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You can now buy a tiered solid state device with both DRAM and flash because Kaminario has added Fusion-io flash to its DRAM-based K2 storage box.

Kaminario introduced its K2 solid state storage device using DRAM last year, competing with DRAM RamSans from Texas Memory Systems. A flash option was quietly introduced earlier this year and now there is a development and marketing partnership in place between Kaminario and Fusion-io.

Fusion's ioDrive Duo PCIe-connected flash cards will be used by Kaminario as a memory accelerator in its all solid-state SAN (storage area network) storage using its scale-out SPEAR (Storage PErformance ARchitecture) operating system. This runs on off-the-shelf blade servers and features dynamic data distribution and parallelised I/O processing.

Kaminario has announced it has three products, including a hybrid NAND-DRAM box as well as ones with a single solid state memory type.

The K2-H is the hybrid. Kaminario says the DRAM is for write-intensive workloads and/or ones needing the lowest latency response. The Fusion-io flash is for read-intensive workloads where a slighter longer latency is acceptable and, altogether, this hybrid box is okay for "a mix of application types or the different needs of individual files within a single application’s multiple processes (database temp files, redo logs, etc)".

The K2-D product is the pure DRAM version and is targeted at high-end OLTP and database apps needing lots of fast writes and minimal latency. The K2-F is the slower NAND-only version, with Kaminario saying it's for "predictable read-intensive workloads such as analytics, data warehousing and certain types of DBMS applications".

The K2-H is the first hybrid DRAM and NAND SAN product, and gives customers, the company says, flexibility in solid state storage media choices that no other vendor can match.

Customers can start with one storage media type and then add another. All three products have Fibre Channel links to accessing servers. They each have self-healing technology and high availability, meaning there's no need for a second disaster-recovery product, just one sufficing, according to Kaminario.

We're not given any speeds and feeds, just a qualitative statement: "K2 supports millions of IOPS, tens of GB/s of throughput and extremely low latency."

A K2-H customer is cited by Kaminario: Traiana, which electronically processes over-the-counter foreign exchange, exchange-traded derivatives, contracts for difference, and cash equities trades. Its infrastructure was based on an application server, Oracle database server and a network attached storage system. When it put its Oracle database on the K2-H it "saw a 150 per cent increase in trading transactions and a 40x reduction in latency".

Dell has a world-wide reseller agreement with Kaminario for the K2 products. This contrasts with HP, which is using Violin Memory flash arrays to house Oracle databases and so compete with Oracle's hardware. There is a growing trend for I/O-bound and high-value applications to move their primary data storage off storage arrays and into pure or tiered solid state storage front ends from suppliers such as Avere, Kaminario, TMS, Violin Memory and server flash suppliers such as Fusion-io.

Start-ups such as Pure Storage are also active in this space, and EMC is building a presence with all-flash VNX configurations and its Project Lightning; array-managed flash caches in app servers.

The three K2s are available now with prices starting from $30/GB. ®

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