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All Flash Storage – Kaminario Style

Written by Brad Maher on October 31, 2016

Kaminario is an up and coming All flash array. The company name is derived from the Japanese goddess of thunder Kaminari (Get it thunder/flash), and what would all flash storage be without a ridiculous amount of IO. Combine Kaminari with IO and you get Kaminario.

I had the opportunity to go through the implementation training for these devices with members of the Engineering team over there. The internal sales and engineering teams are made up of lots of industry veterans. Lots of people from companies like Dell, EMC, VMware, and the list goes on. There is a lot of experience with a variety of platforms within the walls of Kaminario.

 

Details

This is a solid platform that performs extraordinary well. The premise is not unlike some other storage platforms out there, but it is designed with all flash in mind. The system is comprised of units called “Kblocks”. Within a Kblock you have “Knodes”, which are the controllers. each controller is connected via a SAS backend to drive shelves containing SSD drives. It has all the other things you would expect out of storage systems; redundant power, the controllers are active/active, battery packs to allow for cache flushing, etc.

 

 

Here’s where things start to get different. I’m going to compare this to feature sets from other vendors to show a real world comparison. For instance, the thing that jumps right out is that you can have more than one shelf of storage attached to a kblock. Most other scale out platforms do not allow you to do this (EMC XtremIO). Not only that you can choose drive sizes for these things too. Drives come in 480GB, 960GB and 1.92TB sizes, each shelf containing 25 disks.

Scale Out and Scale Up in the same platform is a game changer. The ability to add disk when you need capacity and not have to add an entire kblock is a great advantage over other platforms. All Kaminario systems can be scaled out to add more throughput and increase IO capabilities. This is done by adding additional Kblocks. When you add additional Kblocks you connect the kblocks through an Infiniband switch. This allows all the controllers to pool resources and locate data very quickly. One other unique thing here is that they can scale out in odd numbers as well as even numbers. Unlike some other vendors if you have 2 Kblocks you can go to 3 and not have to upgrade to 4.

 

Data protection and storage of data is interesting with this platform as well. They have their own special RAID type, which they call KRAID. Unlike most systems block size is dynamic here, meaning that you don’t have to set a block size and commit to it. If you have different workloads with different block sizes Kaminario can store them in the correct form. This means less wasted space for smaller file workloads. Snapshots, deduplication and compression are included here. They also do replication which leverages the snapshot platform for points in time as well.

Front end connectivity is achieved through either iSCSI or FC. Today they require only one or the other, but it is a roadmap item to do both. Replication is achieved over the same links that do the 10Gbps iSCSI. It is supported to use the 10Gbps Links for replication even when you’re using FC.

 

Follow up

Talk to your Snowcap Account Manager about Kaminario. If you are working on a project with an all flash vendor feel free to get us involved for a Pilot or POC.

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