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Kaminario's K2 data-gobbling champ squeezes out 2 million IOPS

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The performance summit of K2, Kaminario's mountainously named flash array, has been lifted to 2 million IOPS.

We have the Fibre Channel-connected flash K2 listed as running at up to 600,000 IOPS and exhibiting an 8GB/sec throughput. Its capacity ranges from 3TB to 100TB. Now Kaminario has tweaked the beast and got 2 million random read 4K IOPS out of one with 60TB usable multi-level cell (MLC) flash capacity. This data-gobbler also had a bandwidth of 20GB/sec which Kaminario gloats, is five times better than its nearest, unnamed, competitor. We note that IBM/TMS's RamSan 810 and 820 are Fibre Channel connected, use MLC flash and run at 4GB/sec. But a Violin 6616 system also runs at 4GB/sec.

The gloating Kaminario also said the system's latency was less than 1 millisecond, claiming this was "four times better than the closest competitor". It says it can achieve these numbers and similarly high SPC-1 benchmark numbers because the "K2 is the only scale-out all-flash storage array in the market today," with its SPEAR (Scale-out Performance Storage Architecture ) architecture.

Dani Golan, Kaminario's CEO, reckons; “The … K2 … continues to prove it is the highest performing storage solution, and also the most cost-effective for companies who need help removing the I/O bottlenecks that stall the productivity of their essential business applications.”

The market for this box is as a replacement for disk spindles for high-value business applications which take a long time to run – even when given lots and lots of disk spindles. It's a similar strategy to that of Whiptail but Kaminario would say it whips Whiptail performance-wise.

If you are going to Oracle OpenWorld over the next few days (it starts today and runs until 4 October), you can see the K2 in action, presumably spitting through complex Oracle database applications as if they were trivial spreadsheets.

On a more serious note, these are high, very high benchmark-type numbers and, of course, your mileage may well vary. But Kaminario would say its K2 product has so much performance headroom as demonstrated by this simple 2 million IOPS rating as well as the complex SPC-1 benchmark score, that it can run general high-end business applications that are disk-bound, and accelerate them to an impressive degree. It's a general purpose storage that happens to go really, really fast and not a narrow focus, high performance niche array.

A K2 spokesperson said: "Many different applications can be run against a single K2 simultaneously. In fact, the K2 can scale so dozens to hundreds of different applications’ data can reside on one single system. Its high IOPS and low latency are perfect for OLTP applications, its high throughput is perfect for Big Data/OLAP applications, and its low latency and high throughput support many virtualised use cases. All can run on one single system, which gives the customer unsurpassed ROI and low TCO. Any data intensive application would benefit from a K2."

Future developments?

"We have a very rich data protection software stack (including snaps, NDU, replication and full management capabilities) and we will continue to add features in this area."

El Reg asked how this 2 million IOPS number will change or emphasise Kaminario positioning against IBM/TMS, Violin and Whiptail?

"This benchmark reinforces the importance of a … scale-out architecture compared to the proprietary scale-up systems of TMS and Violin. [It] allows our customers to buy one K2 and grow it as their needs grow. The equivalent benchmark by Violin required two SLC (faster single level cell flash) systems; we scaled to 2M IOPS and 20 GB/sec throughput with one MLC system," the firm responded.

"If you compare the performance numbers benchmark from one Violin system that was published recently, we are announcing a benchmark equivalent to theirs with 3x faster results on IOPS (2M vs. 750K), 5x better throughput (20 GB/s vs. 4 GB/s - very significant in OLAP environments), and 4x better latency in max load, which is the most important metric in OLTP and virtual environments.

"The benchmark system has full high availability, non-disruptive operations, linear scalability, snaps and replication. Violin and TMS/IBM do not have these software features today and EMC is not yet in the market with a fully functional flash SAN array."

We then asked whether Kaminario has a distribution/reseller sales channel and/or a direct sales force?

"Our go-to-market strategy combines direct sales and resellers. This past week, we announced a partnership and strategic investment in Kaminario by Mitsui & Co, one of Japan’s largest corporate conglomerates. This investment will be used to expand our distribution in Asia."

Kaminario recently closed a $25m dollar D round of funding, taking total funding to date to almost $70m. The company wouldn't tell us how many customers it has, but claims that it is growing fast.

The high-end drive array replacement market for disk-bound business-critical applications is shaping up to be an arena for intense competition, with IBM/TMS, Kaminario, Violin Memory and Whiptail all chasing after it and pitching their products into the ring.

EMC's XtremIO product is also destined for this market and X-IO would say flash Hyper-ISE arrays are a good fit to market needs as well. It's boom time in this market sector and the ability to convince enterprises that a supplier has enterprise-class features will be crucial. It is not just a raw performance game. ®

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