasten.
This is the context for the recent announcement by Diamanti, another Kubernetes management startup, of Diamanti Ultima. Diamanti originally launched making a bare-metal hyperconverged platform for Kubernetes and containers, which leveraged its unique hardware capabilities to provide supercharged performance. However, the company announced at the beginning of September that with the release of its flagship Spektra 3.0 platform, it was repositioning itself as a software Kubernetes player, in order to move with the market.
“Enterprises are hybrid and will be a for a long time,” said Jenny Fong, Diamanti’s VP of Marketing. “Our strategy is to meet the customers where they are, and in Kubernetes, a lot of companies start playing with it in the public cloud. Customers want a hybrid cloud Kubernetes management plane. We have partnerships with Dell and Lenovo to get ourselves out of the manufacture of servers. They have the supply chains there. We don’t want to be a server provider.”
Ultima is a new standalone software product based on Diamanti’s Kubernetes data plane management solution. Ultima is the latest advance in Diamanti’s development of its software stack. The Ultima name itself actually comes from Diamanti’s existing PCIe I/O hardware acceleration cards – which provide that supercharged performance.
“A lot of announcements in the last 6-8 weeks have been more centred on our software stack, and this includes the realignment of our product naming,” Fong said. “We have physical PCIe cards, but we can’t stick these cards into Amazon. So we decoupled the software from the hardware on-prem offering to make it useful in the public cloud, and used the same Ultima name for the cloud offering.”
Fong said that the philosophy behind Diamanti Ultima is to provide – eventually – all the advantages of the hardware platform, but to do it in a simple cloud-like way where everything is integrated for the customer.
“With this announcement, instead of having to deal with 15 different point solutions to make Kubernetes robust, we will be able to make it more simple,” Fong indicated. “Companies buy because they want to get there faster. There’s appeal for us to focus more on software innovation and iterate fast.”
Fong said that of all the solutions in the market, Diamanti is the closest to Portworx
“We compare ourselves to Portworx, in that we deliver the same storage and data services capabilities, but bundle in networks as well,” she stated. “Out of the door we have AWS support, and plan to add other cloud based storage solutions.”
All of the capabilities from the Diamanti software are in Ultima today. This includes the container-native storage layer with integrated data services and advanced CNI and CSI plugins. This delivers all the container-aware data services, including instant volume snapshots, off-cluster backup and restore, asynchronous replication for cross-cluster disaster recovery, synchronous volume mirroring within clusters, even those spanning availability zones, and hybrid cloud data portability that lets customers migrate and failover stateful applications between clusters while maintaining persistent data.
The trick here – and why all of the on-prem solution is not yet in the cloud – is that migrating the capabilities of that Diamanti hardware that provides their unique performance is a more complex process. Ultima has been designed to work with Diamanti’s storage and networking I/O offload technologies to optimize application performance. However, those technologies, which were the most attractive part of the hardware for many customers, are not yet in Ultima.
“We are working on bringing the on-prem data plane offload technology advantages to the cloud,” Fong said. “The functional capabilities are based in the software. But out the storage and network acceleration are not. They reflect our very aggressive engineering, and has been why customers buy our IO offload technology. Right now, the IO offload is still on the hardware, and is not yet in the cloud. We are working on being able to put that technology in the cloud, so that all of our technology will work there.”
Fong indicates that the channel for Ultima includes both their traditional hardware partners, as well as some new Kubernetes-focused ones.
“Many of our partners today find it easier to sell hardware on the old hardware sales model,” she said. “Some traditional partners are maturing into the Kubernetes era and selling a Kubernetes software solution, however. There are also now partners who are very heavily involved on the Kubernetes side.”